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He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13).
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure (1 John 2:28-3:3).
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God (Gal 4:4-7).
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom 8:15-16).
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him (Eph 3:11-12).
“So you think you’re going to heaven?”
It’s a question thrown in your face pretty much any time you share your faith. The assumption is that, if you say yes, you are arrogant because you assume you know what God thinks of you, but if you say you don’t know, then what you’re saying is counted as worthless because you yourself have no confidence in it. It’s a bit of a catch-22, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you have a relationship with God—if you have faith in Him and His promises, and you love Him—then you should have every confidence that yes, you are going to heaven. It’s not arrogance; it’s trust.
I think too often we get caught up in this false humility. “I don’t know if I’m going to heaven, but I sure hope so,” you say when asked. And hope is fine. But hope should give rise to confidence, because our hope comes from faith and trust.
I was in church the other day and we were discussing in a discussion group whether some sins are more… sinnier, for lack of a better word… than others. And up came the subject of the unforgivable sin: blasphemy against the Spirit.
Discussion moved on, but my friend next to me confessed he was afraid he was going to hell because he had blasphemed against the Spirit. When he was younger, his ex-wife killed his son and, in his grief and anger, he told God, “You don’t exist and I hate you.” And he walked away from his faith for years.
Over time, he got involved in our church and gave his life to Christ again, but this fear that he’s already condemned himself has hung over his life. He blasphemed against the Spirit, and that is unforgivable. Therefore, he reasoned, he cannot be forgiven and he will go to hell.
And so the Spirit moved me to talk with him about it. And we walked through many of the verses above. And most impactful, I think, was the Parable of the Father and His Two Sons, or the Parable of the Prodigal Son as it’s often known (which is a terrible name because it makes the prodigal son the whole focus of the parable, but I digress).
In the parable, the younger son demands his inheritance from his father. As we’ve gone over before in previous articles, he’s essentially telling his father, “I’m sick of waiting for you to die. Give me my inheritance so I can get out of your life and you can be out of mine.”
The son severs all relationship with the father. Yet, when the son comes back, the father does not turn him away. He does not say, “Look, you sinned against me and severed our relationship. Go away; I want nothing to do with you.” He refused to even only partially restore the relationship and accept his son’s offer to live as a servant. No, the father restores the son fully to his place as the son of the father. Because he is his son and the father wanted him back.
Now, if the son had never come back, it would have been an entirely different story—he would never have sought reconciliation with his father, and thus would never have been restored to his sonship. But the son did come back. And he was restored.
This is who God is. If you have faith in Christ, you have the right to be counted as a daughter or son of Yahweh, the God of all.
You don’t have to earn it. It’s been given to you.
You can trust in God in this. You can have confidence in it.
Don’t accept the lies of false humility or some idiotic “gotcha” question. You can—and should and must!—have every confidence in your place in the house of the Lord. Because in Christ Jesus our Lord, we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him!
If you want to work out more of the illusions and lies that are in your life about your relationship with God—and we all have them—I highly recommend going through Dick Schroeder’s “Father Heart of God” podcast, which you can find under the Media tab on the Chi Alpha app. Dick has spent years going over things like this, confronting the deceptions in peoples’ lives that keep them from true intimacy with the Father. It’s well worth the listen—and it’s free!
All views expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.