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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Unity # 33: Infallible Assurance
Unity # 33: Infallible Assurance
Theme Song: Higher Ground
You are the one good Shepherd who teaches and feeds all of Your sheep with tender loving-kindness and power. You will guide us until the end. You will never leave us or forsake us, but You are with us even until the end of the age. Grant all of us infallible assurance, and please console Your people with Your Word. You are our salvation; we will trust and not be afraid. You are our strength, and song, and You have become our salvation. May we please joyously draw water from Your springs of salvation, praise You, thank You, and make Your deeds known among the earth. For You have done excellent things and You are great in the midst of Your people. (Is 12:2-6)
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
God has granted me the special gift of attending the Fellowship 2013 conference this past weekend. When Mrs. Mona Leiter (Charles Leiter’s wife) invited us, it seemed an impossibility, but God arranged for Dad, Anand, and me to go to Denton, TX while mom, Prasanna, and Neethi stayed home in MN. Please see my summary of the conference. I speak of this conference as I introduce this letter, because I am becoming more and more certain in my soul that false Christianity is pervasive and damning. There is a horrifyingly large number of professing Christians who remain under God’s wrath. Free Grace Theology has taken over many, likely most, of the churches in America, leaving a false sheen of “protection” over those whose souls have never been regenerated. Oh dear ones, if we are truly a part of Him, we are far outnumbered, and by His grace we are covered in the life of Christ, for His blood alone has made full atonement for our sins. Are you sure that you have been regenerated? For there is a false type of faith that does not save: this false faith may involve an intellectual acknowledgement of the facts of the Gospel when the heart has never been raised to life and the person remains enslaved to sin; this false faith may involve a type of outward moral reformation while the heart has no union with Christ; this false faith may involve a self-deception within a person raised in the church who knows the terminology of the Scriptures, yet refuses to entrust one’s soul to the Savior; this false faith may involve a subconscious trusting in one’s work rather than the work of Christ; this false faith may involve an erroneous view of God as lacking power to sanctify and secure the souls of His people. If you lose your soul, you lose everything! Are we sure that we have been brought from death into life? If you have not been saved, and you are filled with the anguish of the fear of judgment, it is a gift to you, that you may turn to Him, and that you may seek Him with all that is within you.
In this letter I will be writing about the infallible assurance of the one who is truly saved by grace through true faith. Let the Scriptures speak for themselves for your consolation and exhortation if you are saved, and for your terror if you have been deceived. There is so much that I could include in this letter, but I will try to start with some key texts. I pray that you look up the Scriptures and look to Him to reveal the Truth to you. I can do little justice in this letter.
What is Saving Faith?
We know that we are saved by grace through faith. You think that you have faith, right? But there is a type of false faith that does not save. It may lead to outward transformation, emotional experiences, and a reputation of refinement among the church organizations of this day and age. But it cannot save, for it has not accompanied a casting of one’s trust completely on Christ and His atoning sacrifice. It has not resulted in the inward transformation that occurs from the removal of the veil of blindness and unbelief of the heart. Ultimately, this false faith will result in the falling away of the one who possesses it or a persistent gruesome silent deception that results in devastation on the Day of Judgment. What is saving faith? True faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Heb 11:1-2) Such a faith inevitably results in good works, whereas false faith has no true Spirit-driven works and is dead. For even the demons believe and shudder. Faith without works is useless. Abraham’s faith and his work to offer up Issac, his son, on the altar worked together; his works perfected, or authenticated, his faith. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be”. Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. (Rom 4:18-21). Because Abraham believed God, it was reckoned to him as righteousness and he was called the friend of God. Similarly Rahab’s, the harlot, faith was authenticated by her reception of the messengers and sending them out by another way. Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:17-26). If Abraham and Rahab had not acted the way that they did, it would have shown that they did not believe God. But because they were assured of what they hoped for and convicted of what they could not see, they acted in obedience to God. If we have truly believed that Christ is our only way, that He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, we will surely turn the course of our lives towards Christ and away from the world.
Christ is the Object of Saving Faith
Not only was Abraham’s faith credited to him as righteousness, but our faith is credited to us as righteousness. Our faith is in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, in Christ who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and raised because of our justification. (Rom 4:23-25) Those who escape judgment, who overcome, are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ. The Spirit, the water, and the blood of Christ testify in agreement to us. If we receive the testimony of men, how much more do we receive the testimony of God which is far greater! The testimony of God is this: He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:5-13) Thus, we must believe that Christ has made atonement for all of our sins, not just for other people’s sins, or for sin in a general sense, but for our own sin. We must believe the testimony of God that He has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. False faith trusts in something in addition to or apart from Christ. For example, the Mormons believe that they can earn some of their salvation by good works, and the remaining by Christ’s atonement. This false “gospel” will not stand on the Day of Judgment. Were God to ask us on that Day why He should allow us into the everlasting Kingdom, our answer must only be: because of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who took away my sin, and who has been my Savior and Lord. For many, perhaps all people, would desire to escape the agonies and torment of the hell fires, of the pouring out of the hatred and wrath upon themselves for all eternity, but few will be saved in the end. For few have been regenerated such that the new heart and spirit have been implanted in them which desire to know and behold the glory of their Christ far above all else!
Faith to the Preserving of the Soul
Those with true faith face the remainder of their earthly lives and they heed the warnings of Scripture against falling away/drifting away from such a great salvation. They are confident that the One who calls them is faithful to preserve their bodies, souls, and spirits until the Day of the Lord. They are confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in them will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). They do not throw away their confidence, which has a great reward. They know that they have need of endurance, so that when they have done the will of God, they may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. God tells us “But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. (Heb 10:35-29) They suffer, but are not ashamed; for they know whom they have believed and are convinced that He is able to guard what they have entrusted to Him, that is, their souls, until that Day. They retain the standard of sound words which they have heard from God’s people, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. They guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in them, the treasure which has been entrusted to them. (2 Tim 1:12-14) They show consistent diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that they will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb 6:11-12).
Hope that Enters Within the Veil
God desires to show to the heirs of His promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and thus He interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things (His promise and His oath) in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. The hope of the saints is theirs as an anchor for their souls, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a Forerunner for us, having become a high Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:17-20). For the Lord rescues the souls of His servants and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned (Ps 34:22). Though we do not see the full glory of God, our faith and our hope give us sight of the glory of God. For when we have truly turned to the Lord, the veil is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, that is indwelling us, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:16-18) True faith orients the physical life of the saint according to their hope that has entered the heavenly realms.
Assurance by Obedience and Love
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. If we say that we have come to know Him, and do not keep His commandment, we would be liars and the truth is not in us; but if we keep His Word in us the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6) Furthermore, we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides is death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and we know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. We cannot close our heart against our brothers in need of the world’s goods, but we must love, not with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:14-18) For those who have false faith or profess no faith in Christ, the heart is stone and unregenerated, and there can be no true love or obedience to Christ’s commands. But those who are truly saved will surely love the saints and obey Christ’s commands, not perfectly, but certainly, progressively, and persistently.
Hearts Assured before Him in whatever our Heart Condemns us
Because we love the saints in deed and truth (1 John 3:14-18) we will know that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. (1 John 3:19-22) Our infallible assurance is not automatic nor does it certainly accompany salvation. This is evident in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life”. We have already believed, and yet, the book of 1 John is written so that we may know that we have eternal life. We will be convicted. We will tremble. We will cry out and call out for assurance. And in His good time and pleasure and by His discipline, and refinement, He will grant us increasing measures of assurance founded on Christ alone. When we have sinned, rather than abandoning the faith, and allowing ourselves to be given over to depravity, we know that since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, and we hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:14-16)
Discipline Means Adoption!
We know that we are children of God, and thus we do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when we are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives (Heb 12:5-6). We know that although He was angry with us before our conversion, that is, His righteous wrath remained on us, His anger has turned away and He comforts us (Ps 12:1).
The Spirit’s Testimony of our Eternal Inheritance
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom 8:16-17). Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3) We ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Rom 8:23-25)
Love in Christ,