Ski Lift Assurance
My Testimony God saved me when I was about 6 years old. It was around Thanksgiving time. My family was coming back from a church service in West Virginia. I realized my sin separated me from God, and that Jesus was the only way to have that relationship. (I have a funny story prior to coming to that understanding involving communion and taking advantage of people’s eyes being closed to get some of that grape juice everyone else had. Having wise parents, I was not pushed to “make a decision” or “pray the prayer” as soon as possible. I wasn’t seeing my sin and I wasn’t seeing Christ.)
We drove home in the big black suburban, where I declared to my parents that I was ready to be saved! (Looking back, it’s actually at this moment that I believe God saved me, for this is when my eyes were opened and I understood my need and I was trusting in Jesus Christ alone.) Wisely unsure, my parents waited till we got home and made sure to carefully question what I was saying, as I had declared such a desire before in hopes of finally getting crackers and grape juice during communion time at church.
My Immature Mistrust Fast forward 7 or 8 years to my 8th grade year. Multiple times I lay awake at night questioning if I had said the right words. Did I actually mean it? Why did I sin 5-6 times before I ever felt bad about it? “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe,” right? Had I been showing it enough? Make no mistake, my faith was in Christ, but in my spiritual immaturity, I was doubting. Like many young Christian kids, I said a few “just in case” declarations that I really did believe in Jesus.
My questions were illegitimate! I had yet to add some crucial knowledge to my faith (2 Peter 1:5-10). I’m so thankful for a message I heard while attending Morgantown Christian Academy around my 8th grade year. A special evangelist for teens was through, and the message during chapel was, “Salvation is not egocentric! It is Christocentric!”
This Christocentric truth is valid regarding the security of your salvation as well. Notice as we look through Scripture that it is 1) God’s power that saves you, and 2) God’s power that keeps you as has child (even a rebellious son is still a son).
“Knowing You are Saved” Never Happens by Trying to Make Yourself Know. In other words, trust God to keep you even though you may not fully grasp how or why He does so.
1 John 3:19-20 (and all of 1 John) encourages us: “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything" (emphasis mine).
Romans 8:1—"There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!”
The Ski Lift of Assurance
Every illustration breaks down, but this is how I explained assurance to the youth group at our church. I portrayed what we were talking about as a ski lift.
(Image 1) Everyone is separated from God – “in sin did my mother conceive me.” Imagine each person in his or her own individual ski lift car. The ski lift represents an ascent to God, but everyone’s cable is broken, and everyone is falling (signifying us on our way to hell and life without God).
(Image 2) At the moment of salvation, believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) and are called children of God (John 1:12). In our illustration, the broken cable is tied with an unbreakable knot (the Holy Spirit). Notice the cartoon hair flying in the breeze—the little cartoon figure has “been sealed,” but sometimes that sensation of falling doesn’t go away. This illustrates our hearts condemning us.
(Image 3) It may not always “feel” like we’re saved in one moment or another, but the security of our salvation is up to God keeping His Word. Our “assurance of salvation” is our trust in His strength, which is why it’s so important get to know our God on a much deeper level by studying the Scriptures and learning just how good, loving, and powerful He is. (Romans 8:14-16 says, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” and 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 says we are taught by the Spirit through God’s Word).
Have you been taught through the Scriptures about what God has done for you? Our church will be taking time tonight, on Good Friday, to remember Christ’s death by singing several hymns and songs on the subject and by reading Matthew 26 and 27. I encourage you to dwell on this passage, and move on to dwelling on the resurrection throughout this weekend and throughout your life. It is Christ’s atoning work that saves, and our security is made certain by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”