The Intersection of Faith and Assurance
Jesus Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith in Him (Heb 12:2). He has begun a good work in us…us to whom He has given faith as a gift of His grace (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29). He will bring His work to its right and perfect conclusion (Phil 1:6). The gift of faith is given to God’s chosen people, so they might receive Christ with it (Jn 1:12–13). With assurance the believer says, “Christ loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20).”
Works-based religion has no assurance of salvation because there is a fear that assurance would cause the adherent to cease from works. The only basis for works-based religion is the good works of adherents, so the task of the priesthood is to keep adherents working toward justification. Blessed assurance is dissuaded, accompanied by the suggestion it is a perversion of the arrogant.
In Christianity, it was the Protestant Reformation that liberated believers to see their justification was by faith (Rom 3:28; 4:5; 5:1). Soon after, it was the Puritans who helped Protestants see that faith was integral to one’s sanctification. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time exercise; but rather, faith is the Christian’s life because Christ lives in him (Gal 2:20). The Christian examines himself, not for works, but for faith (2 Cor 13:5). You are to make your calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10).
It is wrong for an unbeliever to have any assurance, by the mere fact he does not have faith (2 Thess 3:2). If he does not have faith, it is because he does not have the Holy Spirit. The Christian has faith in the Son of God because of the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9, 11).
It is the Spirit who teaches the Christian the Word of truth (Jn 14:26; 17:17). It is the Word of truth, the Word of God that holds the promise of eternal life (Titus 1:2; 1 Jn 2:25). If one’s assurance is not based entirely on what God has said He will do, then there is a false assurance (Mt 7:21–23).
Whereas the legalist is prone to not have blessed assurance, it is the antinomian who possesses a false assurance. Christianity is not just receiving the gift of forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Eph 1:7), but it is a holistic life of holiness, in Christ, by grace (2 Cor 1:12; 7:1; Heb 12:10, 14)
The indwelling Spirit is at war with the believer’s flesh (Gal 5:17). The Spirit is willing to pursue holiness, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41). When sin wins the day, the believer’s only recourse is to repent to faith in Christ (Acts 5:31; 11:18). The Christian must remember who she is and her inseparable union with Christ (Jn 15; Rom 8:11), the holy One of God. She must put no confidence in her flesh (Phil 3:3), knowing that it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6).
Nothing bolsters one’s assurance of salvation better than re-igniting faith, by believing in God’s promises, brought to remembrance by the grace of His Spirit (Jn 14:26). Nothing speaks like the voice of Christ, and when He does, there is full assurance of faith (Heb 10:22). Assurance may waver because faith wavers, but God’s Word is eternal, unchanging, decreed from highest heaven.
Christ Jesus receives everyone who comes to Him (Mt 11:28; Jn 6:37). Ruined again by sin, today? Your response is always the same, “Call upon the name of the Lord, and you shall be delivered (Joel 2:32).” He deals graciously with you (Ps 116:7). His portion of forgiveness is based on the infinite value of Christ’s blood shed for you, Christian (1 Pet 1:19). Who can forgive sins but God? It is God the Father, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The chains of sin’s enslavement will be loosed as quickly as you were shackled.
Sin messes with your heart and your head. Your will staggers with every decision. You doubt. You fear a punishment that you have forgotten was laid upon the Lamb of God at Calvary (Jn 1:29; Rev 5:6, 12). Remember God’s mercies are new every morning, and every moment for those blessed with a contrite and broken spirit (Mt 5:6).
Assurance is mandatory for your salvation by Christ (Col 4:12; Heb 3:4; 6:11; 11:1; 1 Jn 3:19), alone, through faith, alone (Jas 1:6–7). It is as if the Spirit attends the crime scene of your sin and shouts, “Man, have faith!” Do not doubt. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). He is able to perform what He promised (Rom 4:21). The double-minded man gets nothing because salvation and confidence are inseparable (Ps 119:113; Jas 1:8). Have you said, “You are my God!” on better days? Say it again, today, and this day will become better, too.
What is the basis of your confidence? Love for you, Christian, was there before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5; Jer 31:3). God’s love was proven to you at the cross (Rom 5:8; Gal 2:20). When you were told of God’s love for you (1 Jn 3:1), you believed because His love had already been poured out in your heart (Rom 5:5). His love is perfected in us, giving us confidence for the Day of Judgment (1 Jn 4:17). You have a fountain flowing into rivers of living water (Jn 7:38), gushing from you in love for Christ, whom you have never seen (1 Pet 1:8).
Friend, there is only one word for you in this, “Flee to Christ!” He is your only hope.
Christian, remember God’s Word of promise (Lk 24:8). Meditate on truth night and day (Ps 1:2). His Word will revive you, as He shows you wondrous things in the Bible (Ps 119:18, 25, 50). Faith still comes, and comes again by hearing, and hearing always and only comes by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).
He has spoken, and it is written on the pages of Scripture that your only hope of assurance is Him (1 Tim 1:1), who causes you to remember His covenant (Ps 25:14). Child of God, behold your God, faithful and true (Rev 19:11). If assurance concerns you, be assured He will accomplish what concerns you (Ps 57:2; 138:8). That is certainly good news, and you know you believe it. He has given you every reason to believe Him and the faith to do that very thing.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 15, 2022