How Can We Have Assurance of Our Salvation?
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. - Hebrews 6:7-12, ESV
Sometimes it's a relief to hear reassurance after you've been set up to expect bad news. Many competition shows or reality shows are set up this way. Contestants are told: "The reality is that someone is going to have to go home tonight . . . Thankfully, that someone won't be you!"
"In your case, we feel sure of better things" - Those are nice words to hear after the sobering words of Hebrews 6:1-8. The original recipients of this letter had to breathe a deep sigh of relief when they first heard the words of verse 9. They had been chastised for not growing and warned about the reality of what happens to unfruitful professing believers who fall away. So the word "yet" had to bring real relief.
Would you like to know that same relief? Would you like to be able to say with some confidence, "Even those these things are true, yet I am sure of better things in my case"? That would be nice, right? But how is it possible?
The words of verses 7-12 give you three keys for confidence: spiritual fruitfulness, love for the saints and perseverance in zeal for the Lord. To the extent that you see spiritual fruit in your life - Christ-likeness cultivated by the Spirit manifesting in love, joy, peace, patience, etc. - and to the extent that you have real love for fellow believers and so you serve them in love, and also to the extent that you are pressing forward in faith and hope, then your assurance can be rightly strengthened.
What makes these three the keys? Because they are signs of life. If you belong to Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. His indwelling should be evident in growing fruitfulness, loving service to fellow believers, and perseverance in faith and hope. The key is growth and life, not perfection. In fact, appearing perfect can often be a sign of death painted with false colors to look alive. Growth involves struggle, failure, repentance, forgiveness, longing, etc.
So, do you love Jesus? Do you long to be more like Him? Does the sin in your life trouble you? Do you love the people of God and strive to serve them? Are you setting your hope on heaven and not on this life? If so, you, too, can feel sure of better things - things that belong to salvation, which can never be lost!