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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Christian Assurance - True and False

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Christian Assurance - True and False -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Who needs to be sure these days? Just get on with life, develop a positive attitude, help a few people along the way, and the big issues, whatever they are, will take care of themselves. Sounds fine? But what if those big issues simply don't take care of themselves? And what if I really do need to find peace with God and be absolutely sure that I have been accepted? In this article I will try to answer those questions.
1. A SECURE BRIDGE
The good news of Christ is about bridging the gulf between God's holiness and our human fallen sinfulness and restoring us to fellowship with God. And about how he has gone to great lengths to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Hence we read 'that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (1Timothy 1:15). You may respond 'Just as well, some of them need it!' But then we also have to reckon that 'None is righteous, no, not one' and 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:10 & 3:23). Add to this the serious truth - 'by works of the law no one will be justified' (Galatians 2:16), that is, no one gets right with God by efforts at keeping his law. While we may be exceptionally pleasant and caring, we have never kept God's law perfectly.
2. DON'T TRUST YOURSELF
As a result, in spite of our own high self-estimate, we too have already missed the mark, and put beside God's standard, we are law-breakers. And if we have never personally placed our trust in Jesus Christ, who 'died for the ungodly' (Rom. 5:6), and if we have never actively come to God in repentance and faith 'whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God' (John 3:18).
These biblical truths show some of the reasons why people build false hopes; our own way of feeling we are good enough for a 'pass mark' from God. People place their confidence in their relations, famous ancestors, wealth, qualifications, help of others, churchgoing, Bible reading, prayers, giving to charities, helping the sick and numerous other good works and religious devotions. Some things may be highly commendable, but what gives you a false assurance is thinking that all the good things you do will earn God's approval on the Great Day of reckoning.
3. I'LL DO IT MY WAY - IS FALSE ASSURANCE
In effect, what you are saying is, 'I may not be perfect, but God is bound to take note of me and let me through.' You are reckoning that God is under a sort of moral obligation to accept your merits. With this thinking, you don't need the perfect merits of the loving Son of God who gave himself into the condemnation sinners deserved, so they might go free. All the while you refuse to accept Christ as your Saviour and reckon you can save yourself, you have false assurance. That is the ultimate ingratitude, thinking Jesus wasted his time dying on the cross and that you will get by without him!
I hope you are clear on that point, because it may well be that unbelief like that will condemn you to hell for ever. I cannot say it any more clearly!
4. TRUST WHAT ANOTHER HAS DONE
So, let's turn to clarify true assurance. If you have accepted Scripture's verdict that you are a lost sinner - a law-breaker, and under God's judgement and have confessed your sin to God and turned to him, trusting that Jesus, who was without sin, died bearing the penalty your sins deserved, then you will you know he has accepted you. Then you will accept his promises 'Whoever believes in him is not condemned' and 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life' John 3:18 & 3:36). Now, all who receive God's free gift of salvation, 'have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (Rom. 5:1). If you have, you also will be assured that you have been accepted 'in Christ' with the same acceptance the Father has of the Son!
5. RELY ON CHRIST'S PERFECT ACHIEVEMENTS
That is why the Apostle wrote to assure people who had trusted in Christ (not merely a mental assent sort of belief), that 'to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life' (1 John 5:13). So, do you love Christ, the gospel of Christ, his word, his people? Do you desire to share his love with others, and pray for them, do you confess your sins, and seek to walk in fellowship with other like-minded believers in Christ? If so, you will continue trusting Christ, his once for all sacrifice, and his complete sufficiency.
All these things will help to assure you that you have truly believed in him and that as you persevere through trials and see your faith grow that too will assure you he has begun a life-transforming work in you. But we don't trust life-changing experiences; if they are genuinely of God, we will know he is changing us, and that we were saved for good works, but never by them!
Don't engage in excessive inward looking, but look more and more to Jesus Christ as Lord of all, your gracious Savior, the eternal Son of God, enthroned in glory to whom endless praise and worship is due with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for whom you now live, not only for time, but for eternity.
Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D. - ASSURANCE OF SALVATION Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to serious reason 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. Use this link to my very latest Amazon Kindle e-book - (very modestly priced): 'FOR SURE! - Assurance and Evangelicalism'http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0WK84  Or take a look at this challenging title: 'I saw Him Die - Viewing Jesus' death TODAY', use following 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/7460163

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