Week 1 — Day 1
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved…
John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten…of God.
Among today’s Christians there are many different views concerning salvation. Some people consider that it is impossible to know today that we are saved, while others think that after we are saved we may still perish. The Bible shows us, however, that our salvation is not a matter of speculation nor is it a matter of uncertainty. Rather, it is something which can be confirmed with assurance and which we may know with full confidence.
Many people consider that believing is a present matter and that receiving salvation is a future matter, that is, that a man believes today and will be saved in the future. However, the Bible tells us clearly and definitely that at the moment a man believes, he is saved (Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:10). It is not that he will be saved in the future, but that he is already saved today. He is saved at the very time that he believes. Salvation immediately follows believing, for there is no space of time between the two.
When a person believes, he is saved. The Bible clearly reveals that when a person believes, he is forgiven of his sins (Acts 10:43; 1 John 2:12), freed (John 3:18; Gal. 3:13), washed (1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 15:9), sanctified (1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 26:18), justified (Rom. 5:1; 3:28, 30; Gal. 3:8, 24; Acts 13:39), and reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10). Therefore, when we believe, we are redeemed and we are saved.
When a person believes, he is not only redeemed but also regenerated. John 1:12-13 clearly points out that anyone who believes in the Lord is born of God and becomes a child of God. Hence, as long as a man believes into the Lord Jesus, he is regenerated, he has God’s eternal life, and he will not perish forever (John 3:15-16); that is, he is saved.
When a person believes, he passes out of death into life. John 3:16 and 5:24 tell us that he who believes has eternal life, and he will not be judged nor will he perish; he has passed out of death into life. Hence, as long as we believe, we have eternal life, and we are no longer condemned or judged; we have passed out of death into life.
The above three points clearly prove that we need only to believe, and we are saved immediately.13
If you recently have had the experience of receiving Christ, you may have had times when you doubted the reality of that experience; that is, you may have questioned whether you were really saved. Without the real assurance of salvation as a solid foundation, it is difficult for a new Christian to grow and experience the deeper things of the Christian life. Nevertheless, the Bible says it is possible to know absolutely, unreservedly, that you are a saved person. How can this be? Let us read 1 John 5:13: “I have written these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life, to you who believe into the name of the Son of God.”14 Brothers! The Bible does not say, “I give these happy feelings to you that you may know that you have eternal life, to you who believe into the name of the Son of God.” If the Bible were written in this way, one would not be saved if he did not feel anything. But the Bible says, “I have written these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).15 It is not, “that you may think,” not, “that you may hope,” but “that you may know.” We do not need to wait until we die to find out; this assurance is for us to enjoy today.16
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Day 2
1 John 5:13 I have written these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life, to you who believe into the name of the Son of God.
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers. He who does not love abides in death.
How can we have the assurance of salvation? There are three means: Our first means of assurance of salvation is God’s Word. While man’s word may be untrustworthy, God’s Word remains sure and steadfast. It is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18; Num. 23:19). Whatever God says stands firm forever (Psa. 119:89).
What God has said is not a matter of conjecture. His Word is neither vague nor intangible. It comes to us today in written form, the Bible. The Bible is God’s very Word, inspired by Him (2 Tim. 3:16). We can take this Word, believe this Word, and trust this Word.17
Man acquires an inheritance by a testament [a will]. The written words of the covenant in the Bible were left to us by the Lord as a testament (Heb. 9:15-16), by which we may inherit the blessings of His salvation.18 What then does God say about salvation? He says that the way of salvation is a person, Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 14:6; Acts 10:43; 16:31). He says that whoever believes that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord is saved. He says that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:9-13). Have you done this? Have you believed in Christ and confessed openly that He is your Lord? Have you called on His name? If so, you are really saved. God says so. That settles it.
[Second], what the Bible speaks to us from without, the Spirit confirms within. First John 5:10 says, “He who believes into the Son of God has the testimony [witness] in himself.”19 The assurance of our salvation is based on the Spirit’s witnessing with our spirit (Rom. 8:16).…Everyone who believes in the Lord enjoys addressing God as “Abba, Father.”…Moreover, every time we call Him “Abba, Father,” we feel sweet and comfortable within. This is because we are children begotten of God, we have God’s life, and the Spirit of God’s Son has entered into us. Concerning our father in the flesh, it is spontaneous and sweet for us to call him “Father.” Therefore, since we enjoy calling God “Abba, Father,” and do it spontaneously, even with a sweet and comfortable sensation, this proves that we have God’s life and are children begotten of God. Hence, by the Spirit’s inner witnessing with our spirit we can know with certainty that we are God’s children and that we are saved.20
[Third], the assurance of salvation is based on the fact that we love the brothers. First John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers.” Since God is love (1 John 4:16) and since we have His life, we surely have the divine love. Furthermore, since we have been begotten of God, we certainly love those who have been begotten of Him (1 John 5:1). When a saved one sees a brother in the Lord, he has an affection for him and even loves him in such a manner that is incomprehensible to himself. Therefore, our love toward the brothers in the Lord is a proof by which we know that we have been saved. This is a proof of our experience of life, which we may call the proof of love. By our believing — believing in the Lord — we have life and have passed out of death into life; by our loving — loving the brothers — we know that we have life and that we have passed out of death into life. Therefore, by the clear words of the Bible, by the sensation in our spirit, and by the experience of love, we can know with certainty that we are saved.21
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Day 3
James 1:17 …The Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
Rom. 11:29 For the gracious gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Now we will go on to see the security of salvation. Our salvation not only can be proved with assurance, but it is also secure. [Once we have it, we have it eternally. It can never be shaken or changed.] According to the revelation of the Bible, the security of salvation is demonstrated by the following twelve items:
First, our salvation is secured by the invariable God. James 1:17 says that with the Father there is “no variation or shadow cast by turning.”…He is not like the heavenly bodies, which turn and whose shadows also change, as seen in the waxing and waning of the moon while it revolves around the earth and in the eclipsing of the sun by the moon. God is secure; He is not variable, not changeable. Therefore, since He has saved us, our salvation can never be changed, and we shall never perish.
Our salvation is secured by God’s unchanging will. Hebrews 6:17 speaks of “the unchangeableness of His [God’s] counsel.” Since God’s counsel, that is, God’s will, is unchangeable, the fact that He chose us and predestinated us before the foundation of the world that we might receive His salvation (Eph. 1:4-5, 11) is also unchangeable. Since He chose and predestinated us in eternity past that we might receive sonship and become His inheritance, He will carry it out and will not fail.
Our salvation is also secured by God’s inseparable love. First John 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins.” If we are saved because we love God, then our salvation is not reliable. However, we are saved because God loved us; that is, our salvation is of God’s love. Since God is unchanging, His love is also unalterable. Moreover, His love toward us is an inseparable love (Rom. 8:39).…Because of God’s inseparable love, His salvation within us will never fail; it is forever secure and unchanging.
Romans 11:29 says that the calling of God is irrevocable. Since God’s calling comes out of His invariable being and is according to His unchanging will, it is irrevocable and unalterable.…Therefore, according to God’s calling, our salvation is eternally secure.
After the Lord Jesus was judged on the cross by God’s righteousness on our behalf and thereby satisfied God’s righteous requirement, we who believe in Him are justified according to God’s righteousness to show forth God’s righteousness (Rom. 3:26).…[Moreover], since the Lord Jesus has satisfied God’s righteous requirement on our behalf, God can — and He must — forgive us and justify us according to His righteousness; otherwise, He would make Himself unrighteous.…Romans 8:33 says, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? Shall God, who justifies?” (RcV, margin). Since God is bound by His righteousness, He must justify us; He cannot accuse us or condemn us any longer.…Hence, our salvation is eternally secure.
In John 10:29 the Lord said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” Because God is greater than all, He is more powerful than anything. No one can snatch us out of His almighty hand. Hence, as far as God’s almighty hand is concerned, our salvation is secure.22
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Day 4
John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out.
In John 10:28 the Lord said, “And I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever.” Eternal life is God’s life. The Lord has given this life to us and has brought us into an eternal relationship with God, a relationship in life, so that we can never be separated from Him. Today, God’s eternal life in us maintains the eternal security of our salvation so that we shall never perish.
Our salvation is secured by the new covenant which God made with us (Heb. 8:8-12). This covenant was consummated through the redemption accomplished by the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20). According to this covenant, God will forgive the sins of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus and will not remember their iniquities any longer; He will impart His laws into their mind and inscribe them on their hearts; He will be God to them and they will be a people to Him; and they all will know God and will not need others to teach them. At the same time, this covenant is an eternal covenant (Heb. 13:20), which will remain eternally and is effective eternally. Furthermore, because God is faithful and is One who keeps His covenant (Deut. 7:9), He will never break His covenant (Psa. 89:34) but will fulfill it in us accordingly. Hence, His covenant, which cannot be annulled, guarantees the eternal security of our salvation.
Our salvation is also secured by Christ’s eternal redemption, which is perfect and complete. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” By offering Himself on the cross without blemish as the one sacrifice to God, Christ has accomplished an eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12; 10:10, 12). Hence, this redemption is eternally perfect and complete, without any blemish or shortcoming. Through Christ’s eternal redemption we, the sanctified ones, have been perfected eternally. No one can condemn us any longer (Rom. 8:34), nor can anyone nullify the perfect, complete, and eternal redemption which Christ has accomplished for us.
We are saved with security by Christ’s eternal salvation. Hebrews 5:9 says that Christ “became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” The salvation brought to us by Christ is an eternal salvation, all the effects, benefits, and issues of which are of an eternal nature, transcending the limitations of time. Our salvation, therefore, is eternally secure.
Just as God’s almighty hand is powerful, so also Christ’s almighty hand is strong [John 10:28]. Both are safeguards to our salvation. Eternal life shall never run out, and the hands of the Son and the Father shall never fail. Therefore, our salvation is eternally secure, and we shall never perish.
[In] John 6:37…the Lord has promised that He will never cast out those who come to Him. Such a promise guarantees the eternal security of our salvation. Therefore, God has shown us in His Word from different angles that once we are saved, we are eternally saved, we are eternally perfected, we shall by no means perish eternally, and we are eternally secure.23
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Day 5
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.
Acts 8:36 And as they were going along the road, they came upon some water, and the eunuch said, Look, water. What prevents me from being baptized?
The first thing God did in the beginning of the New Testament dispensation was to send John the Baptist to preach the baptism of repentance (Acts 10:37; Luke 3:3).… This indicates the importance of baptism in God’s New Testament plan and arrangement. We may say that baptism opens the New Testament dispensation. Just as the truth of baptism was God’s initiation of the New Testament dispensation, so the practice of baptism marks the beginning of our enjoyment of the New Testament blessings.
In the New Testament, the verb form of the word baptism in Greek is baptizo, meaning to immerse or dip in water, to cover with water, or to put into water.24
Many verses in the New Testament speak of the necessity and importance of baptism. In Mark 16:16 the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.”25 Here the verse does not say, “He who does not believe and is not baptized.” This indicates that condemnation is related only to not believing; it is not related to not being baptized. Believing, by itself, is sufficient in order to receive salvation from condemnation; yet for the completion of one’s inward salvation, believing needs baptism as an outward affirmation.26 To believe is to receive Christ not only for forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:42) but also for regeneration (1 Pet. 1:21, 23), so that those who believe may become the children of God (John 1:12-13) and the members of Christ (Eph. 5:30) in an organic union with the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). To be baptized is to affirm this by being buried to terminate the old creation through the death of Christ and by being raised to be the new creation of God through Christ’s resurrection.
To believe and to be so baptized are two parts of one complete step for receiving the full salvation of God. To be baptized without believing is merely an empty ritual; to believe without being baptized is to be saved only inwardly without an outward affirmation of the inward salvation.27
Baptism has two aspects: the visible aspect is the baptism in water; the invisible aspect, the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 10:47; 9:17-18; John 3:5). Water is the symbol of baptism, and the Holy Spirit is the reality of baptism. The visible aspect is the expression, the testimony, of the invisible aspect, whereas the invisible aspect is the reality of the visible aspect. Without the invisible aspect by the Spirit, the visible aspect by the water is vain; and without the visible aspect by water, the invisible aspect by the Spirit is abstract and impractical, without an expression. Both are needed.28
In the case of Philip preaching the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39)29 water baptism was particularly emphasized, but no mention was made of Spirit baptism. This should give us strong instruction that we must pay attention to water baptism, which signifies the believers’ identification with Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12), as well as to Spirit baptism [1 Cor. 12:13]. Spirit baptism produces the reality of the believers’ union with Christ in life essentially and in power economically, whereas water baptism is the believers’ affirmation of the Spirit’s reality.…All believers in Christ should properly have both, just as the children of Israel were baptized in the cloud (signifying the Spirit) and in the sea (signifying water) — 1 Cor. 10:2.30
In the sight of God there is only one baptism with two aspects — the aspect of water and the aspect of Spirit.… Whenever we baptize others, we baptize them in water and in the Spirit at the same time.31
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Day 6
Matt. 28:19 Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
1 Pet. 3:20-21 …While the ark was being prepared; entering into which, a few, that is, eight souls, were brought safely through by water. Which water…also now saves you, that is, baptism, not a putting away of the filth of the flesh but the appeal of a good conscience unto God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
To be baptized is to be baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).32 To baptize people into the name of the Triune God is to bring them into spiritual and mystical union with Him.…The name is the sum total of the Divine Being, equivalent to His person. To baptize someone into the name of the Triune God is to immerse him into all that the Triune God is.33 [Furthermore], baptism practiced in a proper, genuine, and living way puts the believers into…Christ, a living person (Gal. 3:27); into the death of Christ, an effective death (Rom. 6:3); and into the Body of Christ, a living organism (1 Cor. 12:13), that the believers may enter into an organic union not only with Christ but also with His Body.34 Positively, we have been baptized into the Triune God and into Christ; negatively, we have been baptized into the death of Christ. This negative aspect of baptism clears away such negative things as sin, the flesh, the self, and the old creation. The ultimate issue of baptism is that we are put into the Body. We praise the Lord that we have been baptized into the organic entity of the Body of Christ for His expression.35
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter told us that Noah’s household of eight passing through the flood in the ark was a type of baptism [1 Pet. 3:20-21]. The waters of the flood separated those who were in the ark from the world in which they once were, that they might be delivered from that corrupted age. This signifies that the water of baptism separates those of us who are in Christ from the world in which we formerly lived, that we may be delivered from this crooked and perverted generation. Therefore, just as Noah and his family were saved through the flood and delivered from that corrupted generation, so we also are saved through the water of baptism and delivered from this crooked generation. On the one hand, they entered the ark by faith and were saved through the ark, thus escaping God’s judgment by the flood. On the other hand, they passed through the flood in the ark and were saved through the flood; that is, they were saved out of the former world and were brought into a renewed world.36
Baptism itself does not and cannot put away the filth of our flesh [1 Pet. 3:21] — the dirt of our fallen nature and the defilement of fleshly lust. The erroneous teaching concerning baptismal salvation, a teaching based on this verse and Mark 16:16 and Acts 22:16, is corrected here. Baptism is only a figure; its reality is Christ in resurrection as the life-giving Spirit, who applies to us all that Christ passed through in His crucifixion and resurrection, making these things real in our daily life.37
Baptism is the appeal to God of the baptized ones for a good conscience unto God (1 Pet. 3:21). When we were baptized, we were baptized into Christ to be identified with His death, burial, and resurrection [Rom. 6:3-4]; hence, through baptism we were able to obtain a good conscience.38 All our sins, offenses, transgressions, and trespasses have been forgiven, and all the problems that estranged our life and our being have been buried in the water.…Because of this clearance, we can have a good and pure conscience.39
Enlightenment and inspiration:
Week 1 — Hymn
1. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
2. Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
3. Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
1. My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
2. Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.
3. My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.
4. My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.
In death’s waters I am buried,
For with Christ my Savior, I have died;
Now the world cannot pursue me,
For its power here is nullified.
I with Christ have risen too,
Out of death with Him I walk and live;
Now the Spirit life supplies
And His strength exhaustless unto me doth give.
Speaking the Truth in Love
This is how denominations are formed.
The main direction is to come out of the system; it cannot change.
"I began to realize that our practices have differed and deviated from our vision. Our vision was the same, our teaching was mostly the same, the truth is always the same, but our practice has really differed."