Thursday, 22 May 2008

What then is my assurance?

If the trajectory of my last post is correct, then the question arises: what is my personal assurance?

Actually, I don't think the Reformed would ever have answered, "God will keep his elect". I think the answer has always been two fold (thanks Garry);

1. objectively, the finished work of Christ has done all that is necessary for salvation (because the atonement actually worked).

2. subjectively, the work of the Spirit in my life producing fruit testifies to my faith.

1 is obviously far more important and reliable than 2.

Might we add 3. objectively, the Church testifies to my faith by baptising, feeding and not excommunicating me?

3 comments:

ros said...

I think (3) is a great addition to the standard bases for assurance. Are you doing the camp talk on it this year?

Pete said...

Re. this post and the previous one;

Doesn't Romans 8 encourage us to 'hook' some of your three points here into the doctrine of election though?

E.g. 8:12-17. If the Spirit testifies then I am an heir (and the mark of an heir is co-suffering, fighting sin, etc., so if don't do these things I have no right to assurance). 8:29-30 seems to link this sonship with election. E.g. Romans 8:31.

If it's ok to say (with paul) that I know Christ died for me, then it must be ok to be reassured by the doctrine of election (given limited atonement, Romans 8:31-34).

Doesn't John 6:37-40 encourage us to join dots from our faith to the Father's will that the Son keeps all the elect?

This is not presumption though, such that I can apostatise tomorrow and still expect assurance, since we can't know the content of the decree. Hence Romans 11:20ff.

There's a distinction somewhere between attempting to know the names on God's list and availing oneself of the means God has given for being sure for today that I am on that list, but it's not clear in my mind at the moment.

Marc Lloyd said...

And God's promises do assure me too, don't they? If by the grace of God in my weak sinful way I keep the terms of the covenant (ie trust Christ as Lord, dont apostasize) I can be sure God will keep me and keep his promises. It is the presumptuous who need worry not sinful but basically faithfull (on God's side) covenant members?