When I was a child I’d wrestle with my best friend sometimes who would give me something then want to take it back. When I first heard the term “Indian giver” I had enough experience to know what that meant. The term is probably not used anymore, or at least I don’t hear it like I did when I was growing up. Yet it’s still in the dictionary and Merriam Webster defines it as “a person who gives something to another and then takes it back or expects an equivalent in return.” It had its origin, according to Webster, around 1848. I always thought that Indians were the ones who would give and then want to take back, but it’s most likely referring to the treaties America made with the various Indian tribes giving them certain land and then deciding to take the land back. (I’m not sure of any of this!)

You might not know that the word for “grace” and the word for “gift” are from the same Greek root word. When Paul tells the Ephesians that “you are saved by grace” he means that it is a free gift. Paul tells the Romans in Romans 6:23, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I’ve spoken to people who have accepted Jesus into their lives, but still struggle with doubts. They are searching for assurance of their salvation. How can I know for certain that I’m saved. I always use the same verse when I speak to people about assurance. It’s 1 John 5:13 which says, “I’ve written these things to you who believe in Jesus Christ, so that you will know for certain that you have everlasting life.”

The Bible teaches that every believer is eternally secure. However, it’s possible to be saved but still struggle with assurance of that salvation. J. V. McGee differentiates between eternal security and assurance. He writes, “…they are two sides of the same subject. It’s like two sides of a door. Eternal security is the exterior—that’s the outside of the door. Assurance is the inside of the door, and that’s internal. Eternal security is objective—it depends on that which is on the outside of us. It doesn’t depend on anything inside of us. Assurance depends on the inside. It is subjective. Eternal security is not an experience at all. Assurance is experienced. And eternal security is theological, while assurance is psychological.” Assurance is experienced when we take God totally at His Word. He will never renege on His promises. The objective truth of the Bible becomes the subjective experience of the believer and we learn to rest comfortably in God’s promises.

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29