Thursday, September 13, 2012

Assurance of salvation

Returning to the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) This is what the confession says about Assurance of Grace and Salvation.

XVIII. Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation
1. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation(1) (which hope of theirs shall perish):(2) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace,(3) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.(4)
(1) Job 8:13-14; Micah 3:11; Deut. 29:19; John 8:41
(2) Matt. 7:22-23
(3) 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19,21, 24: 5:13
(4) Rom. 5:2,5

2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope;(1) but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation,(2) the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made,(3) the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God,(4) which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.(5)
(1) Heb. 6:11, 19
(2) Heb. 6:17-18
(3) 2 Pet. 1:4-5. 10-11; 1 John 2:3; 3:14; 2 Cor. 1:12
(4) Rom. 8:15-16
(5) Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:21-22

3. This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it;(1) yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto.(2) And therefore it is the duty of every one to give diligence to make his calling and election sure,(3) that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience,(4) the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.(5)
(1) 1 John 5:13; Isa. 1:10; Mark 9:24; Ps. 88; 77:1-12
(2) 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 John 4:13; Heb. 6:11-12; Eph. 3:17-19
(3) 2 Pet. 1:10
(4) Rom. 5:1-2, 5; 14:17; 15:13; Eph. 1:3-4; Ps. 4: 6-7; Ps. 119:32
(5) 1 John 2:1-2; Rom. 6:1-2; Titus 2:11-12, 14; 2 Cor. 7:1; Rom. 8:1, 12; 1 John 3:2-3; Ps. 130;4; 1 John 1:6-7

4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation in divers way shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light;(1) yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived;(2) and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.(3)
(1) Songs 5:2-3, 6; Ps.51:8, 12, 14; Eph. 4:30-31; Ps. 77:1-10; Matt. 26:69-72; Ps. 31:22; Ps. 88; Isa. 1:10
(2) 1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Job 13:15; Ps. 73:15; 51:8, 12; Isa. 1:10
(3) Micah 7:7-9; Jer. 32:40; Isa. 54: 7-10; Ps. 22:1; Ps. 88

The seriousness that the creeds and confessions hold toward the Word of God and therefore to God Himself is very evident when you read them. The same can be said about reading the Puritans and the Reformers. There is a seriousness there that is not found in the fluff that is presented by most preachers on television.
Its not to say that there are not great men gifted of God proclaiming the gospel today because there certainly is, for God always has a remnant, He always has faithful witnesses to the true gospel. There have always been counterfeits to the true gospel, the formulation of most of the creeds and confession came about to correct counterfeits, so that the Church could recognize error and hold fast to the faith that was delivered to the Church. God is serious, He warns each and every day, He strengthens His Church each and every day. His grace has saved us, His strong right arm keeps us, and His Spirit keeps the truth pure, so that His people will always have the Light of the gospel in the face of Jesus Christ. 

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