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

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

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).