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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Faith And Assurance Of Salvation

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Faith And Assurance Of Salvation -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Large numbers of people struggle with assurance of salvation and often wonder whether they have true, saving faith or are just relying, for instance, on beliefs they have sincerely held since childhood. This article aims to shed some light on this challenging subject.
  • PERSONAL ASSURANCE
The first thing we need to establish is whether personal assurance is part of the goal of the gospel of Christ. Has this idea of assurance become a needless cause of anxiety for many people who feel they were expected to conform but have missed a simple 'assurance' and instead have troubling perplexity? Or was it a goal that a few joyful extroverts found, while the rest of us ought to be content with our less certain, gloomier attainments?
When we look at Scripture, we find that the good news of salvation is to be received by faith, and that those who do so may know - have the assurance they now possess what was promised in the gospel. The secure, credible facts of Jesus' person, his life, death and historic bodily resurrection and clear gospel promise are a sufficient ground for my objective assurance. And it may help to see a faith that trusts is also the faith that knows one has received. So, let me ask, have you believed not merely the beliefs of the gospel but in the Christ of the gospel in a way that began to transform you from the inside out? Paul explained this to the believers in Corinth, when he said, 'the gospel... which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you - unless you believed in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).
  • SECURE GROUND
So, there is an empty, 'vain' mental assent, a popular cultural belief people have that they will go to heaven when they die. And if I am able, gently to unsettle anyone's false assurance, and point you to the risen Lord Jesus, who is able to save you and give you peace with God, grounded in HIS gloriously completed and totally sufficient sacrifice for sins, some of my goal in writing this will be realised.
And did you notice Paul's words 'being saved' - the present tense of salvation, in which you continue to reckon that you are justified by faith in Christ, once for all, by a living trust through which God united you to his Son by the Holy Spirit? Now you know you are his much-loved child who, though weak, receives his strength as you aim to have fellowship with God and a love of your fellow believers in Christ. Convictions such as these form the ground of a broad-based assurance.
  • WHOEVER BELIEVES
Here's a well-known summary of the gospel, 'For God so loved the world that, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16). This direct, rich promise includes a universal 'whoever believes in him... ' The gospel declares that God is holy. That we are all condemned to 'perish' by our sinful disobedience, but Jesus in his death endured what we rebels deserved - God's judgement! Now, all are called to turn from their enmity against God and and come to Christ to receive the gift of eternal life.
  • CHRIST IS THE OBJECT OF FAITH
Christ, the mighty Saviour, the once-crucified, risen and ascended Lord is the object of one's trust. Here is the issue - have you accepted that Christ died for sins and entrusted your all to him? Have you accepted his eternal deity, his sin-bearing sacrifice and his present universal Lordship? Is the Lord Jesus now the object of your trust and grateful love, so that you are delighted with him, and prepared to obey him, count the cost and hold to his word, in fellowship with other fellow believers? These are some of the 'tests of life' to help clarify the subjective basis of your assurance.
The apostle John encapsulates a lot of this, when he writes; 'Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life' (1 John 5:12-13). That's very reassuring!
  • ALWAYS LOOK TO HIM
One final point: faith is never a good work, never merely pulled out of your personality. Faith is the gift of God that always has the Lord Jesus as its object and which accepts his finished work on the cross and his perfect righteousness as sufficient for your acceptance with God. That's why Paul was able to explain, 'so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law' (Galatians 2:16).
When you have some measure of gospel assurance, you have peace with God, and the big issue is settled. So look less at trying to gain a strong assurance, as if this was an end in itself, but look more at the gloriously sufficient, perfect Savior revealed in Scripture and then live for him for the glory of God.

Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D. Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to careful thinking, and is powerfully relevant today. So, I aim to share the good news of Christ crucified, risen and ascended - a Saviour who is worthy of your full confidence. And I write to help you find faith or to strengthen your faith, so that you may be SURE. I share Evangelical and Reformed convictions and have a Ph.D. from Reformation International Theological Seminary for  work on the validity of reason.Use this link to my very latest Amazon Kindle e-book: 'FOR SURE! - Assurance and Evangelicalism' http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0WK84 Or try this challenging title: 'I saw Him die - viewing Jesus' death TODAY' Use this link: http://www.amazon.com/saw-Him-die-Viewing-ebook/dp/B007TX696U/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_2 Read and enjoy, and please recommend to others - Thank you! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7496294

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