The Only Grounds For Assurance of Salvation
Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:24
It is very true that saving faith will result in outward manifestations of it. However, there is a danger, even to mature Christians, in seeking out those manifestations, evidences of saving faith, for re-establishing a weakened assurance.
As leaders within the Church, we often direct those seeking assurance of salvation to the epistles of John and their accompanying tests. This is sound biblical direction to be sure. However, the danger lies when we leave those being counseled with the idea that they must see certain evidences themselves for the assurance of salvation they desire. Not that it’s wrong to do so, not at all. In fact self-examination is biblically warranted and encouraged. However, we should always be reminded that assurance is the sole task of the Holy Spirit.
The danger lies in losing our of focus.
Take for example a few questions we often ask of those seeking assurance:
Have you been born again?
Is there evidence of the new birth in your life?
Do you remember a specific time when regeneration occurred in your life?
Can you describe how you knew that something had happened?
The danger here is forgetting that while evidence of salvation is important, they should never be seen as grounds for assurance. Never.
Our hope regarding salvation is, and always should be, grounded on the person, life, work, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone.
Far too many have slipped into the tendency of examining their behavior and/or works in order to be reassured.
Brethren, your performance should never be the basis of your hope for salvation or entrance into heaven.
It’s not about you, it’s about Him and what He has done on our behalf!
– Joel Taylor
- Puritan Assurance: A Cruel Doctrine of Doubt (5ptsalt.com)