ASSURANCES

DO NOT PRESUME YOUR SALVATION

“Two criminals were crucified with Christ.  One was saved; do not despair.  One was not; do not presume.” Saint Augustine

“The faith of many among us is, after all, but an attempt to believe; their repentance but an attempt to repent; and, in so doing, they only use words which they have learned from others. It is not the love of holiness that actuates them, but (at best) the love of the love of holiness.  It is not the love of God that fills them, but the love of the love of God…They try to live like sons in order to make themselves sons, forgetting God’s simple plan for attaining sonship…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p46).

“…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12 ESV).  Religion complicates things, the more rules it makes up and lays on its people puts its followers further away from true Christianity than ever.  GOD says, “Only believe.”

“…true…religion is intensely personal.  It does not consist in the mere attachment to certain doctrines and opinions which were held by Christians in past generations, still less does it consist in belonging to a party.  Rather it is something which must be experienced in one’s own soul” John Newton (ref#322, p10).

“The dark and dishonourable thoughts of God…belonging to a natural state, are very different from the thoughts of your heart concerning him.  You do not conceive of him as a hard master, or think you could be more happy in…the observance of his precepts.  You do not prefer the world to his favour, or think you can please him, and make amends for your sins by an obedience of your own. These and such as these, are the thoughts of the natural heart…” John Newton (ref#322, p168).

How do you feel about the requirement to keep the Ten Commandments?  Do you begrudge the “having to follow them?”  Do you realize that GOD in His love, gave us  the Ten Commandments because by keeping them they will do us good?  They are a gift from GOD to appreciate, not a list to keep to keep in His good favor.  Checking our hearts often is vital to keeping ourselves continually in the assurance of our salvation.

This is why for over two years the subject of the blog: “Prayer Affair,” has been “Assurance of Salvation.”  It is a matter of life and death—life forever with GOD or death forever away from the presence of GOD.

ASSURANCES

THAT WE MAY KNOW

“This is the essence of the Christian life, that we might have the full knowledge of God and that we may know we have it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p638).

“…there are certain tests by which, if we apply them to ourselves, we may know that we have this knowledge of God.  The first is our belief concerning the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p641).

“True faith in Christ and His righteousness arises from the ruins of self-sufficiency and the death of personal excellency” James Hervey (ref#333, p274).

“Jesus Christ is absolutely essential to me….I have come to see my own unworthiness, my sinfulness, and my smallness.  I have seen it deeply and can do nothing to save myself.  How can I face God?  I have but one hope, and that is that God sent His Son” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p641).

“This leads me to the second test.  If I believe all that, I must of necessity come to love God…if I believe in the love of Jesus Christ, I believe that God sent Him.  So I believe on Him and in the love of God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p642).

“Then, thirdly…is the test of loving the brethren…men and women who are Christians will recognize other Christians…Love of the brethren is crucial!  These tests…if we apply them to ourselves we will know where we stand” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p643).

“…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed…” (2 Tim 1:12 ESV).

“Every Christian is meant to have this certain knowledge of eternal life, this immediate fellowship and communion with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p639).

“I have the assurance…that if I have eternal life, I shall stand one day faultless and blameless, without spot and blemish, in the presence of God’s glory. So as I meet temptation and sin in this world, I realize that I am not left to myself.  I cease to feel helpless and frustrated.  I say, ‘If God is in me, if God has destined me for that, then He will come and hold me through all hell and the devils be opposed to me’” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p654).

Certainly the above quote portrays the necessity of knowing we have eternal life.  Otherwise we will never recognize we can lean entirely on GOD to help us through the catastrophes of life.

ASSURANCES

BELIEVE

“…believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 ESV).

“…someone may say, ‘You exhort us to believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.  Why should we?  On what grounds?’  The first answer is, the nature of the evidence.…there is objective, external evidence provided for us….We have the evidence from the baptism, the evidence of the death on the cross and the Day of Pentecost, and the subsequent evidence of the events of the Church…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p632).

“This is not a philosophy. This is not something that man thinks….the reason for believing this message is that it is the witness and testimony of God Himself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p632).

“…in addition to the external evidence there is also the subjective or internal evidence…the Holy Spirit…gives…internal certitude” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p633).

“God assures us of our sonship not by some unusual gift or some peculiar sign but by the quiet, persuasive witness of His Spirit as we talk to Him and walk with Him.” Alistar Begg

 “’He that believeth on the Son of God…’ Such a person has abandoned himself to Him.  He has surrendered to Him….I am under the wrath of God.  I am a doomed, guilty, foul sinner, and there He is—the one who can deliver me.  So I cast myself upon Him…you can only believe on the Son of God on your knees. You may not realize the full implications of the statement, but you hand over your whole life into the strong arms of the Son of God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p635).

“…first I must believe because God is the witness; and if I do, then I shall have the witness of the Spirit within myself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p635).

ASSURANCES

REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION

“May God give us grace that we may not make a mistake in learning…of godliness…We should learn early the difference between grace and merit, between the purpose of God and the will of man, between trust in God and confidence in the flesh” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p78).

“The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but bids us live by that which another has done; and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labour but rest—rest of soul—rest which is the root of all true labour; for in receiving Christ we do not work, in order to rest, but we rest in order to work.  In believing, we cease to work for pardon, in order that we may work from it…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p25).

“…commands…will no longer come to you as a law standing outside and against you, but as the living power which has transformed your will into perfect harmony with all your Lord requires” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p157).

To become a Christian it takes nothing but complete submission—letting GOD take over our life.  It is doing nothing—throwing away all our good works, or bad works—throwing away all our “doing.” We must resign ourselves to letting GOD do what He wants with us.  Remain contrite before Him and He will instantly change us into new people who will do all that He wishes we do.  The moment His commands become the slightest burdensome it is because we have put ourselves back in rule of ourselves and ceased to submit completely to Him.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us…” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

“The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God.  Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p36-37).

“…we are in the Lord vitally and certainly when we come to the Lord Jesus by repentance and faith and make Him our refuge and hiding place” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p79).

“If you now feel your need of a Savior, that is the beginning of the new nature” Charles Spurgeon (ref#320, p32).

“The plan of salvation is simple.  Trust Christ, and you are saved. Rely upon Him, and you will live.  This faith is the gift of God, but remember…God does not believe for you; the Holy Spirit does not believe for you; you must believe, or else you will be lost” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p39).

ASSURANCES

MARKS OF THE TRUE CHRISTIAN

“The man from whom the old life has gone out, and into whom the new life has come, is still the same individual.  The same being that was once ‘under law’ is not ‘under grace.’  His features and limbs are still the same; his intellect, imagination, capacities, and responsibilities are still the same” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p9).

“…one who is ‘risen with Christ’ ought to be like the Risen One.  He will be expected to be meek and lowly, gentle and loving, simple and frank, kind and obliging, liberal and generous, not easily provoked or affronted, transparent and honest, not selfish, narrow, covetous, conceited, worldly, unwilling to be taught” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p77).

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God…’if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:9-21 ESV).

ASSURANACES

A SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE

“The New Testament says that when we receive the gift of eternal life a new man comes into us, so that we are now two men, and the two are different and contrary—the spirit and the flesh—and there is a struggle and a conflict.  Now those who are aware of that, who though they sin and fail are aware of the fact that there are these two men in them, that there is a struggle between the two—these people have given proof positive that they have received the gift of eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).

However, don’t be too fast to assume you have eternal life if you have conflicts within.  The natural man has conflicts with himself. These struggles are not “spiritual struggles.”

“There is no spiritual struggle in the life of unbelievers.  There may be a moral struggle, there may be a struggle to live up to a certain code that they have set up, they may struggle to do certain things and if they do not achieve them they are ashamed of themselves…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).

This caution is particularly applied to us who have grown up in the church.  For we see a moral standard in the ones we worship with and can assume it is accomplished by purely human effort.  And so with only our natural man we strive to live morally—and struggle within ourselves if we don’t.  A “spiritual struggle” is defined in the next paragraph.

“If you feel that you are empty, if you feel you are nothing, if you feel you are poor and wretched and blind, if you hate your inclination to sin and have any suspicion of a feeling of self-loathing and hatred…you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p653).

Let us check our spirits; let us compare a “moral struggle” with a “spiritual struggle” by rereading the above paragraphs.  If you feel you are living life in a “moral struggle” then pay close attention to the next paragraph.

“Tell God that you are not certain, that you do not know, and that you desire that knowledge above all else.  And ask Him, by His Holy Spirit, to enable you to see your true helplessness, and ask Him to give you the gift.  I assure you that if you do, He will not reject you, because He has said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).  If you have not possessed this, ask Him, believing His own promise, and I assure you that He will answer your prayer.  He will give you the gift, and you will know you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p644).

ASSURANCES

JOY COMES WITH SALVATION

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”(Ps 16:11 ESV).

“The exercises of religion…do yield the highest pleasure and delight to souls possessed with divine love…they have placed themselves in the presence of God…they delight to adore his perfections and recount his favours…and tell him a thousand times that they love him, to lay their troubles or wants before him, and disburden their hearts in his bosom” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p79-80).

 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10 ESV).

“…to feel a liberty of pouring out our hearts before the Lord, to behold some glances of his goodness passing before us…by beholding his glory, to be conformed more and more to his image, and to renew our strength by drawing water out of the wells of salvation—herein is blessedness” John Newton (ref#322, p150).

“For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Ps 92:4 ESV).

“…we may rejoice in his all-sufficiency as our own…in consequences of this, a peaceful, humble submission to his will, under all events which, upon their first impression, are contrary to our own views and desires” John Newton (ref#322, p151).

 “Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed on earth, that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment” (Job 20:4-5 ESV).

“…your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jer 15:16 ESV).

“Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Peter 1:8 ESV).

ASSURANCES

OVERCOMING THE WORLD

“…people who are truly Christians are those who overcome the world.  They rise above it; they conquer it.  They are in the world, but no longer of it….They may fall into sin, but they do not dally in it…They have been delivered out of this evil world, having been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p643).

“ “…Christians…view the world in an entirely new manner.  They see that it is governed by sin.  They have come to regard it as a place in which evil forces are at work…They know that it is something they have to fight, something to withstand, and they realize that unless they do so they will be defeated by it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p642).

“If a Christian have Christ’s heart…He will give him…His power to help him to overcome the strong enemies that meet him in the way…” Andrew Gray (ref#333 p223).

“We are bound to rejoice in God, and that always, even in tribulation; which no understanding can conceive to be possible, unless the soul be assured of life eternal” Edward Leigh (ref#333, p174).

“Our faith is not true unless it enables us to appear calmly in the presence of God” John Calvin (ref#333, p89).

“The only thing we have really to be afraid of, is fearing anything more than God” Gregory of Nazianzum (ref#333, p24).

“It is a fearful thing to come to a deathbed with a religion so feeble as to leave the poor soul in dreadful doubt as to its state” John Angell (ref#333, p335).

ASSURANCES

SPIRIT CHECK

“O soul, of all the false signs of grace, none more dangerous than those that most resemble true ones, and never doth the devil more surely destroy than when transformed into an angel of light” John Flavel (ref#333, p211).

The matter of life after earthly death is not only the most important subject to embrace but we must be aware that the temporary ruler of the earth will do everything in his power to keep us from fellowship with the eternal Ruler of all.  We need to continually check our spirit to see if we are walking with the eternal Spirit.

Do your deeds prove you know GOD?

“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works…” (Titus 1:16 ESV).

 

Do you have the evidence of serving GOD by obeying His will?

“No man…can have any evidence that he is a servant of Christ any further than he obeys the will of Christ” (Edward Payson, ref#333, p328).

 

Are you committing habitual sins?

“Habitual unholiness is a stronger proof that a man’s hopes, whatever they be, do not rest on the faith of the truth…” (Dr. John Brown, ref#333, p329).

 

Do you daily embrace the fact that you are a sinner and repent?

“They only do account it an easy thing to believe in Christ, who never were acquainted with themselves” (Thomas Shepherd, ref#333, p253).

 

Do you have an “experience” or a “feeling” you are saved?

“There are those who seem to be in trouble about…whether they have eternal life or not, because they will persist in thinking of it in terms of experience, or in terms of feeling…” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ref#332, p648).

 

Am I interested in CHRIST? Do I think of Him often?

“Doubts of a personal interest in Christ are evidences either of little faith or of no faith” (Robert Haldane, ref#333, p313).

 

“It is better for a man to be silent, and be a Christian, than to say he is, and not to be” (Ignatius, ref#333, p4).

ASSURANCES

CHANGED DISPOSITION

“…believing on Jesus Christ is no work, but a resting on Jesus Christ” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p24).

“Those that are under Christ’s government have the spirit of revelation, whereby they see and feel a divine power sweetly and strongly enabling them to preserve faith when they feel the contrary, and hope in a state which is hopeless, and love to God under signs of his displeasure, and heavenly-mindedness in the midst of worldly affairs and allurements which draw a contrary way.  They feel a power preserving patience, nay joy, in the midst of causes of mourning, inward peace in the midst of assaults.  Whence is it that, when assaulted with temptation and compassed with troubles, we have stood firm, but from a secret strength upholding us?…we know where to obtain this power, and to whom to return the praise of it” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p116).

“Love, basically, is love of God: ‘a delightful and affectionate sense of the divine perfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as in fellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer anything for his sake, or at his pleasure…” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p10).

“The man who knows that he is risen with Christ, and has set his affection on things above, will be a just, trusty, ingenuous, unselfish, truthful man.  “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8 ESV). …these he will think upon and do” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p80).

“…when he is neither communing with his Lord, nor acting for him, he accounts his time lost, and is ashamed and grieved.  The truth of his love is manifested by submission” John Newton (ref#322, p155).