Certainty of Salvation
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name.
~ John 20:31
For one last time we will make it clear just what is required of the soul that comes to God through Christ. There are those who speak of conditions. There is one, and only one, condition. You must cease from any trust in yourself or anything that comes from yourself, and you must rest in Him alone. The word “rest” must be taken in its strictest sense. This leads naturally to a story that will illustrate the nature of a belief better than anything known to me.
When John G. Paton landed in the New Hebrides to begin his mission work, he faced an enormous task. The language had never been reduced to writing. He had to listen to the speech of the natives and write down in his notebook the sounds that he heard them speak. Little by little he developed a large vocabulary, and finally thought that he could begin his work of translating a part of the New Testament.
It was not long before he discovered that he had no word for “belief,” for “trust,” for “faith.” One cannot get far in the New Testament without a word that conveys to us the idea or thought of “trusting,” yet try as he might, he could not obtain any expression of this thought from the natives. But one day he went on a hunting trip with one of the islanders. The day was hot, the road was long. A large deer was shot and the game carried down the long mountain toward his house.
The two men struggled with their burden, and finally reached home. They flung the deer down on the grass and dropped, exhausted on to two lounge chairs on the porch overlooking the sea. The islander said: “My, but it is good to stretch yourself out here!” It was an expression that Paton had never heard before, and he made haste to have it recorded in his notebook. When his translation was complete, this was the word that was used for “belief” and “trust.” “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever stretcheth himself out upon the Saviour, shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.” “Stretch yourself out on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thine house.”
This, then, is faith. It is the turning away from everything that is in self, and the utter reliance upon all that Christ has done for us. If this has been your experience, then you may claim the promise that goes with the resting in Christ. It is something that belongs to you, then, as a right. You have the right to say: I am saved. I have been born again. I now possess eternal life. You have that right, because God has given you the authority to speak so.
Lord, teach me to rely upon you and not upon myself. Amen.
~ from “God‘s Methods For Holy Living” by Donald Grey Barnhouse.