What Guarantees Future Salvation?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Rm 5:8-10)
I think this is a passage that all Christians who are pursuing future salvation should keep in mind. In these verses, Paul says that there’s something that guarantees our future salvation. That is God’s love for us.
God’s love was shown to us through Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross. Moreover, it has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We not only know about it in our heads, but experience it in our hearts and in our lives.
God’s love is the main foundation of our future salvation. That’s what Paul is talking about in these verses. I want us to focus on two words here. One is ‘love’ and the other is ‘more.’
Paul used the expression ‘how much more’ in verses 9 and 10. What we should note in both verses is that before the expression, Paul used the past tense, and after it, he used the future tense. In other words, before the word ‘more,’ Paul discussed the event of our past salvation, while after the word, he spoke about our future salvation.
Paul said it like this. “If we were justified in the past, how much more will we be saved in the future?” “If we were reconciled with God in the past, how much more will we join in the resurrection of Jesus?”
Here’s Paul’s logic. If we received something very precious and valuable from someone in the past, it’s natural for us to expect that the person will also give us other things in the future. Here, the thing we received in the past was our justification. The one who gave it to us was God. And, the thing we’ll receive from Him in the future is our glorification.
What Paul is saying here is that if God did a very difficult thing for us in the past, He will surely continue to do things that are less difficult compared to it in the future. Then, what did God do for us in the past? He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to earth and had Him shed His blood and die on the cross to pay for our sins, make us righteous, and reconcile us with God.
That’s the most difficult and sacrificial thing God has done for us among many other things He has done for us. And, we know how much God loves us from this—while we were still sinners and God’s enemies who didn’t deserve His salvation, God demonstrated His love for us through the crucifixion of Jesus.
Then, if God already paid the enormous price—the blood of Jesus Christ—to save us in the past because He loved us so much, we can expect that He will certainly guide us and hold us tightly until the last day with His unconditional, unfailing, and everlasting love.
God’s love is the strongest foundation of our assurance for future salvation. In the last sermon, I told you that the Bible says our salvation is not complete yet. So, we often feel a sense of anxiety when we face this truth because no one can say, ‘I’m ready to stand before the judgment seat of Christ.’
We know how imperfect and unqualified we are before God. How can we be sure about our salvation? It’s natural for us to feel uneasy about it.
However, that’s definitely not what God wants us to feel. God already knows how weak and unstable we are. That’s why He keeps pouring out His love through the Holy Spirit. Without God’s love, we can’t stand on our own. That’s why we should continue to try to live in His love. If we focus on ourselves, we’ll become lost because of our sinful nature and weaknesses. However, if we rely on God’s unfailing love, we can keep walking this path of salvation with Jesus until the end.
Even though we are deficient, weak, and easily shaken, we can continue on this journey of sanctification because God’s love is always with us and holds us tightly. God, who saved us from our sins, will never leave us or give up on us. God, who started our justification, will never let go of us until we reach glorification. We’ll always be under His love and grace.
We are always weak, but always forgiven. When we stumble, God holds onto us. When we make mistakes and sin, we experience God’s love and forgiveness even more. And, the more we experience His love in our lives, the more we will be transformed to be like Jesus.
God’s love, which was proven in the death and resurrection of Jesus, is the strongest guarantee of our hope for salvation in the future. Because of God’s love, we can rejoice even in suffering, having hope for the glory of God.
6th Consequence: Boast in God
Now, let’s move on to the last result of justification by faith.
“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Rm 5:11)
The last result of justification by faith that Paul describes in Romans 5 is related to our boasting. Paul said that Christians are those who boast in God.
When Paul talked about faith, he said,
“Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded…” (Rm 3:27)
Boasting is closely related to our lives. Even though we may not outwardly express it, we boast about things without realizing it. It’s natural for us to want to be better than others. And, whatever we boast about reveals what we really seek and rely on—appearance, wealth, fame, knowledge, and so on.
However, Paul said that boasting is actually excluded in Christian life. It doesn’t mean that Christians don’t boast about anything, but that they only boast about Christ.
As Christians, we know that the most precious thing we have is salvation. And, we also know that we didn’t do anything to be saved. We know that we were justified only through faith in Jesus. That’s the only thing we should boast about. Faith makes us turn our eyes from ourselves to Jesus. So, in faith, we no longer boast about ourselves, but only about Jesus.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gl 6:14)
When we have faith, our grounds for self-worth are excluded because we’re made new in Christ. We exclude boasting when we realize that even our best achievements have done nothing to justify us.
If we’re truly saved, we won’t boast about anything in the world, but rather boast in God because our hope is in God alone. That’s the last change we experience through justification by faith.