(I guess putting down my thoughts on this blog has become something I enjoy doing too much to leave behind so my away time wasn’t very long now, was it? :)
Wonder of Grace!
I have inverted my headings because although this is actually a chapter in HH’s book this is going to be my thoughts on the subject of assurance. It is the assurance that I truly do have a completed salvation in Christ, that I am justified in God’s sight, that my sins are forgiven and that when I die I will go to be with Him because I am accepted in the Beloved. I wanted to finish the posting on this great book, although there are other chapters, with these thoughts on this, our assurance, as it is very close to my heart. There are many differing thoughts on assurance; in fact I left a message at a blog the other day disagreeing with the author of the post, not to be contrary but to edify myself. I try to always be respectful when I disagree and try to not drag anything out into an unfruitful argument, nevertheless I do have thoughts on this matter and I believe they are scriptural.
The issue is always, what do I base my assurance on? Do I base it solely on Christ and His work on my behalf with the witness I have of that work in my heart by faith and of the Holy Spirit (“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” Romans 8:16) or do I subject my assurance to something that I do. Here is the crux of where it gets tricky because many want to tell me that I must look to something subjective to have assurance, that having objective assurance is dangerous. I think perhaps they assume that if my assurance is objective only I am antinomian and reject any notion of works in a believer, or so it seems, which of course is foolish. God has prepared works for the believer and we will walk in them. Did you know that the Roman Catholic Church calls assurance of salvation the ‘Sin of Presumption’ and has pronounced an anathema on anyone who says they have that assurance? It should be clear to us that if Christ is not all sufficient for our salvation but indeed that there are works whereby we can earn God’s favor and mercy, we would never have assurance. If you have ever sought assurance by your earnest and sincere labour in ‘your own efforts’ you know full well what I mean. Therein lies the answer to the age old dilemma, can I have assurance of my salvation? I think it depends on what or who you are looking to for the ground of that assurance first and foremost.
The Apostle Paul throughout his epistles has written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, great and abiding words of instruction and edification for us, words of comfort, words that bring us to the knowledge of who we look to for our assurance.
”Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” – 2 Ti 1:9
Paul tells us here who saved us and who called us and that it wasn’t according to our works but according to HIS own purpose and that this grace was given us in Christ before the world even began. It would logically follow to me that we have nothing to do with this great salvation, not according to our works Paul says. He tells us further in (verse 12) that he knows whom he has believed and is persuaded that this One he knows is able to keep that which has been committed unto Him. How do I know Him but by faith, and I believe by faith that what He is able to do is keep my soul and save me to the uttermost, unto the last day! So our assurance comes in what Christ has done and His keeping of us.
“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” – 1Pe 1:5
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” – 1Jn 5:10-13.
It is the presence of faith, the presence of belief that gives us assurance even when that faith is weak for it will never be perfect in this life. When we falter in that assurance we must still look to what Christ has done, to feast upon His Word, upon His promises. What a blessing that God, in His infinite mercy has given His children faith and by this faith we can have assurance in Him, assurance in His love and assurance that in Christ we have eternal life.
to be continued....