If you are a regular reader of my monthly e-teachings, you know that I’ve been working for more than a year on writing consecutive chapters of a book that is tentatively titled, Sex is for Christians. I’ve been publishing those chapters each month as e-teachings. This month, however, I’ve taken a pause in that almost-finished writing project to pen the article below. The reason is because I’ve found myself in the middle of what seems to be a once-in-a-three-hundred-year opportunity to serve some steeped-in-tradition local Amish people who are being born again. My family and I have been helping them launch home Bible studies, something that is not only not done in Amish culture, but something that is actively discouraged and sometimes forbidden. Amish leaders have discovered that Amish people who start reading the Bible often leave the Amish. The reason they do, of course, is because they discover that salvation is not something that is earned by keeping hundreds of man-made rules, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
Although I’ve written the article below to help unsaved Amish people, many of the points could be helpful for Christians who know that, as James wrote, faith without works is dead and cannot save. Those folks sometimes struggle with wondering if they have sufficient works to validate their faith. Similarly, some folks who know that holiness is part of the salvation equation have questions about the assurance of their salvation. Others wonder about the legitimacy of the idea of sinless perfection. If you are in any of those categories, keep reading!
Although I’m writing to everyone who is hoping to be good enough to get into heaven, I’m thinking of two people in particular. They are an Amish couple in their 50s who have been taught all of their lives that you can’t know until you die if you will make it into heaven. The reason is because they’ve been told that heaven hinges on their holiness, and no one will know until they die if they were holy enough. Until then, they can only hope for the best.
Beyond that, the standard for holiness in Amish communities is not just the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule. There are hundreds of other unwritten rules contained in what they refer to as the ordnung, or “order,” that legislate every detail of Amish life and culture. Every Amish adult is expected to affirm their agreement to their local ordnung twice annually. Unrepentant infractions are grounds for excommunication. As you might have guessed, because good Amish people can only hope they will be considered worthy for heaven, excommunicated Amish people have no hope at all. Rather, they are told that they will burn in hell. That fear is a big part of what has perpetuated Amish culture for hundreds of years.
In Amish thinking, anyone who says he is certain of attaining heaven is prideful. Only proud people, they say, would ever think they are good enough for heaven.
In response, I would like to say from the start that I’m certain, if I died right now, I would be going to heaven and not to hell. But it is not because I think I’m good enough for heaven. On the contrary, I’m 100% certain I’m not good enough. I was not good enough before I became a believer in Jesus, and since I became a believer in Him, although my behavior is much more in line with God’s will, I’m still not good enough. The only way a person could be good enough to earn a place in heaven would be if he or she never sinned a single time. It is certainly too late for me to employ that strategy, and I’d be willing to bet it is too late for you as well! So, if any of us folks who have sinned—either a little or a lot—are going to get into heaven, it is going to require some mercy from God. The only way for sinners to get into heaven is through God’s mercy.
Most Amish folks would agree with me on that point. They are very much aware that they are sinners who need mercy from God. Amish people, however, put a limit on God’s mercy, which then necessitates an unknown degree of personal obedience to make up for the mercy God does not extend. So Amish people believe that they are saved by a combination of God’s mercy and personal obedience. And that obedience involves not only obedience to the “law of Christ” (which includes every commandment that Jesus gave to His followers) but also obedience to the hundreds of requirements contained within their local ordnung. So you can understand why they believe it is impossible to know for certain if they will attain heaven, and why they also believe that only prideful people say they are certain of their ultimate salvation. Those are the beliefs I want to consider in this article.
Mercy and Grace
Any person who reads the Bible will repeatedly encounter two of the most wonderful words in the English language, which are mercy and grace. Both are manifestations of love, and you know that if anyone has ever extended either to you. Both mercy and grace are undeserved blessings. To receive mercy or grace from a fellow human being is lovely. To receive mercy or grace from God, well, there are no words to describe how wonderful that is!
Although similar, mercy is sometimes defined as “not receiving a penalty you do deserve,” whereas grace is often defined as “receiving a blessing you do not deserve.” Whether those contrasting definitions are entirely accurate is not that important. Mercy and grace are both forms of undeserved favor. Every person who has ever lived has received both from God, but those who have believed in Jesus have received—by far and away—the most mercy and grace, and they are destined to receive even more of both in the future.
Let’s consider some of the mercy and grace God has showered upon those who believe in Jesus.
Scripture tells us that believers in Jesus “will not perish” (John 3:16). Do you believe in Jesus? If “yes,” then you will not perish according to Jesus’ own promise in John 3:16. Of course, we deserve to perish because of our sin, and to perish in hell. But because of His great mercy towards us, the Bible promises believers:
God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us (1 Thes. 5:9).
Do you believe that promise? If you do, it should also fill you with confidence that your eternal future is bright. God has not destined you for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Notice that Paul did not credit any good things believers have done as being the reason they are not destined for wrath. Rather, Paul credited Jesus and His death, because Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins. And not just for some of our sins, but for all of our sins. That includes even the sins we might yet commit in the future. That is why the apostle John, writing to Christians, said:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 1:8–2:2).
A Closer Look at 1 John 1:8-2:2
To begin to paraphrase John, he wrote that if we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived (and I might also add, proud). We are all sinners. Any Christian who thinks he or she never sins is deceived. And as sinners, we’re going to need forgiveness, which is why Jesus instructed His followers to pray for forgiveness of their sins in their daily prayers:
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matt. 6:11-12).
This is not to say that believers in Jesus sin just as much or to the same degree that nonbelievers do. Although believers are certainly capable of committing every sin that unbelievers commit, they have God-given incentives not to sin, as well as power over sin, that generally produce a much higher degree of holiness than what is observed in unbelievers. Later in this article, I will discuss some of those incentives and power in more detail, but I only want to establish now that Christians still sin. And that is why John wrote to Christians regarding what they should do if and when they do sin. Specifically, they should confess their sin to God. John declared that if we, as Christians, confess our sins to God, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Do you believe that promise? If you confess your sin, God will mercifully do two things for you: (1) He will forgive you. And (2) He will also “cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” That means you are instantly perfectly clean in God’s eyes as soon as you confess. If you think you need to do something beyond confessing your sin to God, you are mistaken. Contained within your confession, of course, is your remorse, as well as your desire to not repeat the same sin. (And I think we all know that those good desires do not guarantee we never will repeat the same sin.)
Although John did not mention it in the passage we’re considering, if your sin has harmed another person, of course you should also confess your sin to that person and seek his or her forgiveness. But John is referring to what needs to be done to be forgiven by God.
John also wrote that Jesus is our “Advocate with the Father.” That is, Jesus is our lawyer who defends us against the condemnation we deserve for our sin. Jesus, of course, would never lie and argue that we didn’t commit the sins of which we are guilty. Rather, He declares that the penalty for our sin has been paid. John wrote in the same passage that Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins.” (Note that John is definitely including the sins committed by Christians.)
The dictionary definition of the verb propitiate is “to win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person) by doing something that pleases them.” The New Testament Greek word, hilasmos, which is often translated propitiation in English translations carries the meaning of “making appeasement by a sacrifice” or “atonement.” Jesus made atonement on the cross, where He suffered and died for all of our sins. He appeased the wrath of God that we deserved. So, to think that what Jesus did was insufficient, or that we must add some additional atonement, is at best an unscriptural idea, and at worst, a diminishing and degradation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. To “do penance” as a means of atoning for our sins is to say that Jesus’ sufferings and death were not enough!
It is interesting that in Amish culture, those who sin are expected to confess their sin to the entire church and then endure a time of being excommunicated or shunned, a form of “doing penance.” Tragically, most Amish folks don’t realize that some of their Anabaptist forefathers gave their lives, at least in part, standing against the idea of “penance” as it was practiced then and still today within the Roman Catholic Church. When Roman Catholics “go to confession” where they privately confess their sins to a priest, penance is often prescribed. All of the Protestant Reformers and early Anabaptists considered such a practice to be heretical. Even if it is claimed that penance only validates the sincerity of one’s repentance, it can easily be perceived by the one doing penance that he or she is “making up for their sin,” which is a form of atonement beyond Christ’s atonement.
One more important part of John’s words in 1 John 1:8-2:2 that I want to emphasize: Take note John wrote that, if we confess our sins, God is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Although we might have thought the basis of God’s forgiveness is His mercy and grace, John says it is God’s faithfulness and righteousness. That is, it is right for God to forgive us. How can that be? The reason it is right for God to forgive us is because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin! Yes, Jesus’ death was a manifestation of God’s mercy toward us in that His death provided the means for our forgiveness by God, but that forgiveness is a manifestation of God’s faithfulness to do what is right because of what Jesus did on the cross! If God didn’t forgive us when we acknowledge our sin, it would be wrong of Him—in light of Jesus’ payment!
So I hope you can see how silly it would be to think that we need to rely on anything other than Jesus’ sufferings and death to atone for our sins. Imagine someone paying off your long-overdue million-dollar debt along with all the overdue interest, so that you were completely debt-free. Then imagine giving your former creditor ten cents to show him how sorry you were for not paying him when the money was due. That is somewhat akin to any “penance” we might do before God.
Public Confession of Sin
But what about the apostle James’ admonition to “confess your sins to one another”? (Jas. 5:16).
Clearly, James was not prescribing a practice that required all Christians at all times to confess all their sins to the entire church. Rather, he was addressing a specific group of Christians, and that specific group becomes obvious when we read the context of James’ words:
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (Jas. 5:14-16).
The specific Christians whom James was addressing were sick Christians. They should call for the church elders to pray over them with faith and anoint them with oil in Jesus’ name. James said that such folks will not only be healed but also be forgiven, if they have committed sins. The implication is that, if their sickness was the result of God’s discipline for their sin, God would both heal them and forgive them of the sins that opened the door to their sickness. Paul wrote of such a possibility in his first letter to the Corinthian believers:
For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
It would be unsafe to conclude that all sickness (and premature death) that Christians suffer is a manifestation of God’s discipline for sin, but it would be equally unsafe to conclude that no sickness Christians suffer is a manifestation of God’s discipline for sin. It is every Christian’s responsibility to “judge himself,” as Paul wrote, and if we will, we can avoid God’s discipline/judgment.
The kind of sins of which James wrote that Christians should confess to one another are most likely sins they have committed against each other, as that interpretation fits best within the whole context of the book of James and the entire Bible. If we read the entire book of James, we see that James was writing to people who were very familiar with strife among themselves (see Jas. 4:1-2, 11-12). Broken relationships are only restored through confession. So James admonished them to reconcile by making confession and extending forgiveness, evidenced by prayers for healing.
Christians are commanded by God to love one another. To disobey that commandment is to potentially open the door to the Lord’s discipline. For that reason, to sin against a fellow believer is to potentially open the door to sickness, or even premature death. But that door can be closed by going to the person who has been sinned against and by asking for his or her forgiveness.
Of course, offended Christians are commanded to forgive those who confess their sins against them. If they don’t, they will get in trouble with God (see Matt. 18:23-35). If they have truly forgiven a sick believer who is requesting their forgiveness, they will have no trouble praying for that person’s healing. That is more of what James was talking about. There is no scripture in the New Testament that requires all Christians to confess all their sins in front of the entire church, much less any scripture that requires some form of penance from believers who have sinned.
The Initial and Latter Cleansings
When someone first repents of their sins and believes in Jesus, all of their past sins are forgiven and cleansed:
“Of Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14)
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake (1 John 2:12).
Not only that, but new believers become “new creations in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17), the Holy Spirit comes to live inside them (1 Cor. 6:19), and they are given a new inward nature that motivates and empowers them for holiness (Eph. 4:24). Still, those new creations have a residue of the old, sinful nature, so they are faced with a daily battle between flesh and spirit (Gal. 5:16-24). As the apostle James wrote to believers in his day: “We all stumble in many ways” (Jas. 3:2). No Christian, of course, wants to sin. But sometimes we stumble. The word “stumble” implies falling unintentionally. So, although all true Christians have experienced a very significant initial cleansing, they occasionally need a subsequent, minor cleansing. Can you relate? I certainly can.
You may recall the time when Peter resisted Jesus’ intention to wash his feet. Jesus said to Peter, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (John 13:8). Peter replied, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head” (John 13:9). Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you” (John 13:10).
That conversation between Jesus and Peter is an excellent illustration of the initial and subsequent cleansings within the normal Christian life. As new believers, we are washed clean of our sin in a monumental way. Every sinful thought, word and deed is erased from our record when we believe in Jesus. God looks at us as if we had never sinned. That is what the New Testament means when it says that we have been “made righteous” or are “justified.” It is just-as-if-I’d never sinned!
But in our daily lives in the world, as we face all the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we still sometimes get some dust on our feet. We need Jesus, the one who formerly cleansed our entire bodies, to then wash our feet, reminding us again of His humble service and great mercy. Once He does wash our feet, we are just as clean as we were when He first cleansed us. His mercy is more than sufficient.
What if a Believer Dies with Unconfessed Sin?
Since God expects us to confess our sins in order for us to be forgiven, what if we die with unconfessed sin?
We have already read a scripture passage that addresses that very issue in 1 Corinthians:
For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
Obviously, those Corinthian Christians who had died prematurely due to God’s judgement/discipline died with unconfessed sins. If they would have “judged themselves” Paul said they would have avoided God’s judgment. So did they go to hell? No, Paul wrote that they were “disciplined by the Lord so that [they would] not be condemned along with the world.” So they obviously did not go to hell.
And because Scripture teaches that we must all one day stand before God in judgment (Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:9-10), we can be sure that any unconfessed sins will be addressed at our judgement. Obviously, if God can forgive us when we confess our sin on earth, He can also forgive us if we confess our sin in heaven.
This is not to say that there won’t be eternal consequences for our disobedience as believers. Scripture teaches that some believers will suffer loss of heavenly rewards they could have enjoyed had they been obedient. Concerning himself, an apostle, and concerning Apollos, a teacher, Paul wrote:
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:5-15).
According to Paul, it is possible—even for Christian leaders like himself and Apollos—to build Jesus’ church using figuratively-flammable materials that will one day perish in the flames of judgment. Those Christian leaders who build with “wood, hay and straw,” as compared to “gold, silver and precious stones,” will tragically witness their ministry works turn to ashes. But will such ministers be condemned to hell for building Jesus’ church using means and methods that proved to be of no real value? No, Paul wrote that, although their works will be “burned up” and they “will suffer loss,” they themselves “will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). The fire that burned their worthless works will also erase those works from their ministerial record.
Born-again Amish bishops, ministers and deacons would be wise to ask themselves what kind of materials they are using to build Jesus’ church. Will the various man-made ordnungs which can be found nowhere in the New Testament fall under the category of wood, hay and straw, or gold, silver and precious stones? Of course, there is no need for Amish bishops, ministers and deacons who are not born again to ask such questions, because they will never see or enter God’s kingdom according to Jesus (see John 3:3,5). They will be cast into hell along with all the people whom they misled into believing that heaven is attained by keeping hundreds of man-made rules, an idea that contradicts the gospel and denigrates Jesus’ sacrificial death.
But is it Not Possible to Forfeit Salvation?
Some claim that no Christian can possesses assurance of salvation because no Christian knows if he or she will “endure to the end,” because Jesus said, “the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Matt. 10:22; 24:13).
Indeed, because it is by believing in Jesus we have the guarantee that we “will not perish but will have eternal life” (John 3:16), we must of course continue to believe in order to obtain ultimate salvation and heaven. We have been saved “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8), but not by a momentary instance of faith, but by a faith that continues and endures.
Similarly, Paul wrote that Jesus “has now reconciled us in His fleshly body through death, in order to present us before God holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed we continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that we have heard” (Col. 1:22-23). To ultimately be saved in the end, we must “continue in the faith.”
So, the New Testament teaches that (1) faith is not necessarily permanent or perpetual, and (2) those who currently believe could abandon their faith at any time in the future (Luke 8:13). Therefore, none of us can be 100% certain that our faith will endure to the end. Those of us, however, who have believed steadfastly for decades, and through many trials, have good reason to think that we will never stop believing. Still, we always remain cautiously alert, lest within us ever arises “an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” (Heb.3:12).
Those facts, however, do not prove that it is impossible for us to possess assurance of eternal life right now. If I were to die right now believing in Jesus, then I “will not perish, but will have eternal life” (John 3:16). Therefore, I possess current assurance of my salvation even though the possibility exists that I could fall away from faith at some future point. The apostle John certainly believed that it was possible for a believer to forfeit his salvation (see 1 John 2:28; 5:16, yet he still wrote, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13). According to John, knowing that you currently have eternal life is the normal Christian experience.
What About Faith Without Works?
Is it not true, however, that as James wrote that, “faith without works is dead”? (Jas. 2:26).
Yes, it is certainly true. Faith without works cannot save anyone (see Jas. 2:14). Then how could anyone be certain that he has sufficient works to validate the authenticity of saving faith?
Take note that James did not write, “Faith without prefect holiness is dead and cannot save you.” Rather, he only wrote what everyone knows is true: If someone believes something, you can tell they believe it by their actions.
People who believe there is a scorpion hiding in their boot do not put their foot in that boot.
People who believe that their adult children and grandchildren are coming for a visit prepare for that visit.
People who believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for their sins and before whom they will stand one day strive to obey Him. That is how we know that many people—including even Amish people who say they believe in Jesus—don’t actually believe in Him. Keeping the ordnung is more important to them than keeping Jesus’ commandments. They are more concerned about what other Amish people think about them than what God thinks about them. They are religious but not righteous. They have no genuine faith in Jesus, so they have never had their sins forgiven, they have never been born again, and they will not enter God’s kingdom—unless they repent and believe. Once they do believe in Jesus, their lives will change, and they will be characterized by daily striving to obey Him. But will they achieve perfection? No, as James also said, “we all stumble in many ways” (Jas. 3:2). So, “faith without works is dead” but “we all stumble in many ways.”
The Marks of the New Birth
If you have truly been born again, you are a different person than you were before you were born again. The Holy Spirit has come to live inside you, and He has transformed your spirit, the “inward person.” According to the apostle John, that transformation manifests itself in the lives of believers in at least three ways:
First, that transformation shows up in their confession of faith:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15).
John was not writing about a one-time confession when someone is baptized, a confession that is often not made from true faith, but from a desire to please one’s family. The Greek word translated “confesses” implies an ongoing confession. Born again people often confess their faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and not just when they are reading a prayer or repeating words in church. They are not ashamed to confess their faith before others, and they often do. As Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).
Second, the transformation shows up in their love for their fellow believers in Christ:
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren (1 John 3:14).
This is how we know that many Amish people have never been truly born again. When someone is actually born again by God’s Spirit, Amish people often excommunicate him. I know of Amish people who have been excommunicated because they started studying the Bible with others! That is a sure sign that those who are doing the excommunication are not born again. Born again people love other born-again people! They don’t excommunicate them for being born again! And born-again people also love God’s Word! So they naturally want to talk about what God has said with other believers.
Third, the transformation shows up in their obedience to Jesus’ commandments:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 John 2:3).
As I have already said, this is how we know that many Amish people have not been born again. They aren’t keeping Jesus’ commandments. Some are drunkards. Some are liars, or gossips or slanderers. Some are fornicators and adulterers. Some, believe it or not, sexually abuse children. Some are always engaged in hatred and strife even while claiming to be “people of peace.” Some are lovers of money. Some are full of pride like Pharisees. And many are trying to earn their way to heaven by keeping hundreds of man-made laws, in by doing, are ignoring the gospel of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Paul warned:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
But all those things change when people are born again. Paul continues:
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11).
Notice that the three scriptures I cited regarding the three ways that believers are transformed are all from John’s first epistle (1 John 2:3; 3:14; 4:15). John repeatedly mentioned those three ways of transformation: People who are truly born again continually confess that Jesus is the Son of God, they love other believers, and they obey Jesus’ commandments. And then John concludes his letter by saying, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). That is, John repeatedly mentioned the three proofs of transformation so that his readers could be certain that God’s grace had indeed transformed them.
What about you? Is the reason that you don’t have assurance of eternal life is because you have never truly been born again? Is it because you are hoping that you are good enough, but you are not certain that you are? Is it because you think that heaven is earned by a combination of keeping Jesus’ commandments as well as hundreds of man-made commandments? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then I have very good news for you. You can have assurance of eternal life by abandoning all hope that you can be saved by your conduct and then by believing that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins. He will forgive and cleanse you. He will cause you to be born again. He will put His Holy Spirit inside of you. And you will know that you can never be good enough to merit heaven or eternal life, but that you have been saved by grace through faith. What are you waiting for?