I am going to use some more sermon transcripts from MacArthur which do a wonderful job of discussing the assurance of salvation. The transcripts I have are three parts of a larger series and specifically deal with the how a believer can be assured that they have the true saving faith which results in salvation.
Our Precious Faith: Tests of Assurance, Part 1
Our Precious Faith: Tests of Assurance, Part 2
Our Precious Faith: Tests of Assurance, Part 3
MacArthur opens with the 2 basic questions:
The subject here then is the assurance of salvation. And we have noted that there are basically two questions to ask. Question number one, is salvation forever? Is salvation forever? Is it secure? Question number two, can I feel that security? One is a fact and the other is a personal confidence. They are inseparable. And we have noted in our study that if salvation was not eternal, if salvation was not secure, then there would be no discussion about assurance because how could you be assured of an insecure salvation? But if salvation is forever and if it is secure, then you can experience assurance
So, for the first part of this discussion let’s establish the permanence of salvation. Does the Bible say that salvation is forever? MacArthur says:
Let's go back to question number one for a moment...is our salvation forever? In other words, once you have come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, is that eternal? The answer, of course, is yes. And there are many places in the Word of God where that is very clearly noted for us. Listen to just a few. John 5:24, "Truly truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life." If you believe you have eternal life you will never come into judgment, you have passed out of death in to life. And you will notice there is no fine print.
There is no fine print, I like that. MacArthur goes on to quote other verses from Jesus mostly from John 6. I like John 10:
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:25-30
But I think my favorite passage on the permanence of salvation is found in Romans 8:
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-39
Notice, nothing can separate us from the love of God and from the previous verse, we cannot be snatched out of God's hand. No matter how bad things get, we belong to God.
Saving faith, the kind that brings true salvation, comes from God and therefore cannot fail.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid... Isa 12:2
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thess 5:24
If we have true, saving faith, we have a guaranteed salvation. There is no fine print.
In Part 2 I will discuss the “tests of assurance” by MacArthur.