How can the Bible change the minds of skeptics and atheists
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Saved for Sure, Overcoming Doubt: How do you overcome those doubts, to be brought to the point where you say, “Yes, I know it’s okay. I’m going to Heaven.” For Doubters Only: There are still some people who have a tough time in having confidence in their salvation. What do those folks need to do? Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s personal testimony.
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. YBS2
Keywords: Gospel of John, Faith, Romans 8:16
- Ankerberg: Now we need to talk about what is true, saving faith. Give me the four characteristics.
- Lutzer: Well, first of all, it is faith that is directed toward Christ alone. I think more than 100 times, even in the Gospel of John, salvation is linked to faith in Christ. “He that comes to me… has eternal life” [John 6:37-40]. “As many as received Him, to them He gives the authority to become the sons of God” [John 1:12]. “He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life” [John 3:36]. We could quote verses of Scripture for the rest of this program about the fact that it has to be a faith in Christ alone.
- Now, as we mentioned, if it’s Christ and… then we run into problems, then we’re depending on something other than Christ. And you know, Luther asked a very interesting question. He said, “What makes you think that your good works are as precious to God or can add to the wonderful, beautiful work that Jesus Christ did on our behalf?” Isn’t that pride to think that our good works can contribute to the wonderful work of Jesus? So, salvation is all of the Lord.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, it really doesn’t understand the seriousness of sin or who Christ really is and what the Father required.
- Lutzer: I love Augustine. He said that, “He who understands the holiness of God despairs in trying to please Him.” You see, if we really understood God’s holiness, we would understand why our good works cannot contribute to salvation. Salvation must be God’s thing. You know, I love the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was a preacher in London during the 1800’s. I mean, isn’t this awesome, John? Why can’t you and I think of things like this? He said, “I could fly or swing over the flames of hell hanging onto a flax stock; without fear I could do that, if I knew that my faith were in Jesus Christ alone.” Isn’t that beautiful?
- Ankerberg: That’s wonderful.
- Lutzer: And that’s where assurance comes. It is a faith that is directed to Jesus Christ alone.
- Ankerberg: No works, no baptism, no sacraments, nothing else that we contribute. Alone. He’s enough. He’s a sufficient Savior. He can pull it off.
- Lutzer: Oh, isn’t He? And He’s wonderful and He’s the only one out there. We could do another show on that, too.
- Ankerberg: Yes. Let’s go to number two.
- Lutzer: Number two: it is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. I’m taking this from Romans 8 and other passages where it says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” [Rom. 8:16] I want to just give a personal testimony. Okay, I’m 14 years old. I struggled with assurance as a child. I finally pray and accept Christ by faith, believing that He indeed did die for me. And you know, John, the next day, I honestly thought as a kid – now, I’m 14 years old – I had such an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, I thought to myself, “You know, I think I could go through a door without opening it.” I didn’t try or I wouldn’t be here today. But there was this sense of God’s presence. You know, when you lead somebody to Christ,… There was a man who was dying. What an awesome story. I didn’t include it in the book because it has happened since this book was written. Here’s a man who is dying of cancer. I visit him. He has only a couple of weeks to live. I tell him, I say, “You know, you have to accept Christ as your Savior.” And even though he had heard dozens and dozens of messages, you know what he said to me? “I know I do, but I don’t know how.” Can you imagine?
- Ankerberg: Wow.
- Lutzer: So I led him to faith in Christ, Christ alone, using a prayer to help him direct his thoughts to Christ and receiving Christ as Savior. And I prayed that he might have the assurance of faith. You know what he wanted his relatives to do when they came to visit him in the closing days of his life? “Read me the Bible. Read me the Bible.” Why? He never had an interest in the Bible before.
- There’s a second way that our faith is confirmed, and that is, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We now know that we’re children of God. We received a new nature, the new birth that we talked about.
- Ankerberg: I also think, Erwin, that the confirmation of the Holy Spirit also comes looking at Scripture.
- Lutzer: Yes.
- Ankerberg: There’s something like if Jesus was sitting across the desk from me and said, “Look, you want to know if I’ve saved you for sure?” He says, “You put your faith in me. Put your name right here in the contract.” I sign my name and then He signs His name at the bottom and He ships it across and He says, “Here it is.” And that’s the Word of God that we’ve got.
- Lutzer: That’s right.
- Ankerberg: The promises of God are the promises of God. When it dawns on you God is not going to give you a legal loophole here. He’s not trying to get out of this. He wants to assure you that if you believe His words, He saved you, and that’s one of the things the Holy Spirit is going to use to say, “Hey, regardless of your feelings” – and we need to talk about that. We’ll probably talk about that in another program: fact, faith and feelings and so on – the fact is that it is God’s Word. That’s the fact. You believe it and there is the confirmation that the Holy Spirit gives upon the basis of God’s Word.