The factor that confirms a man or woman as Christian is growth in respect to salvation. Scores of people claim to be Christians, but only those that continually grow in respect to salvation are confirmed as the children of God. For to a man or woman the assurance of belonging to Christ comes only from their growth in respect to salvation. This assurance produces to them the evidence that confirms their relation to Christ. Great is the advantage of such evidence. First, their inside is purer than one can make his outside to be. Second, they not only feel confident of their eternal life, but also generate a witness in this life that is alone possible through Christ. This witness serves as the light of Christ to the perishing world. It becomes the factor for God to daily declare His judgments upon the world. The assurance that comes by growing in respect to salvation is realized in the blessings according to the will of God. These blessings are the evidence for their relation to Christ; the greater the assurance the deeper the reason for God to shower His blessings; even a variety of blessings.
The blessings that come from God are not what men consider them to be. Men of the flesh cannot assume or relate to the blessings of God. The farthest of blessings they assume are those that are already in the world. Even the love, goodness and forgiveness they possess are by the measure of the world. They are incomplete and flawed. Since men take pride in the incomplete and the flawed, they are not perfect in conscience. Without being perfect in conscience men cannot possess a quintessential relation with God. They grow in respect to flesh. This deprives them the righteousness of God. Therefore, they do not possess the ability to perfect their blessings and to receive perfect blessings according to the will of God. The blessings that men and women must possess are primarily heavenly, and righteousness of God is the primary blessing of heaven. When God sacrificed His Son to provide salvation to the world, He gifted His righteousness as primary blessing. What the world has lost through sin Christ provided it through His kindness for a quintessential relation with God. Therefore, the assurance of belonging to Christ can only be realized “if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Pet. 2:3).
To have tasted the kindness of the Lord will always be the decisive factor to all who claim to be of Christ. Each one must examine the effect the kindness of the Lord produced in him. To have tasted the kindness of the Lord is to have received the primary blessing of heaven. He who has tasted it will not entertain sin. In other words, he has put on Christ. The love that God has toward the world is the sole reason for gifting us Christ, His righteousness. All who are in Christ are in righteousness and those in righteousness are not in sin. Those who are not in sin will carry in them this confession as light. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Herein is revealed the mystery in loving God – He must first love us and the evidence that He loved us must be found in us that we may love Him. For this reason, we must first possess the assurance of belonging to Christ. For God always loved man created in His own image. But, it was man, by entertaining sin, forsook loving Him. Now, that Christ has appeared in the flesh and continues to appear through the word the love of God for man was made much clearer. All who desire to love God have already been loved by Him, because of His Son, Jesus. And, he who goes to God will be loved and shall receive Christ, His righteousness as the assurance. When we have such an assurance with us, we shall be provided with blessings more than we can measure for whatever purpose He chooses.
This is the regulation that all Christians must contain – that when we are without sin we are in God’s love. For the love of God has the power to remove all forms of sin in us; and His love is Christ Jesus our Lord. “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’” (Acts 2:40). Or how do you think the apostle was able to continually exhort men and women to come to the Lord? For the one who sincerely testifies about Christ cannot testify while in sin. Yet, if anyone testifies in sin, the assurance that produces the evidence to confirm his relation to Christ will be from a deluding influence from God so that he will believe what is false. For this reason, the effect of those testifying about Christ while in sin is being revealed through the many present churches wherein they do not know the difference between righteousness of the world and the righteousness of God. They do not see the difference between living in sin and without sin. They do not know the work of a conscience perfected in the blood of Christ. They do not know what sort of sins God in His love is willing to forgive and set us back in His righteousness. Further, they have arrived to the conclusion that asking God for forgiveness for every sin committed is trivial. Therefore, they lost the essence of humbling themselves before God. When this is the case, how can they claim to have been saved from this perverse generation? By what teaching and assurance have they come to the understanding that God is indeed greater than their heart? This only reveals that in hindsight they do not innately wish for themselves as well as for people to strive before God for righteousness. They have trained their heart not to condemn them. They do not desire the purification of God. Yet, they regularly gather together; their members serve as ministers, pastors, evangelists, etc that the perfect law be kept. By walking in a disproportionate manner they liken them to the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked saying, “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?” (John 7:23).
The churches are accustomed to performing all the works in the perfect law that concerns the first day and some other days of the week. Yet, they neglected to perform the work of asking God for purification that comes by grace alone. It is imperative Christians understand that without receiving the purification of the Lord any prayer regarding any matter becomes ineffective. If we trained our heart not to condemn our sin, we do not have the confidence to ask God whatever we need. It is for this reason that the works performed by many churches are not the rewards of effective prayers. But, a person is made entirely well or purified only when Christ, the righteousness of God fills him. For such a work of God to take place every Christian ought to add to his faith the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and to it the knowledge of purity and to purity the knowledge of the work of a conscience made perfect in Christ and to it the knowledge of God’s forgiveness. In this manner we shall perform the perfect law. When our keeping of the law of Christ is not complete, it yields the severity of Christ. On the contrary, when we are made well, the Lord will be delighted to give us the responsibility of leading others to becoming well.
These are the days of urgency and how Christians will do well if they heed the exhortation made beforehand by the Lord! “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak” (Matt. 24:18). These are the times where sin has broken down many barriers. Whatever be the prolific nature of sin its effect on the churches must not be felt, and hence, Christians must run toward God. This running is not to some place on earth, but away from the pressures of sin and toward the righteousness of God. The deeper we are into the righteousness of God the weaker the influence of sin on us. When sin itself is found weak, the righteousness of God in us will surely overpower it. Each time a Christian sees sin approaching him, he must run away from it as the Lord exhorted him to do. This is the reality of a Christian’s life that all who believes in the Lord must accept. Sin and its forms will always pursue him. No man can overcome them by himself and he who tries to do so will fall by them. Yet, he who sets his heart to receive understanding from God will surely survive. For the word of God will lead him. God will respond to him according to his circumstances. For whatever the times may be, a problem or suffering faced by His child was never ignored by God. An example of His loving kindness must refresh us who are also His children. “Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words’” (Dan 10:12).
Two things must be observed by Christians in order to grow in respect to salvation. First, they must set their hearts on receiving understanding from God and second, they must humble themselves before Him. This will lead them to taste the kindness of the Lord, which is the assurance of belonging to Christ. The moment we set our hearts to receive understanding from God, we have evoked His silence. Then, when our preparedness to receive follows with words that request Him for understanding, we begin to please Him. At the time when God is fully pleased with us He will give us every understanding. The receiving of every understanding is growing in respect to salvation. We overcome sin and many weaknesses that inhibit our love for God. As long as we receive understanding we will not lose strength. God instilled in us the purification of the Lord whereby our conscience is made perfect. When Christians grow in this manner, they cannot set their minds on the flesh, to be precise, cannot turn back to get their cloak “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).