CREATION

GOD’S PURPOSE IN CREATION

“…this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible,…” (John 3:5-6 MSG).

GOD created.  “God’s purpose for the earth is that it should become his dwelling place; it is not simply made to house his creatures….The concept of the earth as a divine sanctuary…runs throughout the whole Bible…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p52, [Gen 2:1-3]).

Scripture exudes GOD’s passion to live with His creatures.  He chose a nation and poured His blessings upon them.  To announce to the whole world His love for His people He provided supernatural acts to save and keep them (Example: the plagues of Egypt.)

He sent another cluster of supernatural acts to the world when He sent His Son to earth.  He constantly keeps His chosen as a holy people to Himself (Deut 28:9) though we are obstinate and rebellious.

 “In all their affliction he was afflicted…in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;  he lifted them up and carried them…”(Isa 63:9 ESV)

We are in a special and in a peculiar relationship to GOD.  We are His people.  “…We have no being, we have no existence apart from our relationship to God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#265, p 282-283).

“…They will call upon my name,   and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’;  and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’”(Zech 13:9 ESV).

“This blessing finds fulfillment in the church…but it finds its greatest fulfillment in the new heaven and new earth…” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p520).  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’”(Rev 21:3 ESV).  “…we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

FATHER, For no other reason than Your love do You care for and desire to be close to the created creatures You have chosen. Such a fact elicits my praise to You.

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

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.

 

Can I tell my actions are becoming more like CHRIST?

“…there is no legitimate separation between belief and behavior.  Thus, those who profess faith but do not demonstrate any progress in godliness should question their spiritual state” (The ESV Study Bible, ref#125, p2322)

 

Are you saved by feeling you are, or by believing you are?

“…the New Testament does not insist upon feeling.  It says, do you believe; are you prepared to venture your all upon this?  So it is sufficient for you to say, ‘I live by this; whether I feel or whether I do not does not matter; we are not saved by feeling but by believing’” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ref#332, p649).

 

Does the Bible influence you to change your ways?

“If there is one fact, or doctrine, or promise in the Bible, which has produced no practical effect upon your temper or conduct, be assured that you do not truly believe it” (Edward Payson, ref#333, p327).

 

Does thoughts of your salvation give you peace?

“Is not the doctrine of the assurance of salvation a most comfortable doctrine?…except a man be persuaded of the favour of God, and the forgiveness of sins, and consequently of his salvation, what comfort can he have in anything” (Arthur Dent, ref#333, p109)?

 

Will I persevere?—failure to do so proves I am not converted.

“…If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him…” (2 Tim 2:11-12 ESV).

 

Am I looking forward to living forever with JESUS?

“Those who have eternal life want more of it” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ref#332, p643).

 

“…men without Christ are guiltily ignorant of God, perverse more or less in their thoughts of Him, self-idolizers even in their outward worship of Him, and strangers to His friendship” (J.I. Packer, ref#312, p61).

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).

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

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

JOY

“We may know, and should know, that we are in a relationship to God and that we possess His life…We must not rest until we have full and certain assurance, confidence, and jubilation.…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 17th).

“Jubilation”—this is what gives us Christians away—we are distinct because of our joy.  It stands above all the other questions to which we have answered “yes” over these past two years on this blog site.

On May 23, 2018 I posted this question: “Do I experience a fullness of joy in GOD’s presence” (Ps 16:11)? Tim McGee, a good blogging friend commented: “Today’s question about joy in GOD’s presence is all-encompassing of the others, I think.  If not experiencing that joy, have I truly put myself in the presence of God?”

FATHER, this joy is my most precious commodity.  It is my goal, and I need Your help to attain it.  Oh, may I strive to experience it in all circumstances—ALL!  I know in my head that this joy is an inner joy—one that is eternal and has no ending to it for it is completely of You.  It does not depend on earthly circumstances; instead, it looks to You in hope.  Please, LORD, motivate my heart to find joy in everything that comes my way.

Isaiah the prophet revealed JESUS’ hope in You: “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied…” (Isa 53:11 ESV).

“…Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (Heb 12:2 ESV).

I remind all my blogging friends in closing out these two years of “Assurances” blogs:

“…neither…things present nor things to come…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39 ESV). Does that not bring us constant, inexpressible joy?

ASSURANCES

TEST OF RELATIONSHIP

“…prayer!  If there is a single exercise of the soul that places the fact of its regeneration beyond a doubt, it is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd).

“…Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?  And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance”(Gal 4:4-7 MSG).

“…the thing the saint wants to know above everything else is that all is well between his soul and the Father….He likes to maintain the contact and communion, to assure his heart before God and in the presence of God….that the contact is unbroken…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 1st).

“…we are in communion with Christ, we have proof sufficiently clear and strong that we are written in the Book of Life….he admitted us to sure communion with himself, when, by the preaching of the gospel, he declared that he was given us by the Father, to be ours with all his blessings (Rom 8:32)” John Calvin (ref#113, p641).

Prayer is going to You, FATHER often to test the relationship.  It’s vital to make sure of Your willingness and readiness to help.  I am doomed if the relationship is severed.

ASSURANCES

DESIRING TO GET NEARER TO JESUS

…HEAVENLY FATHER, an evidence of my salvation is a desire to know You better and to draw closer to You (ref#189, Nov 29th).  I not only want to be with You, but I must actually do something, too.  All the promises of GOD I must claim in faith.

Let me ask myself, “Am I growing in holiness?  Am I always attempting to purify myself as CHRIST is pure (1 John 3:3)?”

“If true conversion involves fleeing from our evil desires and corruptions and devoting ourselves obediently to God, it should be our regular practice to examine ourselves to make sure that, by God’s grace, we have indeed done these very things” John Calvin (ref#164, May 7th).

“Is one of the greatest ambitions of your life to draw closer to Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 30th)?