||2018-08-07 21:01:32, 조회 : 21, 추천 : 0
| Can I Be Sure I’m Saved?|
Gaining True Assurance
Last week we discussed what is false assurance and the root of false assurance. We learned that two ways a person can have a false assurance is 1) universalism 2) legalism 3) sacerdotalism. Universalism suggests that as long as you die, you can go to heaven. Legalism says that your own good works can help you obtain salvation. Sacerdotalism says that as long as you participate in sacraments like baptism or the Lord’s supper, you can go to heaven. Today, we will discuss what then is “true assurance” and how do we obtain true assurance.
When we talk about assurance, immediately many people get nervous and anxious. For some reason, saying that you have assurance depicts you as a person that is arrogant. Therefore, not saying you have assurance seems like a better option. Saying you have assurance but not really having it is indeed a arrogant thing to say. What if you do have assurance, is it permissible to say this? Often times, assurance is viewed as a “vice.” A vice is considered to be an evil habit or immoral practice. Interestingly, many theologians are divided about this matter of assurance and some even consider this to be a vice.
Let us first look towards the Bible to see what it has to say about this matter. In Peter 1:10–11 it states, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter mandates for us to be “sure” in our calling and election. It commands us to be diligent to achieve this. He also addresses the “elect exiles” in 1 Peter 1:1 and stresses the definition of “election” and why it is important.
How can we be sure that we are elected? This is a persistent question asked by infant and mature Christians alike. Due to this question, many Christians may lose sleep and even confidence in their faith. If we are not elected, we know our eternal destination. Therefore, knowing that you are elect will bring you comfort in our daily life and when we are going through afflictions. Thus, this question should be answered by every Christian at some point in their life.
In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul writes, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”Apostle Paul writes about his own future and how his knowledge brings him assurance. However, he doesn’t put his faith onto his own knowing, but on God. This echoes what Peter was saying when he urges Christians to be sure in their election.
If Peter asks us to make our election sure, then we are able to gain assurance. We shouldn’t hinder in this process, but be diligent in obtaining it. Some people are divided about this matter. There are those that believe salvation is achieved by exercising working faith. In this way, salvation precedes election. It’s as if God waits to see who is willing to take up faith, and then He gives salvation. This then ties people’s election to their performance.
However, the Bible teaches that when you are elect, you gain salvation. If you have salvation, then you are of the elect. Sproul states, “Salvation flows out of election, so if we want to be sure of our salvation, we need to know whether we are numbered among the elect.”
In order to understand this more, it would be helpful to learn, “ordo salutis.” This is a term that theologians use when referring to the order of salvation. This is the order that lead up to our redemption. For example, how long after do we receive justification when we obtain true saving faith? Is it a month from now? We believe that justification and faith happen at the same time. When we receive true saving faith, we are also justified. While it happens at the same time, faith still comes before this. After all, justification relies on faith. Like this, we need to consider the order of salvation when we are discussing election.
In Romans 8:28, it says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” God promises us that all things are going to work for good for those who love God and who gets called for His purpose. This type of call special and is different than the external call that goes out to everyone. The type of call that is referred to in Romans is the inward call. Sproul says, “In this call, the Holy Spirit opens the hearts of believers, working within to bring about the purpose of God.” Those who are elect receive this inward call. Let us take a look at Romans 8:29, it says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Paul is talking about the purpose of God regarding salvation. He tells us that those who God foreknew, he predestined. Therefore, the goal of God foreknowing is to address those who are conformed to Christ’s image. In verse 30 it says, “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” This presents to us the “ordo salutis” that was aforementioned. The order is:
Where does this then fit into our discussion about assurance? How do we know whether we are called? Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2,
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Apostle Paul tells us that the work of the Holy Spirit is what makes us alive. This is what we know as “rebirth” or “regeneration.” Rebirth is also linked to the internal calling. Sproul says, “So as we seek assurance, we can know we’re numbered among the elect, because without election, this work of the Holy Ghost could never take place in our souls.” Those who are elected at some point will be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you know that you are regenerated, then you can be sure of your election, and if you are sure in your election, you can be sure of your salvation.
Next week, we will look towards regeneration and the work of the Holy Spirit, as this is the last key to understand how to obtain true salvation.
1) Why do you think people get nervous when discussing assurance?
2) What does Peter 1:10–11 tell us?
3) What is “ordo salutis?” Why is this an important doctrine to learn?
4) What role does the Holy Spirit play in our pursuit to obtain true assurance?
5) What might be an advice to give to someone who is trying to get true assurance?