The very first sermon that ever reached down deep into my heart-of-hearts with a Gospel message that got right into my kitchen and would not let me go, was presented by a wonderful, gentle, Godly man from Southern California, named Morris Venden, ‘way back in the early 1970’s.  The title of that particular message – the one that dropped me in my tracks – was “Going Naked to the Wedding”.  Pastor Venden knew how to deliver the goods with incredible power.

Some 20 years later, I had the opportunity to see and hear him speak, right here in Hamburg, PA.  Afterward, I met with him briefly, genuinely thanked him, and told him how he had significantly opened up my theological understanding, years ago.

When Pastor Venden spoke that day, he said that, in all his travels, wherever he has gone, there’s been one question that concerns people more than any other.  Would you like to know exactly what that question was?  The question that he found troubles people the most, and the topic of his message that morning was “How You Can Know For Certain That You Will Be Saved?”

Have you ever wondered that?  How can I be assured that I will be accepted into God’s Kingdom?  I often wondered and at times fretted over it!  Pastor Venden said that he always answers that question   with a question.  He responds this way: “Was there ever a time in your life     when you gave your heart to Jesus Christ, and surrendered completely to Him?”

And he said, if that answer is Yes, he follows up with:  “Are you doing that every day?  Are you renewing  that surrender, that submission, each morning when you wake up, and throughout the day?  Are you recommitting to your relationship with your Savior each day?”

Because that  is precisely how you can be certain, beyond any doubt, that you will be received into God’s Kingdom for all eternity.  Anyone who desires citizenship in God’s Kingdom may make that choice, and may have His assurance of salvation, and a home in the Earth-made-new.

The most well-known, and by far most oft-quoted Bible passage is John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 Nearly everyone is familiar with this passage.  But are you familiar with the verse that immediately follows it?  Watch what comes next … in John 3:17: “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, may be saved. 

That  who may be saved?  It says “the world”! That would be how many people?  And “who” would not be included in there?  God’s express purpose is the redemption of all, because all are His Creation and all have sinned and come short of the mark.” Romans 3:23. 

In accordance with God’s immutable, unchangeable Law, He took all of humanity  to Judgment in the Savior at Calvary.  He put the entire human race to death in Jesus Christ!  Did you catch that? 

In the same way that Adam was the representative of the human race, Jesus, whom Scripture refers to as “the Last Adam” or “the Second Adam” (I Cor 15:45), was the incarnate, the embodiment of corporate humanity throughout His life.

Listen: II Corinthians 5:14 says: “… since One died for all, then all died”.

And Hebrews 2:9 adds “… that He (speaking here of Jesus) by the grace of God should taste death for every man!


The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ …”, or more literally, “I am crucified in Christ. 

So, if your life is hidden in the Cleft of the Rock, and you’re leaning fully, trusting, believing on Him, you’ve already been to Judgmentin Christ – at the Cross, and you are justified; you are saved thru His death at Calvary!  John 5:24

Now, let’s say that my very favorite dress-suit has accumulated numerous spots, and has acquired a shabby and rumpled appearance.  So I take my suit to the dry cleaner, and they remove the stains; they clean it and press out the wrinkles, so when I pick it up, it’s crisp, and clean, bright and sharply pressed. It’s been thoroughly restored, like new!

My focus now, as I put on my suit again, is no longer to get rid of spots, stains and wrinkles, because that’s already been done. My suit has been restored to its original condition.  The focus now becomes   keeping it spotless and wrinkle-free.  Because, unless there’s a dramatic change in my actions, my spiffy suit will soon be right back in its prior condition  –  stained and rumpled once more.

Likewise, the sacrifice of Jesus has redeemed us. Our sinful past, our “old self” – our spots, stains and wrinkles have been taken to the cleaners – it’s all been crucified with, and buried in, Jesus Christ. This is a completed fact.  It’s a done deal. Have you    claimed it for yourself?  His offer is open   and its free!

Since we’ve been judged in Christ, and our sin-debt has been completely canceled, our focus now becomes resisting temptation, side-stepping sin, dodging those spills, avoiding the spots and resisting the wrinkles.  But …

… isn’t there always a fly in the ointment?  Our very nature is carnal.  It’s sinful, self-seeking, self-serving.  The prophet Jeremiah tells it just like it is:

“Who can understand man’s heart?  It’s devious and deceitful above all else.  Who can trust it?  It is sick.  Who can heal it?” Jeremiah 17:9 

Just listen to the lamentations of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7: “… but I am of the flesh, sold into bondage to sin.  I don’t understand my actions,  because what I do is not what I want to do, but it’s what I detest … and the good, which I want to do, I fail to do; but I practice the very evil that I do not want to do.  Miserable creature that I am; who is there    to rescue me out of this body, doomed for death?”


HE SAVES ME – W.W.  Prescott  (excerpted from Victory In Christ)

Jesus loved me and died for me.  Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and now lives as my personal Savior.  In Him, I have redemption, even (specifically)  the redemption of my sins.  With Him, I have fellowship day by day, as I live with Him and walk with Him. 

I recognize his presence with me, and I depend upon Him to keep me from doing anything contrary to His blessed will.  I have surrendered to Him.  I have definitely accepted His will in all things; and He fulfills His promises to me.  In the joy and comfort of His love, I go forward from day to day.

This is what I mean when I say that He saves me.  I have not reached heaven yet, and it depends upon my daily choice whether or not I enter in through the gates, into the City; but I know that I enjoy the blessing of present salvation through my acceptance of Jesus as the Lord of my life, and I trust Him moment by moment.

“Not for worlds would I exchange it, this sweet faith in Thee

Earthly treasure cannot equal all Thou art to me”


I have found that “it is not enough to believe about  Him;  you must believe in Him.”  The difference may seem small – a mere change in a word – but it is vital.  I can believe about Christ with my mind, but to be saved by Him, I must believe in Him with my whole heart.  I am fully assured that what He has promised, He is also able to perform, and I yield myself that He may perform in me the good thing that He has promised.  This is the basis of my Christian experience.

My effort is directed, not toward doing things myself; but toward not hindering Jesus from doing.  My only fear is   lest I should in some way lose my personal fellowship with Him, for I know that as long as that is fully maintained, He will take care of the rest.  He will work in me “both to will and to do” (Philippians 2:13), if I say to Him from the depths of my heart, “Thy will be done.”  This is not a sentimental religion.  This is not a life of selfish ease and enjoyment.  This means complete devotion, and going about doing good; but it is no longer I that live, “but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

And so Jesus loves me, and He lived for me; He died for me, and He saves me. He loves you, and lived for you, and died for you – does He save you?


Joel 2:32 The Redeemed are saved by faith.”  Faith in what?  Well, first we are saved by faith in the completed, the finished, work of Christ at Calvary.  Then, moving forward, it’s by our faith in His ability to save us on a continuing, day-to-day, moment-by-moment, basis!  He is able to keep us without spot or wrinkle.  It is He Who does the “doing”, while we do the trusting, the “letting”, the leaning on His power.  It’s our primary job to not hinder Him as He works His will in and through us.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved, thru faith: and that not of yourselvesit is the gift of God.”  It’s the what? God says, “the gift!”. Saving faith is a gift!

Rom 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  Saving faith is granted to us – it’s given to us – thru the indwelling Spirit of Christ, as we feed on His Word; and then listen for His voice, and heed His counsel.

Now, lets break this down into bite-sized pieces:  If you receive Jesus as your personal Savior, God says you are crucified with Him – you are dead in Christ, fully justified, because you were, and still are, in Him.  He has redeemed you.

As the Apostle Paul was saying awhile back in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ,    and yet I live!” And it gets better!

Now, since He arose from the tomb, arose to New Life, still clothed in your flesh, you are alive in Christ.  You’re born anew – reborn;  you’re a New Creation in Him.  Listen again: “I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live!  Not I,  but Christ Who lives within me.” 

I will let Him, will permit Him, to do the “doing” of His will in and thru me.

And here’s the rest of Galatians 2:20: “And the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith OF the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”.


  • Notice: Paul says “the faith of the Son of God … the faith OF Jesus”.  I believe he’s referring to the caliber of faith – the quality – that particular brand of unwavering faith that Jesus exhibited throughout His walk,   right in the midst of His trials while in our human flesh. 


Let’s compare this briefly with Rev. 14:12 – “Here is the patience of the saints.  Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”  There it is again!  The immovable, rock-solid, saving faith that we find in Jesus – and it’s the faith that He gives us, that He brings to us, when He abides in us.

As you invite His presence daily thru the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and as you renew  that relationship each and every morning, then He will continue, daily, living within you!

First: He saved you at the Cross, and that becomes yours the moment you receive Him personally  as your Redeemer. But, He also saves you (that’s present tense), He saves you, moment-by-moment, day-by-day, as you remain in His care and custody. Thru His Spirit, He abides in you! He dwells within you!  And He’ll work His will, His plan and His purpose, through you!

So, you no longer need to worry about winning the battle, because He has already gained the victory, and will manifest it all in and thru you,  because as Paul testifies, “For it is God Who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13  This is accomplished, of course, with your consent, at your invitation,  and you thus become a living instrument of His righteousness, and the recipient of His victory!

Years ago, some folks used to have on the front bumper of their car the license plate that read: “God Is My Co-Pilot”.  Not too long ago, I saw one that said, “If God is your Co-Pilot, move over!”

We all like to be in charge, don’t we?  We want to be the pilot – the captain of the ship.  We want to “drive”.  But I’ve found that when I drive, when I’m in total charge of my life, I sometimes get off the road and into the weeds; I bang into things, knock stuff over, and sometimes I hurt people.

Jesus says, “Give me authority over your affairs.  Let Me lead. Allow Me to drive.  You can ride shotgun!”  So, I move over, and now He drives for me.

So what is the pay-back?  What are the benefits?  How will your life change, as a result of permitting Jesus to “drive”, while you become His passenger?

Paul, in his first letter to the church at Corinth, writes, “We have the mind of Christ.”  Say what??  You have access to a most-powerful resource: the mind, the thoughts, the ways, the promptings of the Savior Himself, thru His abiding Spirit,  Who will direct your footsteps along the rocky road to the Kingdom! 

You have an unfailing guidance system  to enable you to navigate the way.   Listen to the prophet  Isaiah: “Your ears shall hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the left or to the right’.”  Isaiah 30:24  

… and Proverbs 3:5, 6 counsels us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

You will have assurance of His watch-care and protection – Psalm 91: “… for He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”  (Better yet, to thoroughly reinforce your confidence, please read all of Psalm 91.)

But there’s still more!  In His great mercy, He will place limitations on the severity of the trials you encounter, and will always make available a way of escape, or He will supply you power and strength to withstand it!  Watch this:

I Corinthians 10:13 “God keeps faith, and He will not allow you to be tested above your powers; but when the test comes, He will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.”

In the Epistle of Jude, Jesus is described as “… Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory    with exceeding joy …”  … without spot or wrinkle!

And you’ll have His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, as your Counselor and your Comforter.  His promise is that His Spirit will lead you into all Truth.

Incidentally, the word “Counselor” used here, in the original language, can be more finely, more Biblically interpreted “Divine Psychiatrist”. 

And, as our compassionate Comforter … just listen to the Psalmist’s description …

Psalms 34:17, 18 “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them  out of all their troubles; The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  … and …

Isaiah 26:3 – The prophet Isaiah says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee (‘centered’, ‘fixed’, ‘focused’ on Thee),  for he trusteth in Thee.”   You’ll want to be renewing that bond of trust each and every single day.

We’re just getting started!  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things thru Christ Who strengthens me.”

Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”

I’d like to recommend an excellent way to begin your day tomorrow – or perhaps even tonight, before retiring.  For peace, assurance, and consolation, read Psalm 23, pausing to meditate on each thought.  Read it again for the first time!!

Remember: “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, may be saved.”  Redeemed at Calvary from the sin-and-death cycle, and saved day-by-day from slipping back into that abyss.  “The world” refers to  how many people? It refers to ALL!  To all!  Is that you?

I Timothy 2:4 “The Lord wants everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”  Does that sound as though anyone might be left out?  Not a soul.

Paul, in Ephesians 1:10, testifies that God has gathered all humanity into One, Jesus Christ, and then Hebrews 9 assures us that the work of salvation has been completed in Christ, ‘for every man’ ... for every single soul.

Was there ever a time in your life when you gave your heart to Jesus Christ and surrendered completely to Him?” Have you taken your suit to the cleaner? If so, are you renewing that commitment daily.  Are you regularly taking it back to your cleaner, to be cleaned and pressed, to have the stains removed and to keep it without spot or wrinkle?


In Rev 7:14, John is shown a vision of the Redeemed of the ages who “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” KJV


Are you surrendering each and every morning when you awake, and as you walk and talk with Him throughout your day?  Because THIS is the means  by which you can be assured – you can be certain,  far beyond any question or doubt – that you will be among the Redeemed throughout all the ages, received by God, the Father, for all Eternity.  Have you ever wondered whether you’ll be accepted of God?  I often wondered whether God would accept me, before I found the following:


Ephesians 1:6 “… to the praise of the glory of His (God’s) grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”  NKJV  Now, who would be “the Beloved”?  That’s Jesus!  He is “the Beloved” of the Father, and we want to be found in Him!  In Jesus Christ, the Son, we have been accepted by our Heavenly Father.  Are you in Christ?  Are you His?  Will you receive Him as your very own? 

Our Heavenly Father has made our salvation so uncomplicated, so “do-able”, that anyone who has an earnest desire to live forever in God’s Kingdom can choose to surrender to Him, and can have the assurance  of citizenship throughout all Eternity in the Earth-Made-New.

Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape if we neglect such great salvation?”


Our Father in Heaven:  We ask you to give us the desire and the courage to yield wholly and totally to You, this very moment.  And to renew each day our surrender and our submission to Your guiding Spirit.   Help us to do the letting, as You do the doing of your will in and thru us.

Help us to take out the trash, and to get our priorities straight.  Let us partake of Your divine nature, that we might reflect Your thoughts, Your words, Your purposes.  Let us walk in all of Your counsel,  and honor You in all our ways, and seek your presence, moment by moment, as we await, and work earnestly to hasten, Your promised return to this judgment-bound world.

Come soon, Lord, we pray – come soon.  In the precious, worthy, holy name of our Master and Redeemer, Your Son, The Savior, Jesus Christ.   Amen.