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Posts Tagged ‘assurance of salvation’

“The biblical story lifts up before us a vision of God as our Lover. The gospel . . . sounds the voice of our Husband who has proven his love for us and who calls for our undivided love in return. The gospel reveals that, as we look out into the universe, ultimate reality is not cold, dark, blank space; ultimate reality is romance. There is a God above with love in his eyes for us and infinite joy to offer us, and he has set himself upon winning our hearts for himelf alone. The gospel tells the story of God’s pursuing, faithful, wounded, angry, overruling, transforming, triumphant love. And it calls us to answer him with a love which cleanses our lives of all spiritual whoredom.”

–Ray Ortlund, God’s Unfaithful Wife: A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Adultery, p. 173

Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “ ‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever.” (Jeremiah 3:12, ESV)

Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jeremiah 3:14, ESV)

“Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.” “Behold, we come to you, for you are the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 3:22, ESV)

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“Are you in depths and doubts, staggering and uncertain, not knowing what is your condition, nor whether you have any interest in the forgiveness that is of God? Are you tossed up and down between hopes and fears, and want peace, consolation and establishment? Why lie you upon your faces? Get up: watch, pray, fast, meditate, offer violence to your lusts and corruptions; fear not, startle not at their crying to be spared; press unto the throne of grace by prayer, supplications, importunities, restless requests— this is the way to take the kingdom of God. These are not peace, are not assurance, but they are part of the means God hath appointed for the attainment of them.”

John Owen, Exposition on Psalm 130

In other words,

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10, ESV)

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Puritan pastor Thomas Brooks reminds us “A lazy Christian shall always want [lack] four things: viz., comfort, content, confidence, and assurance. God hath made a separation between joy and idleness, between assurance and laziness; and, therefore, it is impossible for thee to bring these together that God hath put so far asunder.”

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Todd, Brian, and Bob discuss the issue of assurance of salvation.

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Andy Naselli provides an extended a lesser known, but very helpful book, by Don Whitney.

If you struggle with assurance regarding your salvation, you are not alone.  There’s help here.

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“Would I gather arguments for hoping that I shall never be cast away? Where shall I go to find them? Shall I look at my own graces and gifts? Shall I take comfort in my own faith, and love, and penitence, and zeal, and prayer? Shall I turn to my own heart, and say, “this same heart will never be false and cold”? Oh, no! God forbid! I will look at the cross of Christ. This is my grand argument. This is my main stay. I cannot think that He who went through such sufferings to redeem my soul, will let that soul perish after all, when it has once cast itself on Him. Oh, no! what Jesus paid for, Jesus will surely keep. He paid dearly for it. He will not let it easily be lost. He called me to Himself when I was a dark sinner: He will never forsake me after I have believed. When Satan tempts us to doubt whether Christ’s people will be kept from falling, we should tell Satan to look at the cross.”

J. C. Ryle, The Old Paths, p.256

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An excerpt from a book J. D. Greear will be  releasing with B&H Publishing on February 1, 2013 called Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You are Saved. (preorder page)

If you were honest, you’d probably admit there are moments when you do not feel “Christian” at all. Moments in which you care more about what’s coming on TV that night than you do the spread of the kingdom of God in the world. Moments in which you have fallen to that same old temptation for the thousandth time. Moments when God feels distant, almost like a stranger. Seasons in which your emotions for Him are lukewarm, if not downright cold. When you don’t jump out of bed in the morning hungry for His Word. When your mind wanders all over the place during prayer—that is, when you can bring yourself to pray. Moments when you’re not even sure you believe all this stuff.

Does that sound familiar to you? Times like that are familiar to me. Not all the time, not even most of the time, but certainly more often than I’d care to admit.

What do you do in that moment? Pray “the sinners’ prayer” again? Should I call my old church and have the pastor fill up the all-too-familiar baptismal?

The answer is to keep believing the gospel, to keep your hand on the head of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how we feel at any given moment, how encouraged or discouraged we feel about our spiritual progress, how hot or cold our love for Jesus, the answer is always the same—exercise faith in the gospel.

On your very best of days, you must rest all your hopes on God’s grace to you in Christ. On your worst of days, it should be your refuge and your boast. Your posture should always be one of dependence on it.

Many people assume the “feeling” of being saved indicates whether or not they actually are saved. Feelings, however, are fickle and dangerously misleading, and Scripture never points us to our “feelings” for assurance. Feelings come from assurance; they are not the basis for it. Assurance is based on the fact of Christ’s finished work; our “feelings” of being saved come from faith in that finished work.

“Feelings” are the fruit of faith, not the source of it. So don’t feel your way into your beliefs; believe your way into your feelings.

–J. D. Greear

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