"Love for God" is the first proof of salvation. But we need to pay careful attention to the way Scripture defines this "love." The world is full of counterfeits that will get us nowhere good in eternity... because it's not the God of the Bible that they lead us to.
Introduction to the "Proofs"
This series of "PROOFS of salvation" is introduced with a "countdown." In descending numerical order, we present: 4 things to watch out for; 3 types of responses; 2 ways to help each other; and 1 reminder about patience and effort.
Love for God
We need to first make a distinction between what the Bible says and the world's counterfeits. Then, based on the Bible, we can learn why it is proof. This presentation concludes by introducing three aspects of genuine love for God.
This aspect of genuine love is introduced half-way through the presentation. The first half of the presentation deals with three general issues related to this love: If we are saved, 1) this love will be in us, 2) it will grow in us, and 3) our responsibility to encourage this love goes beyond ourselves.
(A continuation of Aspect #1.) We need to love the God who reveals himself in the Bible, not a god of our own liking. Many church-goers downplay the "sovereignty" aspect of God, and go after a "god" that is "less than 100%" of what the Bible reveals as the true (100%) God. Yet when we throw away the "100% God," we throw away any basis for genuine assurance of salvation!
(A continuation of Aspect #1.) Why we need this emphasis, and how to respond when others don't have it.
(A continuation of Aspect #1.) This is a critical issue, if we're going to have genuine love for the genuine God of the Bible! This presentation examines a Scripture passage that offends many people. (They refuse to accept what God says about himself!)
(A continuation of Aspect #1.) "Half truth" in our concept of God results in "half truth" in our presentation of the gospel ("Good News") about salvation. Such a false gospel may result in "decisions," and an increase in "church membership"; but it doesn't result in an increase of saved people. [In churches that promote the false gospel, any genuine salvations are in spite of it, not because of it.]
(A continuation of Aspect #1.) Our concept of "God" and our values are interrelated. What we believe about God will influence what we believe about right and wrong (which does not always match what we claim we believe about right and wrong)... and this will influence our conduct. All this determines whether or not we have a legitimate basis for claiming (and knowing) we are saved.
God will be glorified in the future by all people - even by atheists (who will end their pretensions at that time). But we (God's people) want God to be glorified even now, and in our own lives. In this presentation, we look at the first of two ways we can do this: by our actions.
(A continuation of Aspect #2.) Today's focus is on glorifying God by our attitude - our values and choices. (Obviously, we can't totally separate attitude from action; but the one influences the other.)
It's not just "gratitude," but the motives we have when we express our gratitude. Is my gratitude because of "what I get"? Or is it because "God is worthy" of my gratitude, even when what he gives me isn't what I would have asked for?
Genuine love for God is totally foreign to sinners (which includes all of us); but God makes this love possible. We, the humans, must decide whether or not we are going to love God - and we will be held accountable for our choice.