Saturday, July 02, 2011

July 2, 2011 … Assurance: Objective or Subjective?

Passage of the Day: 2nd Corinthians 13: 5 … Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

My Journal for Today: I don’t know about you; but for anyone reading this, today’s verse is a daunting challenge from Paul to the early church and to us by extension. Looking at the assurance of our salvation this month, I will be studying, with John MacArthur’s help and biblical insights, the testing of my (our) faith.

In Christendom, this has always been a contested issue. Early Roman Catholic believers contended, as they do even today as well as many other “works-oriented” religions, that salvation was [and is in doubt between any believer and God to the end of life and assurance of that salvation could not be known by the professed Christian. However, sixteenth century Reformers, men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Swingli, changed the heart of Christianity by asserting that believers had definite ways to establish the grounds for the assurance of salvation.

John MacArthur points out, and I agree, that our assurance of being saved can be established both objectively and subjectively with the former being based on the finished work of Christ and our faith in the promises of Scripture (see 2nd Cor. 1: 20 – 22 - below). The subjective basis for our assurance comes from our faith in the ongoing work of God’s Spirit, which includes His convicting and sanctifying ministries through God’s Holy and perfect Word (see Romans 15: 4).

SCRIPTURE: 2nd Cor. 1: 20-22 … 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

SCRIPTURE: Romans 15: 4 … For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

We will see this month (yes, I’ve been reading ahead) that, as today’s text proclaims, we can – and we should – test ourselves as Christians, based on the truth of God’s word; and we will see that we can – in fact (i.e., objectively) – KNOW that we are saved.

Many years ago, one of the first questions my mentor asked me was, “Are you saved, Bill?” Like the immature Christian I was at the time, I responded, “I think so (with a question mark in my voice as I replied).” He admonished me, as I will anyone whom may be reading this, by saying, “You ought to have that question settled.” And over the next twelve years of weekly and biweekly meetings with him, I learned and internalized that I am completely and definitely saved. And so, if you have any doubts about this or you know of others who might be in a quandary about such matters, come along with me this month and I will be drawing out the answer to the that question for you as well.

As I said, another reason to follow this devotional thread this month would be to be more effective in helping others know that they are saved (or not). As 1st Peter 3: 15 asserts, we need to be ready to answer the questions of others, especially when they doubt their own salvation. So, I look forward to this venture together this month so that we all can know that we know that we know that we know we’re saved!

My Prayer Today: O Lord, I thank You for knowing, beyond doubt, that You have saved me. Amen

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