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Dear COA Family,

How do we know that we will receive eternal life?
This is a very vexing question that many would ask, especially on their deathbed.

It is actually an important question to ask, because the Bible commands us to examine and test
ourselves – to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5).

Romans 8 actually tells us how we can be sure:
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we
are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we
may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16-17).

Working backwards in these verses, we know that we are heirs of God (have received eternal life) if
we are children of God. As God’s children, we can expect to receive all that he has intended and
prepared for us.

How do we know that we are God’s children then?
By the Holy Spirit’s witness in our hearts that we are not orphans but truly belong to the living God.
The earlier verse tells us that the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children – it is a
sureness of conviction in our hearts that cannot be denied.

So, how do I continue to encourage these people who are unsure of their salvation? I will tell them
three things:
1. Know God as their loving heavenly Father. He is the One who has created them and
purposed all that is good for their lives. He is the One who has provided for all of their
needs. He is the One who has loved them as his very own from the beginning.
2. Know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. According to God’s will, Jesus the Son has come to die
on the cross for the sins of the world, and was raised from the dead for the justification of
the world. Jesus is the way, truth and life.
3. Know the Spirit as the One who is with them right now, applying the truth of God in their
lives and assuring themselves of their future eternal inheritance in God.
Yet such an assurance is not just for the dying. We need to be filled with such an assurance day by
day in our lives. This provides us with strength for living in faith daily for the Lord.

How can we then be sustained in this assurance on a daily basis?
By sharing in the sufferings of Christ. If there is something that is right but difficult to do in your life,
and if it involves a form of sacrifice on your part either of time, possessions or pride, you are sharing
in the suffering of Christ as you do it. This is because our Lord Jesus similarly did not come to be
served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. He came to undergo suffering on our
behalf. By suffering together with Christ, we are identifying with his mission and person. And we can
look forward with confidence to share in his glory as well.

So, beloved, whatever difficult circumstances or trials that you might be going through at this time,
take heart and persevere in obeying God. Do not give up. All of your efforts empowered by the Spirit
are working for your eternal inheritance which you will receive in the age to come.

God bless,
Revd Ian