[Papercut Press Publishing]  Devotional - 98-03-03 - Assurance of Faith

1 John 3:14, We know that we have gone from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

The general response to the devotional on Monday 3-2-98, have been questions regarding assurance of faith. If I could sum up generally they go something like this, "Yes, I understand the gospel, but I've done some really bad things and I don't understand how Jesus could pardon someone like me, or even if He can, why would He?"

A question such as this is very perceptive. Such a question understands the great evil that sin is. Sin is sinful and while we count some sins as greater sins than others because of the effects they cause on others, God treats all sin the same way, sin is a malfunction. In fact, James 2:10 is a chilling verse for us all, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet trips over one point, he has become answerable of all points." So on the issue of assurance, no matter how good, or how bad any of us have been, we are all in the same boat. Anyone who has transgressed one part of the law, has become guilty of all parts of the law.

The gospel promises that if we trust in Christ and His saving work of atonement we can be assured that He will forgive us. The greatest word in the gospel of salvation is "whosoever". Whosoever will come to Christ in repentance and faith, will not be rejected, but rather forgiven and accepted as sons and daughters of God.

There are three helpful elements when thinking about assurance of faith.

  1. The promises of God We should make a diligent study of the Bible and the promises of forgiveness and salvation. Get out a concordance and start making a list of what the Bible says on these words and related words and you will be amazed. The free promises of God are the foundation of our faith. (2 Corinthians 1:20, Hebrews 6:18) The promises of God are not only sure, but also unconditional. Isaiah 54:10

  2. The witness of the Holy Spirit The promises of God are not seen in their fullness until they are opened by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:16, 1 Corinthians 2:12) The Holy Spirit is clearly set before us in Scripture as a witness, witnessing to the truth of Christ and His saving work. Louis Berkhof says, "The Spirit of God testifies continually by his indwelling in the hearts of those that fear the Lord...He opens the eye of faith to the beauty and glory of the promises of God, illumines the mind so that their spiritual import is understood, and fills the heart with a sense of their appropriateness for lost sinners."

  3. The testimony of Christian Graces If the believer finds that his life has been transformed and that a change has taken place in his life as a result of coming to faith in Christ, he may naturally conclude that he belongs to the household of faith. 1 John 3:14, 19, 2 Peter 1:3-11

Soli Deo Gloria,
Tim