God loves us unconditionally. I never get tired of writing those four words and I never get tired of meditating upon them. It is an amazing fact that the God who created this entire Universe loves each of us individually. And He showed us that love when He took our place at Calvary.
“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two making peace and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.” Ephesians 2:12-16
We were once separated from God and strangers to the New Covenant of promise. As a result we were without hope because we didn’t know God, but now through the substitutionary death of Jesus who paid the penalty for our sin we have been brought back in relationship with God. It was Jesus’s blood that was shed that made this possible and there is nothing I can do to add one iota of merit to that wonderful redeeming action that sprang from the heart of God. It has been said that we contribute nothing to our salvation except “our sin” and truer words have never been spoken.
Because we have assurance in Jesus sacrifice for us we have peace. The Jews believed they were special in God’s eyes and as a result looked down on the Gentiles and gave them very little to no hope of being included in God’s kingdom. But, Jesus makes it clear in Ephesians 2 that in Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile because they all need redemption. Jesus spanned the wall that separated Jew from Gentile and the wall that separated them both from God through “the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.” (v. 16b) Being a Christian isn’t about being under the power of commandments and ordinances because Jesus abolished, in His flesh, any resemblance of a law method of salvation by giving His body as a living sacrifice so that He might bring both Jew and Gentile to the foot of the cross and reconciliation with the Father.
As Christians we must never surrender our assurance of salvation to doubt and fear. Paul tells the Ephesians, “In Him you also who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14 Every Christian would do well to mark this verse in their Bible. Spend time reflecting on the depth of what Paul is telling us in these two short verses. In Jesus we have heard absolute truth, which is the gospel of our salvation. When we accepted the gospel we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit into our life is the guarantee that we have been saved, are saved and will be saved. At the day of Pentecost Peter told the crowds who were coming to Christ, “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
When we come to Christ for forgiveness of sin we receive the Holy Spirit that is our guarantee of salvation. In the Gospel of John just as in the Book of Acts the people cried out, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God? Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’” John 6:28, 29 Just previous to their statement of wanting to do something that would impress God Jesus had told them, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you; for on Him has the Father set His seal.” John 6:27
God’s seal, or certification, that anyone who ceased from his labors and trusted in God would have eternal life was Jesus. His words and His actions could be trusted and whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Jesus perfect life of obedience, and His perfect death on the cross was accredited to all who believe and they were covered by the righteousness of Christ while He carried our sins to the cross.
In Ephesians God did let it be known that even though Jesus has died, then rose from the tomb and returned to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God in intercession for us, we are not left alone. God has given us the Holy Spirit as His assurance that when we believe, we are saved. This is the seal that cannot be broken by God because the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that God’s word is true. “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; He has put His seal upon us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 Paul, was sealed by the Father through Christ, and the Holy Spirit who reigned in his heart is the guarantee of that sealing. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all play their part in assuring a Christian that they have been forgiven and are now redeemed for all eternity.
Too many Christians doubt their salvation. They wonder if they are good enough, whether or not they have confessed all their sins, or if there isn’t some little thing they can do to earn merit with God. But, God sent us the Holy Spirit as His guarantee that we have entered into His grace and have nothing to fear. Let the peace of Christ wash over you and rejoice in your redemption. Raise your hands and praise God that through His Son you have eternal life and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life is the guarantee that God is true to His word.