The following is an edited version of the introduction and first chapter of the Book NEW LIFE – A Study Course To Help You Succeed In The Christian Life. This book is currently not in print. It is posted here with permission from Rev. William H. Preskitt, Jr. The ebook will be available soon.
Once you have accepted Christ as your Saviour, the attacks of Satan will follow. He will approach you with doubt to drive you from your profession of faith in Christ.
The assurance of new life means that you are fully convinced that you are a Christian. There can be no real progress in the Christian life until you have a definite experience of salvation.
This is written with the new convert in mind. It is my goal to provide new converts a good foundation for their Christian life. This is provided so that the new convert will have instruction and encouragement in the nourishment of the life of God in the soul.
John Wesley defined salvation as the “life of God in the soul”. That new life must be nourished in order to develop and mature.
The Assurance Of The New Life
The assurance of new life means that you are fully convinced that you are a Christian. You have a definite consciousness of being a child of God.
There can be no real progress in the Christian life until you have a definite experience of salvation. Trying to live a Christian life without being a Christian will lead to utter frustration and disappointment.
You cannot live a good life with a bad heart. There must be a new birth so that you can live a new life.
Having assurance of salvation in your heart will prepare you for the attacks of Satan that will surely follow. He will soon approach you with the dart of doubt to drive you from your profession of faith in Christ.
You learn how to have assurance from the Word of God. When Satan assails your testimony, you can pick up the weapon of the Word to defend your ground.
The Bible teaches that you can know that you are a Christian. You can be sure that God has given you eternal life:
- By the direct testimony of the Word of God,
- by the inward testimony of the Spirit of God,
- and by the obvious testimony of a changed life you can be sure that God has given you eternal life.
Testimony of the Word of God
The Bible informs you of the way to obtain eternal life. If you have met the gospel conditions for salvation according to the scriptures, there is no need to entertain any doubt.
The Bible teaches you that in order to be saved you must trust Christ Jesus. Believing on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the one thing essential in order to be saved.
When asked by the jailer at Phillipi as to how to obtain salvation, Paul answered,
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts 16:31).
Paul wrote to the Roman church, saying,
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [or Jesus as Lord] and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).
Notice that this verse requires an acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord. It implies the surrender of the sinner to the commands of Christ.
This verse also teaches “heart faith”. This is faith which includes the exercise of the will. “Heart faith” causes you to make a decision and a commitment to follow Christ based on the historical facts of his death, burial, and resurrection.
Saving faith includes confession of sin and repentance of sin. The wise man says in the book of Proverbs,
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
The Apostle John states that
“if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
In confessing your sins to God, you agree with God that you are responsible for your sins. You are willing to accept liability for the wrongs you have done.
A humble acknowledgement of sin leads to forgiveness of sin.
Repentance Of Sin Is A Turning Away From Sin.
The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, seeks to bring about a godly sorrow for sin, and then leads you to forsake your sin. Paul says,
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of” (II Corinthians 7:10).
Godly sorrow leads to repentance. Repentance leads to salvation. You will never regret this salvation. Peter preached to the Jews, saying,
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Repentance is your willingness to forsake all known sin in your life by the grace of God, immediately and finally.
You will never receive forgiveness of any sin that you plan to continue.
Repentance is followed by the blotting out of your sins.
When you come to God confessing and repenting, you will find that God will not fail to forgive you:
“he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9).
You are promised mercy and the blotting out of your sins.
When you have claimed the promises of God and trusted the atoning blood of Christ Jesus, the Bible testifies of your salvation. You can be confident that you are saved because the Bible witnesses to that fact. John 3:36 says,
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Salvation brings you into a right relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Everlasting life is the promise of God to those who believe.
Testimony Of The Spirit Of God
God has given to the believer an inward witness of the work of salvation.
The Spirit of God provides the Christian with an inward impression on the soul of his acceptance with God. I John 5:10-12 teaches,
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
In Romans 8:16 Paul says,
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
Again I John 4:13 tells us,
“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
You do not have to remain in doubt as to the fact of your salvation.
You do not have to wait until death to know your destination.
The believing Christian is given an unmistakable notice of a right standing with God.
Do not be content until you have received the divine testimony of the Spirit of God in your soul.
Testimony Of A Changed Life
In addition to the witness of the Spirit you are given the outward evidence of a changed life. If your life has not been changed you are not saved.
Jesus makes an immediate difference in the way that you conduct your life. You are not immediately a mature Christian, but you are immediately delivered from your sinful lifestyle.
One of the first things that you notice upon being saved is the love that God gives you for the brethren. The hatred which controlled you in sin is replaced by the love of God in your soul.
I John 3:14 “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
The love is especially directed to your Christian brethren, a group of people once outside your scope of interest.
The fruit of being saved is manifested in a new attitude toward the authority of Christ.
You have been given a yearning to please Jesus who provided for your salvation.
You have also been given divine power to obey the commands of Christ.
I John 2:3 says,
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
Paul says in Philippians 2:13,
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Again Paul says in II Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Salvation results in your living a righteous life for God’s glory and honor.
You can tell the devil when he comes around to accuse you, “I may not be what I want to be, but thanks be to God I am not what I used to be.”
Hindrances To Obtaining Assurance
You may be experiencing doubts as to the reality of your Christian experience. There are several things that may hinder you from receiving a clear witness of your salvation.
If you depend too much on your feelings and too little on faith, you will lack a consistent assurance.
Your feelings are subject to wild fluctuation, but the promises of God are unchanging.
John 3:18 “He that believeth is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Your salvation is not dependent on the emotions of the moment, but upon your faith in the Son of God. Do not allow your faith to be keyed to your emotions, but rather seek to make your feelings subject to your faith.
Unwillingness to forsake some pet sin will hinder you from receiving the assurance of salvation. Isaiah exhorts us like this:
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon Him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord; and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6,7).
The sinner must forsake his sin. The Apostle John warns us like this:
“He that committeth sin is of the devil…” (I John 3:8).
If you continue to hold to evil practices and refuse deliverance, you are not saved.
Assurance of salvation is only given to those who accept deliverance from their sins.
You will be hindered from full assurance if you are unwilling to make restitution for wrongs perpetrated against others. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:23-24,
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
You must be willing to pay back old debts. You must seek to make peace with former enemies and people that you have wronged. Holding out on restitution keeps many people from having complete victory and assurance.
The success of your Christian life will depend largely upon your having a definite experience of salvation. If you are not sure of your salvation, you will be hindered from making any progress in your Christian life.
You can have the assurance of eternal life through faith in God’s promises, through the testimony of God’s Spirit within us, and through the undeniable change wrought in us by Christ Jesus.
If you have not already done so, call upon the Lord for salvation by confessing your sins, repenting of your sins, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.
If you have not already attained the assurance of salvation, pray for and expect to receive (1) the testimony of the Spirit of God within and (2) the witness of a changed life. You must be willing to correct anything that hinders me from receiving that assurance.
This edited version of the introduction and first chapter of the Book “NEW LIFE – A Study Course To Help You Succeed In The Christian Life” is posted here with permission from Rev. William H. Preskitt, Jr. The ebook will be available soon.