letters to surfers

Q. What do I have to do to be sure I am saved?

by Robert Brow  - March 1999

There is nothing you can do, or could possibly do, to enjoy God's kind of saving life in this world or the next. God gives all his gifts free of charge. You don't have to do anything for the sun to shine. You can't pay anything to earn the wind and the rain. It is only necessary to do something if you want to refuse them, like deciding to go live in a dark cave.

That means faith is not a decision we have to make, or anything we have to do to earn God's favour. It is a direction of looking. We look to and rely on the sun and rain for gardening, and the wind for wind surfing. And in the same way we look to and rely on God's love for us in whatever we are going to do.

But just as there are evidences that a baby is alive, there will be evidences that you are saved. But the evidences will be different for each person. They include all sorts of decisions of faith and attitudes of faith. Mountain moving faith is different from faith that works by love.

Faith to die peacefully is different from faith to plant churches. Faith to turn the other cheek is different from the faith to pray. In the Old Testament Enoch, Noah, and Abraham each had very different expressions of faith (see New Testament Greek Words under Hebrews 11).

In the New Testament the outworking of faith for genuine apostles, prophets, evangelists pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) looks very different from those with other gifts of the Spirit, but all are obviously alive to God.

We therefore have to distinguish a basic attitude of looking to God, which is the faith that receives eternal life, from the working out of that faith in many different kinds of faith behavior.

So you can be absolutely sure that you are saved and alive if you experience the Holy Spirit in loving, creative inspiration, communicating the faith to others, serving, exercising mercy, praying, or any other unexpected way.

But whatever you are as a person is given to you freely, and nothing you do that has eternal significance is earned by you own strength or willpower.

You are put right by faith and grace alone. And when that has happened you are course loved and forgiven however much you fail to get it right.

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