Assurance of Grace and Salvation (1689)

By S.C. Shaw

The London Baptist Confession of faith is a beautiful and rich confession of the reformed Christian faith. I simply included the scriptures they reference after each section written out. It is a beautiful meditation and devotion time to read through. I pray you are blessed by it and it helps you see the bigness of God, exalt Christ higher and live by the power of the Holy Spirit more each day. There is no perfect and infallible authority except God’s Words revealed in the Bible. But there is much Christians can and should learn from other godly men and women.

Link to full confession: http://founders.org/1689-confession/

Chapter 18 – Assurance of Grace and Salvation (In Full) 

Temporary believers and other unregenerate people may deceive themselves in vain with false hopes and fleshly presumptions that they have God’s favor and salvation, but their hope will perish. Yet those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him sincerely, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may be certainly assured in this life that they are in a state of grace. They may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and this hope will never make them ashamed.

This certainty is not merely an inconclusive or likely persuasion based on a fallible hope. It is an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel. It is also built on the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit about which promises are made. It is further based on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God. As a fruit of this assurance, our hearts are kept both humble and holy.

This infallible assurance is not such an essential part of faith that it is always fully experienced alongside faith, but true believers may wait a long time and struggle with many difficulties before obtaining it. Yet with the enabling of the Spirit to know the things freely given to them by God, they may attain this assurance using ordinary means appropriately without any extraordinary revelation. Therefore, it is the duty of all to be as diligent as possible to make their calling and election sure. In this way their hearts may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience. These effects are the natural fruits of this assurance. Thus, it does not at all encourage believers to be negligent.

True believers may in various ways have the assurance of their salvation shaken, decreased, or temporarily lost. This may happen because they neglect to preserve it or fall into some specific sin that wounds their conscience and grieves the Spirit. It may happen through some unexpected or forceful temptation or when God withdraws the light of his face and allows even those who fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light. Yet they are never completely lacking the seed of God, the life of faith, love of Christ and the brethren, sincerity of heart, or conscience concerning their duty. Out of these graces, through the work of the Spirit, this assurance may at the proper time be revived. In the meantime, they are kept from utter despair through them.

 

Chapter 18 – Assurance of Grace and Salvation (w/ Scriptures) ESV

-Temporary believers and other unregenerate people may deceive themselves in vain with false hopes and fleshly presumptions that they have God’s favor and salvation, but their hope will perish.

(Job 8:13-14, Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. His confidence is severed, and his trust is a spider’s web.)

(Matthew 7:22-23, On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’)

-Yet those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him sincerely, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may be certainly assured in this life that they are in a state of grace. They may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,

(1 John 2:3, And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.)

(1 John 3:14, We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.)

(1 John 3:18-19, Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;)

(1 John 3:21, Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;)

(1 John 3:24, 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.)

(1 John 5:13, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.)

-and this hope will never make them ashamed.

(Romans 5:2, Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.)

(Romans 5:5, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.)

-This certainty is not merely an inconclusive or likely persuasion based on a fallible hope. It is an infallible assurance of faith

(Hebrews 6:11, And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,)

(Hebrews 6:19, We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,)

-founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel.

(Hebrews 6:17-18, So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.)

-It is also built on the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit about which promises are made.

(2 Peter 1:4-5, 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. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,)

(2 Peter 1:10-11, Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.)

-It is further based on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.

(Romans 8:15-16, For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,)

-As a fruit of this assurance, our hearts are kept both humble and holy.

(1 John 3:1–3, See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.)

-This infallible assurance is not such an essential part of faith that it is always fully experienced alongside faith, but true believers may wait a long time and struggle with many difficulties before obtaining it.

(Isaiah 50:10, Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.)

(Psalms 88, O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah. You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you. Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah. Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.)

(Psalms 77:1–12, I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah. Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.)

-Yet with the enabling of the Spirit to know the things freely given to them by God, they may attain this assurance using ordinary means appropriately without any extraordinary revelation.

(1 John 4:13, By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.)

(Hebrews 6:11-12, And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.)

-Therefore, it is the duty of all to be as diligent as possible to make their calling and election sure. In this way their hearts may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience. These effects are the natural fruits of this assurance.

(Romans 5:1-2, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.)

(Romans 5:5, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.)

(Romans 14:17, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.)

(Psalms 119:32, I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!)

-Thus, it does not at all encourage believers to be negligent.

(Romans 6:1-2, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?)

(Titus 2:11-12, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,)

(Titus 2:14, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.)

-True believers may in various ways have the assurance of their salvation shaken, decreased, or temporarily lost. This may happen because they neglect to preserve it

(Song of Solomon 5:2-3, I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” I had put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them?)

(Song of Solomon 5:6, I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.)

-or fall into some specific sin that wounds their conscience and grieves the Spirit.

(Psalms 51:8, Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.)

(Psalms 51:12, Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.)

(Psalms 51:14, Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.)

-It may happen through some unexpected or forceful temptation

(Psalms 116:11, I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”)

(Psalms 77:7-8, “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?)

(Psalms 31:22, I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.)

-or when God withdraws the light of his face and allows even those who fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light.

(Psalms 30:7, By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed)

-Yet they are never completely lacking the seed of God,

(1 John 3:9, No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.)

-the life of faith,

(Luke 22:32, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”)

-love of Christ and the brethren, sincerity of heart, or conscience concerning their duty. Out of these graces, through the work of the Spirit, this assurance may at the proper time be revived.

(Psalms 42:5, Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation)

(Psalms 42:11, Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.)

-In the meantime, they are kept from utter despair through them.

(Lamentations 3:26–31, It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever,)

Closing.

Please don’t let my word or any mans word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

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