On this episode of Theology Gals Coleen and Ashley discuss assurance. Can we have assurance and what is is the basis of our assurance?
Join us next week when we have a very special guest to talk about Covenant Theology.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1]
1.Can a Christian have assurance?
We can and should have assurance
One of the problems is in our attempt at assurance we look to ourselves for it, instead of Christ. One thing which came out of the reformation was law/gospel distinctions, understanding the difference between justification and sanctification. There's a tendency for people to look to the law for their assurance instead of the gospel. While our growth in obedience may strengthen our assurance, it is not the ground of it.
“The Gospel is for Christians too.” Rod Rosenbladt
Dr. R Scott Clark
“The fruit of faith strengthens our assurance but it is not the basis of it. The sole basis/ground of assurance is Christ’s righteousness for us and his unshakable promises to us.
“To refuse to have assurance on the ground that one is not sufficiently sanctified is a form of unbelief. Stop it. Repent of it. Of course you are not sanctified enough! You’re a wretch. Jesus didn’t obey and die for nice, sanctified people. He obeyed and died for you and me.
“Will your assurance always be perfect and equally strong? No. The Westminster Confession ch 14 deals with that question brilliantly. Our assurance ebbs and flows. We learn more and more to stop looking at ourselves — just as we learn to stop looking at garbage heaps — and we learn more and more to look at Christ and his promises.”
Can I Have Assurance by R Scott Clark
Westminster Confession 14 & 18
2. Assurance is based ultimately on God's promises and not our own experience or performance:
Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Galations 2:16 Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
3.God gives us Evidences of Salvation which can strengthen our assurance
Romans 5:1&2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
One way we know we're Christians is because of our faith in Christ.
What is true faith?
“True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.”
John Calvin, Inst., 3.2.7.
“Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”