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

SPIRIT CHECK

A good way to assure you are truly redeemed is to check yourself with the “Parable of the Sower.”

“…Behold, a sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it” (Mark 4:3-4 ESV).

“…there are some hearers of the Gospel…who hear sermons, but pay no attention to them….they are taken up with thinking of other things….It produces no more effect on them than water on a stone.  And at the end they go away, knowing no more than when they came in.  There are myriads of professing Christians in this state of soul…in this state they…are lost for ever in hell” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. 1, Mark, p63-64).

“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil” (Mark 4:5 ESV).

“These are they on whom preaching produces temporary impressions, but no deep, lasting, and abiding effect….They are not careless and inattentive hearers… therefore tempted to think well of their own condition.  They…therefore flatter themselves they must have grace in their hearts….And yet they are thoroughly deceived.…There is no real work of conversion in their inward man….they are actually on the high road to destruction” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. 1, Mark, p64-65).

“Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain” (Mark 4:7 ESV).

“These are they who attend to the preaching of Christ’s truth, and to a certain extent obey it. Their understanding assents to it. Their judgment approves of it. Their conscience is affected by it. Their affections are in favor of it….But…they stop short….They never come up to the full standard of New Testament Christianity….Without a decided change they will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Christ will have all our hearts” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. 1, Mark, p64-65).

“And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up…and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:8 ESV).

“These…really receive Christ’s truth into…their hearts, believe it implicitly, and obey it thoroughly.  In these the fruits of that truth will be seen…Sin will be truly hated, mourned over, resisted, and renounced.  Christ will be truly loved, trusted in, followed…and obeyed….There will always be visible repentance, visible faith in Christ, and visible holiness of life” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. 1, Mark, p66-67).

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

CHRIST’S ACCUSATIONS

We will not understand or rest in the assurance of GOD’s salvation if first we do not examine our motives and actions.  Actually, we must examine the motives for our actions.

For all of us who have labeled ourselves “Christians,” naturally set about fitting ourselves into that role. We default to making an effort to be “good Christians.”

We are concerned about that because of the natural pride in us.  Thus we make every effort to prove to others and ourselves that we are preforming the activities of a Christian.

Unfortunately little is discussed from our pulpits about “…unspiritual preoccupation with outward forms and ceremonies, while neglecting utterly the great moral verities of true religion” James Coffman (Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, “Commentary on Luke 11:42”).

As I read the gospels I am stopped by CHRIST’s forcible language that condemn His listeners.  Why does He provoke?  The answer comes quickly to mind.

We easily slide into our natural mode described above.  Therefore, we must hear language that condemns.  We must have an accusing finger pointed at us telling us we are not on the Christian path we thought we were on.   To move toward Christianity and the peace of knowing we have the assurance from GOD that we are His we must, before anything else, recognize our sin. And that is the sin of being actors—acting like we are Christians but are not.

CHRIST’s convicting words: “…you…outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt 23:28 ESV).  “A man may appear clean without, who is unclean within; but outward purity will not avail in the sight of God, where inward holiness is wanting” Adam Clarke (The Adam Clarke Commentary, “Commentary on Matthew 23:25”).

We must check ourselves: do we make the decision of what good works we do—do we decide on them because we believe we have the ability to accomplish them successfully?  This is sin; we are operating with our born-with natural abilities.

“…the things done…may be good and godly…but if they are not undertaken in a spirit of complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, then the flesh is the source of all…Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh.  Whatever one decides according to his pleasure in lieu of seeking the will of God emanates from the flesh….” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

If these words convict you, repent and ask GOD to change your heart.  Only a renewed heart can override the flesh, for flesh “never has the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

ASSURANCES

FALSE HOPE OF SALVATION

“…let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12 ESV).

“It is better to have no repentance than a repentance that needs to be repented of.  It is better to have no faith than a false faith.  It is better to make no profession of belief than to make an untruthful one” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p77-78).

“I fear there are some who secretly think, ‘Everything is now complete.  I have experienced the necessary change; I have been to see the elders and the pastor; I have been baptized and received into the church. Thus, everything with me is right forever.’  That is a false view of your condition” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p88).

“It is a very good thing for Christians to be in the church.  However, if you are in the church before you are ‘in the Lord,’ you are out of place.  It is a good thing to be engaged in holy work.  But, if you are doing holy work before you are ‘in the Lord,’ you will have no heart for it, and neither will the Lord accept it” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p78).

“…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom 10:2-3 ESV).

“…they failed to submit to God’s righteousness and instead attempted to be righteous before God on the basis of their own works” ESV Study Bible(ref#125, p2174, [Rom 10:3]).

“…zeal and sincerity does not lead them to salvation….many sincere, ‘religious’ people are wrong in their beliefs” ESV Study Bible(ref#125, p2174, [Rom 10:2]).

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.

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?