12. FALSE FOUNDATIONS
There is a very real danger that we might be building on false foundations.
12.1 Church membership
We might think that we have been saved because of our church membership. Paul writes to the church of God in Corinth (1 Cor 1:2), but unequivocally declares: "There are some who are ignorant of God." (1 Cor 15:34) Membership of a church is thus, in itself, no guarantee that we have been saved.
12.2 Good deeds
Some people believe that their good deeds will guarantee their salvation. The Bible clearly teaches that nobody is justified through observance of the law (Gal 2:16), for if that were possible, it would mean that Christ has died in vain. (Gal 2:21) Good deeds cannot save anybody.
We are saved in order to do good deeds, that have been prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10) and not because of our good deeds. (Cp. Luke 17:10) We are saved by God's grace, by faith; this salvation is not acquired by our own merit, it is a gift of God. (Cp. Eph 2:8,9)
12.3 A good life
Even a good life is no guarantee that we have been saved. We read of Cornelius: "He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly." (Acts 10:2) And yet he was not saved.
Of him Peter said: "He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved" (Acts 11:13,14); we know how this man came to be saved. (Acts 10:43,44) Cornelius, a person who had led an exemplary life, still had to be saved. A good life is evidently no guarantee that we are saved.
12.4 Answered prayers
Many people think that answered prayer is proof of their salvation. In the Psalms we read that one day the Lord answered the prayers of the Israelites, but also sent a wasting disease upon them. (Ps 106:15) The Lord answered the prayers of the demons in Legion by permitting them to go into the pigs (Mark 5:12,13), and yet we know that hell has been prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt 25:41) No, answered prayers do not guarantee that we have been saved.
12.5 The Lord helps me
People often build their salvation on the fact that God has helped them. "If it were not for the Lord, where would I be?" they say. But even that can not be regarded as a guarantee of our salvation. The Lord, for example, helped Saul to find his father's lost donkeys. The Lord helped him to become the king of Israel and to defeat their enemies, but how did King Saul die? He died as a person whom God had abandoned. The fact that the Lord helps us is therefore no guarantee that we have been saved. No, the message of the Bible is different.