I’m currently reading 3 books, of which one is “The Everlasting Righteousness” by Horatius Bonar. It is a wonderful read on exactly what the title says, our everlasting righteousness, Christ!
Isaiah 32:17 “And the work of righteousness shall be peace: and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever”.
In the middle of the book I received a good history lesson and I was dumbfounded at the true teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on the great doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone! A few quotes from the book:
“The Romanist held that a man is to believe in the mercy of God and the merits of Christ, but that this belief brought with it no assurance of justification; though possibly-if the man lived a very holy life-God might before he died reveal this grace to him and give him assurance.”
“The Council of Trent not only condemned assurance, they proclaimed it an accursed thing and pronounced an anathema against everyone who affirmed that justifying faith is ‘confidence in the mercy of God’. They denounced the man as a heretic who should hold ‘the confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins”
I think I will have to go find a copy on the internet of The Council of Trent and read this for myself for we know this teaching to be another gospel, faith + works, and oftentimes the reading of errors can establish and solidifie the truths that we have come to know through the Holy Spirit and the scriptures. In the meantime, what does the scripture tell us of our assurance?
In the epistles of the great Apostle Paul, the recurring theme is the pure and simple Gospel and his encouragement and admonitions to remain steadfast in what they have been taught. To the church at Colosse he reminds them of the very gospel he had taught them, that they knew the grace of God in truth (1:6), they were partakers of the inheritance of the Saints (1:12), delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of His Son (1:13), had redemption through His blood (1:14) and the forgiveness of sins (1:14). And he continues in chapter 2 to acknowledge all the truth that the saints are to understand and have assurance in.
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ”. (Col 2:2)
To the Thessalonians he wrote to give assurance to those Saints that he loved and had preached and taught the gospel too.
“Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Th 1:5)
The gospel comes in power, the power of the Holy Spirit to convert, the power to give faith, to enlighten from darkness to light, to remove a heart of stone and give a heart of flesh, to write laws upon our hearts, to have the hope of eternal life in Christ, this is power and we can rejoice that He gives us assurance by our believing, our faith of all the truth of His gospel of Grace, it is ours!