ASSURANCES

A CHANGED LIFE IS OUR ASSURANCE

“When I am born again the Spirit of God takes me right out of myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 21st).

“That grace which is but a persuasive offer and in our power to receive or refuse is not the grace which brings us to heaven.  But God’s people feel a powerful work of the Spirit, not only revealing to us our misery and deliverance through Christ, but emptying us of ourselves, as being redeemed from ourselves, and infusing new life into us, and afterwards strengthening us and quickening us…never leaving us till the conquest is perfect” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p117).

“This new being…is no outer thing, made up of showy moralities and benevolences…It is something deeper, and truer…It’s affinities are with the things above; its sympathies are divine; it sides with God in everything…The new man…produces righteousness and holiness through the power of the Holy Ghost…It is…a new standing or state, a new moral character, a new life, a new joy, a new work, a new hope…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p10-11).

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16 ESV).

“…true Biblical holiness…that which must be based firmly on a personal experience of the saving work of Christ on the cross, and maintained through the work of the Holy Spirit living in the individual believer…is not simply a matter of outward observance but is rather the whole Christian life, and finds practical expression in every area of day-to-day living” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, back cover).

NOTE: This changed life may not immediately produce all that is mentioned above.  This new life is a “progressive sanctification…a process of change…a way of ongoing transformation, not yet perfect, still failing, but always growing in faith and obedience” Paul David Tripp (ref#5, p340).

“Salvation is unfolded throughout our entire sojourn here.  We continue to repent and to believe, and even the process of our salvation continues as we are changed more and more into the image of our Lord” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p88-89).

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).

ASSURANCES

ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN

Our attitude toward sin gives us away as to our assurance of salvation.  Do we feel no more guilt when we sin?  Does GOD’s wrath no more come to mind?  Does the subject of sin produce peace?

“…peace, conscious peace…must be the consequence of our having ascertained, upon sure evidence, the forgiving love of God” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p30).  “…we shall be conscious of innumerable shortcomings, and shameful defilement; but these things will not break our peace, if our hearts are upright” John Newton (ref#322, p149).

“To be conscious of them, [defects and defilements] and humbled for them, is one of the surest marks of grace; and to be more deeply sensible of them than formerly, is the best evidence of growth in grace” John Newton (ref#322, p176, brackets mine).

“…the natural man…would…be pleased to know he should be saved at last, provided that while here he might live in his sins.  But the believer will not, cannot think himself blessed, unless he has likewise a conscience void of offence” John Newton (ref#322, p149).

“Under law and its curse, a man works for self and Satan; under grace he works for God. It is forgiveness that sets a man working for God.  He does not work in order to be forgiven, but because he has been forgiven, and the consciousness of his sin being pardoned makes him long more for its entire removal than ever he did before” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p43).

“It is a believer’s privilege to walk with God in the exercise of faith, and, by the power of his Spirit, to mortify the whole body of sin; to gain a growing victory over the world and self, and to make daily advances in conformity to the mind that was in Christ” John Newton (ref#322, p84).

ASSURANCES

SETTLED ASSURANCE

“The teaching of some…seems…to hinder assurance.  Assurance, say some, is impossible.  Not impossible, say others, but very hard to attainment…I do not see how my being thoroughly persuaded that a holy God loves me…and has forgiven me all my sins, has a tendency to evil…whereas uncertainty in this matter…bewilders me,…sets me striving to work my way into the favour of God…which can do nothing but keep me dreading and doubting all the days of my life, leaving me, perhaps, at the close, in hopeless darkness” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p36).

“…a clear, well-grounded, habitual persuasion of our acceptance in the Beloved is attainable…They are blessed, therefore, who have such views of the power, grace, and suitableness of Jesus, and the certainty and security of redemption in him, together with such a consciousness that they have anchored their hopes, and ventured their all, upon his person, work, and promise, as furnishes them with a ready answer to all the cavils of unbelief and Satan…”  John Newton (ref#322, p148).

“The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me.  Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 25th).

“The Gospel is designed to give us not only a peradventure or a probability, but a certainty both of our acceptance and our perseverance…” John Newton (ref#322, p153).

Who may lay just claim to Christ’s mercy?  “Only those that will take his yoke and count it a greater happiness to be under his government than to enjoy any liberty of the flesh…” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p80).

“…because he is sure the Lord does all things well.  Therefore his submission is not forced, but is an act of trust” John Newton (ref#322, p155).

“’I knew I was converted when religion stopped being a duty and became a delight,’” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p8).  “When we are so far satisfied with the government of Christ’s Spirit that we are willing to resign up ourselves to him in all things, then his kingdom is come to us, and our wills are brought to his will.  It is the bent of our wills that makes us good or ill” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p99).

ASSURANCES

CHECK YOURSELF AGAIN

 “To have grace, and to be sure we have grace…is heaven on this side of heaven.” Thomas Brooks

“Is your belief genuine?…You may be self-proclaimed among His people here on the earth, but you may have to taste of death when the Lord comes.  You may deceive them, but you cannot deceive Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34).

“Do not be too bold or too quick, you who say you are Christ’s.  Never be satisfied until you are absolutely sure.  The best way to be sure is to go again, just as you went at first, and seize eternal life through the power of the blessed Spirit and not by any strength of your own…Get alone with Jesus and…tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death….” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34-35).

“The divine order…is first pardon, then holiness; first peace with God, and then conformity to the image of …God….For…likeness to God is produced by beholding His glory (2 Cor 3:18), and as we cannot look upon Him till we know that He has ceased to condemn us, and as we cannot trust Him till we know that He is gracious; so we cannot be transformed into His image till we have received pardon at His hands.  Reconciliation is indispensable to resemblance; personal friendship must begin a holy life….first peace, then holiness—peace is the foundation of holiness…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p32).

“The evidence that believers are in Christ is that the power of sin has been broken in their lives by the work of the Holy Spirit” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2170, [Rom 8:2]).  “The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 23rd).

“Commit yourself totally into His hands, so that you may be as sure of your salvation as of your existence” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p95).

 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Rom 8:16 ESV).

ASSURANCES

YEAR-ENDING POST

Have you read all these “Assurance” posts and verified in your heart a “yes” answer though your actions sometimes don’t live up to your heart?  “Failings, with conflict, in sanctification should not weaken the peace of our justification and assurance of salvation” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p96).

Be encouraged for once GOD has chosen you you will not fall back into an unredeemed condition.  “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29 ESV).

“…we learn to stand by falls, and get strength by weakness discovered…We take deeper root by shaking….And…torches flame brighter by moving…When we are foiled, let us believe we shall overcome; when we have fallen, let us believe we shall rise again” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p95).

“So let us never give up, but, in our thoughts, knit the beginning, progress and end together, and then we shall see ourselves in heaven out of the reach of all enemies….Christ, who, as he is the author, so will he be the finisher, of our faith (Heb 12:2)” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p96).

 

NOTE:  I will probably continue “Assurance” posts into the start of next year because it hit home so much with me.  Us moral people—pew-sitters from infancy, need to beware!  Because we are respectable, moral, and basically good (humanity at its best), we can get along without peace and pardon that comes from the regeneration of GOD.

Blatant sinners and immoral ones who feel they are wretches know for certain when regeneration occurs, for GOD’s peace and pardon flood over them.  They musthave GOD!  Long-time pew-sitters are all too content with being respectable and workers of human-generated good. (ideas from “God’s Way of Holiness, by Horatius Bonar, ref#326, p33).

May GOD grant the regenerated, growth into His holiness in 2020.