Assurance

Most people in church’s today have very little assurance of their salvation.  For many years I was in the same boat.  I was constantly asking myself if  I had prayed enough, read my Bible enough, been at church often enough, etc.  I based my salvation upon those things instead of faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.  What it boils down to is that you and I cannot do anything to merit our salvation.  Our sinful fallen nature makes it impossible to “do” anything for God.

Psalm 3:7-8 (ESV) – Arise, O Lord!  Save me, O my God!  For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.  Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessings be on your people.

I used to read that and think that I could just arbitrarily call out to God and he would save me.  Yes, I do have to call out to God to be saved, just as everyone else does, but it is so easy to skip over the ramifications of verse 8 which states, “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessings be on your people.”  It is God who holds the blessing of salvation and he is the one that dispenses it to whomever He wills.

Oh, I hear the cries of anger that I would have the audacity to say that, but let me ask you something.  If I were to walk into a crowd of 100 people and choose 5 of them to give a gift of $100 to, who could say I was being unfair.  The money is mine (salvation belongs to the Lord) and I am free to choose who to give it too (your blessings be on your people).  God shares His common grace with everyone on the earth (see Matthew 5:45) which is way more than we rebels deserve, but his electing grace that calls us to salvation falls on those whom he has predestined before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-10) and is according to his purpose (Romans 8:28-30).

Because I know that He has chosen me, ripped the stubborn, rebellious, calloused heart out of me and replaced it with a heart that desires to serve Him, worship Him and acknowledge Him as Lord of all, I now have an assurance that comforts me instead of having the torment of wondering about it.

In that light, I would like to continue to share the posts of SlimJim from The Domain For Truth on Assurance.  Part 6, entitled “Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?” is the latest post, but I’ve placed links to the 5 prior posts as well.

Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?

Assurance of Salvation Part 5: Christians can Know that they are saved

Assurance of Salvation Part 4: Objections to Perseverance of the Saints

Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

Assurance of Salvation Part 2: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints.

Assurance of Salvation Part 1: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

And a big Uhrah! to SlimJim.  NavyChaplainPraysWithMarines

They Still Speak

Jonathan EdwardsHave you tasted and seen that the Lord is good?

Have you, when you have thus been emptied of yourself and weaned from this vain world, found a better good?

Have you had those discoveries of Christ, or that sense of his excellency or sufficiency and wonderful grace, that has refreshed and rejoiced your heart, and revived it as it were out of the dust, and caused hope and your comfort to spring forth like the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain?

Has there been light let into your soul, as the light of the sun pleasantly breaking forth out of the cloud after a dreadful storm, or as the sweet dawning of the light of the morning after long wandering in a dark night, or the bright and beautiful day star arising with refreshing beams?

Have you had that divine comfort that has seemed to heal your soul and put life and strength into you and given you peace after trouble and rest after labor and pain?

Have you tasted that spiritual food, that bread from heaven, that is so sweet and so satisfying, so much better than the richest earthly dainties?

Have you felt something of the divine comfort and peace, which can’t be expressed and which passes all understanding?

Have you tasted that in Christ that has turned the stream of your affections that way and filled you with longings after more of him?

–Jonathan Edwards, “Like Rain Upon Mown Grass,” in Works, Yale ed., 22:315

Our Ambassadorship

How is it possible that thousands upon thousands of people are bored with the church and pass it by?  Why did it come about that the cinema really is often more interesting, more exciting, more human and gripping than the church?  Can that really be only the fault of others and not ours as well?  The church was different once.  It used to be that the questions of life and death were resolved and decided here.  Why is this no longer so?

It is because we ourselves have made the church, and keep on making it, into something which it is not.  It is because we talk too much about false, trivial human things and ideas in the church and too little about God.  It is because we make the church into a playground for all sorts of feelings of ours, instead of a place where God’s Word is obediently received and believed.  It is because we prefer quiet and edification to the holy restlessness of the powerful Lord God, because we keep thinking we have God in our power instead of allowing God to have power over us, instead of recognizing that God is truth and that over against God the whole world is in the wrong.  It is because we like too much to talk and think about a cozy, comfortable God instead of letting ourselves be disturbed and disquieted by the presence of God – because in the end we ourselves do not want to believe that God is really here among us, right now, demanding that we hand ourselves over, in life and death, in heart and soul and body.  And finally, it is because we pastors keep talking too much about passing things, perhaps about whatever we ourselves have thought out or experienced, instead of knowing that we are no more than messengers of the great truth of the eternal Christ.

Every empire in this world sends out its ambassadors.  Their job is to give visible expression throughout the world t0 the will and the might of their empire.  They are not meant to be anything other than representatives, in this way, of their home empire and their ruler.  The German ambassador or the French ambassador is supposed to be the quintessential German or French person.  This has nothing to do with him or her as a person, but concerns only the person’s mission.  And in order to carry out their mission, ambassadors are vested with all the authority of their empire.  They speak and act on behalf of their ruler.

And so the unseen Lord of the eternal kingdom and the church sends out ambassadors into this world, giving them a mission that is greater than that of any other, just as heaven is greater than earth, and eternity is greater than time.  And the authority that this Lord gives these ambassadors is that much greater than all the authorities in this world.  God’s eternal Word, God’s eternal judgment, God’s justice and God’s grace, God’s anger and God’s mercy, salvation and damnation, reconciliation through Christ – these words are placed in the hands of the ambassadors of Christ as the most sacred and precious of goods, which they are called to administer through the grace of God.  They will be required to give a full account to Christ the Lord, the Shepherd of shepherds, for every word they have spoken in his name in his church; as the shepherds of the flock, they will have to carry the blame and the responsibility.  This is the ultimate meaning of the pastoral ministry!

–          Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Summer 1933