I wanted to continue further than my last post into the subject of assurance and what we look to for that assurance. I think there is great confusion in this area and I hope that I can put down into words the thoughts as they are in my mind.
I think we must define the idea of having assurance in anything outside of our God given faith in the perfect merit of Christ. I am learning that words and how they are defined, not only to us by others but in scripture as well, is so important. One of the statements that prompted my thinking and posting on this subject was this statement: “You can have assurance by examining how closely you are walking with God” and I recoiled at that statement because the focus can be extremely defeating. What does that even mean and how do we gauge that walk? Ask yourself that question and see if you can come up with an answer that satisfies your longing soul and let me know what those answers are, won’t you?
Is it the things that we do, going to church, helping our neighbor or reading the Word, praying? Is it the dispositions of the heart, that we love the Lord, the Word of God, love the brethren and that we mourn and grieve sin? Perhaps it is because we have had a season of growth and can discern the work of the Holy Spirit in us? While these are great blessings to our souls from God and we rejoice in them for they are His work in us, I don’t believe we should look to them for our assurance.
What happens tomorrow if you ignore a neighbor or don’t read your bible? What if I stay home on Sunday to have a day of rest? How about if we struggle in forgiving at times because we truly don’t want to think more highly of the other, even though we are commanded to forgive seventy times seven? When we fail and sin, what can our assurance be in then? Have you ever had a dry season, where you don’t seemingly grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, don't grow in your love? What happens to your assurance then if it is in these things? Is it strengthened or does is it plummet and you begin to look to yourself and how you can have assurance again, all by doing something that will give you that subjective feeling of assurance. I think that is exactly how that works and I don’t believe that is the message of Scripture.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” – Isa 32:17
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” – Romans 5: 1
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” –Psalm 37:37
This is the assurance of scripture; it is the assurance of faith in the finished work of Christ, His work of righteousness, assurance that God has accepted His sacrifice in our stead and that His perfect righteousness has been imputed to us, that He looks upon us as fully righteous in His Son and He has peace with us. That truth alone will bring true assurance forever and peace to our souls.
I hope to continue to write occasionally, I am in the midst of a study on Grace right now, a study that has borne deeper understanding of this most glorious truth, the Truth of the Grace of God.