“For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (I John 3:20)
The Apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Why? He knew, as we should also know, that while God saves us by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone that it is not by a faith which is alone. True saving faith is always accompanied by works (James 2:14-26).
One of the works which believers are to pursue is the work of pursuing assurance. The Apostle John has repeatedly said that if an individual loves the Lord, it will be evident by their obedience to God’s commandments: especially the commandment to love one another (I John 4:7-8).
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “When we consider the matter of assurance, it is clear that believers have a certain duty to work toward attaining certainty about their salvation. Scripture explicitly commands this; for example, 2 Peter 1:10 instructs us to be diligent to confirm our “calling and election.” Yet there are many ways in which God’s Word implicitly exhorts us to pursue assurance as well. Consider the parable of the sower, for example. Among other things, this parable tells us that it is possible to profess faith in the gospel and yet lack the true faith that perseveres and produces a harvest of spiritual fruit. Many who hear the Word of God appear to be converted, but later they fall away because the gospel never truly took root in their souls (Mark 13:1–20). That should encourage all of us to seek to know whether we are good soil, whether we have truly been saved and will persevere to the end. We cannot assume that we are good soil simply because we have confessed faith; we must search our hearts and our lives to be certain that we are not poor soil or that we will not be overcome by the thorns and thistles of life.”
Dr. Sproul made mention of 2 Peter 1 regarding the believer pursuit of assurance. 2 Peter 1:3-10 says, “3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “Throughout church history, many people have thought that God does not really want us to be certain of our salvation, that gaining true assurance would make us complacent in doing good works in service to the Lord and our neighbor. Scripture, however, wants us to be sure of our salvation. The entire epistle of 1 John, for example, was written so that we would know that we are saved (5:13). Thus, we should eagerly pursue the assurance of our salvation and seek to know if we are truly in Christ. Indeed, pursuing assurance is part of our Christian duty.”
Make every effort to pursue your assurance that you are God’s child by being obedient to God’s Word.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!