a Believer's Assurance

From the Grace To You Website, www.gty.org

written by John MacArthur

Available for download here

A Believer's Assurance (Booklet)
Scripture: Philippians 4:7
Code: 45ASSURE

 

It's a heartache to me as a pastor to realize that so many Christians lack the assurance of their
salvation. They lack the confidence that their sins are truly forgiven and that their place in heaven is
eternally secured.


In 1654 the Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote, "Assurance is the believer's ark where he sits, Noah-like,
quiet and still in the midst of all distractions and destructions, commotions and confusions....
[However] most Christians live between fears and hopes, and hang, as it were, between heaven and
hell. Sometimes they hope that their state is good, at other times they fear that their state is bad: now
they hope that all is and that it shall go well with them forever; [then] they fear that they shall perish
by the hand of such a corruption, or by the of such or such a temptation .... They are like a ship in a
storm, tossed here and there" (Heaven on Earth, p. 11).


It doesn't have to be that way. The apostle Peter said, "Be all the more diligent to make certain about
His calling and choosing you" (2 Peter 1:10, emphasis added). The prophet Isaiah said, "The work of
righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness confidence forever" (Isaiah
32:17). Where God grants righteousness, He also adds peace and assurance.


It's true that someone can be saved and doubt it. One may go to heaven in a mist, not knowing for
sure he's going, but that's certainly not the way to enjoy the trip.


Incorrect Assumptions About Salvation


All of us as Christians have times when doubt makes us question if we're saved. For some, those
times are but fleeting moments; for some, they last a long time; and for others, they seem like a way
of life. Before we explore the reasons so many Christians lack assurance, there are two issues we
need to consider.


Undeserved Assurance


Some people have assurance who have no right to it. The old slave spiritual put it simply:
"Everybody talkin' about heaven ain't going there." Some feel all is well between them and God when
it isn't. They don't understand the truth about salvation and their own spiritual condition.


People often ask me why I speak so frequently about salvation and spiritual self-examination. It's
because Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your
name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you'" (Matthew 7:21-
23). Many people are deceived about their salvation. That's why the apostle Paul said, "Test
yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Corinthians 13:5).


How did those people get their false assurance? By receiving false information about salvation. Much
of our modern-day evangelism contributes to that through what I call "syllogistic assurance."


A syllogism has a major premise and a minor premise that lead to a conclusion. Let's consider John
1:12: "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those
who believe in His name."


-The major premise: anyone who receives Jesus becomes God's child.
-The minor premise: the person you just witnessed to received Christ.
-Conclusion: the person must now be a child of God.


That seems logical, but the problem is, you don't know whether the minor premise is true—whether
the person truly received Christ. Beware of trying to assure people of their salvation based on an
untested profession. Assurance is the reward of tested and proven faith. It is the Holy Spirit who
gives it, not a human being.


Undermined Assurance


Another preliminary issue you need to be aware of is that some think no one has the right to
assurance—not even a true Christian. They think it's presumptuous to think you can be spiritually
secure. That's the historic Arminian view. It asserts that if a person thought he was secure forever,
he would do whatever he wanted and be spiritually negligent.


That is also the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The Council of Trent in the mid-1500s
declared it anathema to say "that a man who is born again and justified is bound [of faith] to believe
that he is certainly in the number of the predestined" (can. 15 on justification). Modern Catholic
teaching upholds that position.


G.C. Berkhouwer's The Conflict with Rome explains that Rome's denial of the assurance of salvation
is consistent with its conception of the nature of salvation (pp. 118-19). Since it conceives of
salvation as a joint effort by man and God, something that's maintained through the doing of good
works, it concludes the believer can never be absolutely sure of his or her salvation. Why? Because
if my salvation depends on God and me, I might mess up.


When you have involved in salvation, whether through Arminian or Roman Catholic theology, there
can be no security because man can default. But historic biblical theology declares that salvation is
entirely the work of God, which leads to the concomitant doctrines of security and assurance.
With that understanding, let's get back to our basic question, Why do people lack assurance? One
obvious reason is that some aren't saved, but let's go beyond that. Why do Christians lack
assurance? There are eight basic reasons.


Eight Reasons for Shaken Assurance


Strong Preaching


Some lack assurance because of being under strong biblical preaching on God's holy standard.
Such preaching forces people to see their sinfulness and acknowledge that the holiness of God calls
them to a lofty standard of living. Is that bad? No, the pulpit should be the creator of anxious hearts.
How else can it unsettle those who have false assurance? However, the consistent call to
righteousness may unsettle some Christians, particularly those who are frequently succumbing to
temptation.
But that kind of preaching is rare. Churches across our country are filled with smug people who don't
feel particularly insecure because nothing in their life is ever confronted. Rather than leading their
people to examine themselves and make sure their assurance is valid, many preachers feel it's their
duty to make everyone feel good. However, those who preach as they should find some in their
congregation plagued with doubt. Recently I received the following letter:


Dear John, I've been attending Grace church for several years. As a result of a growing conviction in
my heart, your preaching, and my seeming powerlessness against the temptations which arise in my
heart and which I constantly succumb to, my growing doubts have led me to believe that I'm not
saved.


How sad it is, John, for me not to be able to enter in because of the sin which clings to me and from
which I long to be free. How bizarre for one who has had advanced biblical training and who teaches
in Sunday School with heartfelt conviction! So many times I have determined in my heart to repent,
to shake loose my desire to sin, to forsake all for Jesus only to find myself doing the sin I don't want
to do and not doing the good I want to do.


After my fiance and I broke up I memorized Ephesians as part of an all-out effort against sin, only to
find myself weaker and more painfully aware of my sinfulness, more prone to sin than ever before,
and grabbing cheap thrills to push back the pain of lost love. This occurs mostly in the heart, John,
but that's where it counts and that's where we live. I sin because I'm a sinner. I'm like a soldier
without armor running across a battlefield getting shot up by fiery darts from the enemy.


I couldn't leave the church if I wanted to. I love the people and I'm enthralled by the gospel of the
beautiful Messiah. But I'm a pile of manure on the white marble floor of Christ, a mongrel dog that
sneaked in the back door of the King's banquet to lick the crumbs off the floor, and, by being close to
Christians who are rich in the blessings of Christ, I get some of the and ask you to pray for me as
you think best.


Is the author of that poignant letter a Christian? One thing that jumps out at me is his desire to do
right, which sounds more like Paul in Romans 7 than an unbeliever. The pulpit is the creator of
anxious hearts, but it is also to give comfort and assurance to those who love Christ.


Guilt


Other people lack assurance because they can't accept forgiveness. They are tyrannized by their
emotions and feel they are too bad to be forgiven. There are several reasons for that. First,
conscience speaks against forgiveness. The only thing your conscience knows about is guilt and
conviction. It knows nothing of grace and mercy. Also, holiness and justice speak against
forgiveness. They focus on sin and know nothing of excusing it.


Be warned: Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He will do all he can to obscure the love and
graciousness of God. One Puritan wrote,


He that lacks assurance of God's converses too much with Satan.... [He says to himself:] "The devil
is always following and tempting me to suspect the love of Christ, and he does it that he may attain
his mind upon me. For the devil knows well enough that the more I suspect Christ's love, the more I
shall embrace Satan's love."


The truth is, beloved, this lack of assurance of God's love, or interest in Christ, is an inlet to many
sins and miseries; for first a man doubts of his own salvation. he has continued doubting, then he
rises up unto a full conclusion saying, "Now know I that Christ does not love me. I did but doubt
before, but now I know He does not love me." And after he has risen to this conclusion, then shortly
he rises higher, and he goes further thus: "If Christ does not love me now, He will never love me; and
if I have not an interest in Christ now, after all the preaching I have heard, and ordinances I have
enjoyed, I shall never have it so the longer I live, the more I shall aggravate my condemnation."
(William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast, pp. 129-30)


Another Puritan draws us back to Scripture, saying,


Manasseh is saved. O despairing souls, the arms of mercy are open to receive a Manasseh, a
monster, a devil incarnate; he caused that gospel prophet Isaiah to be in the with a saw He turned
aside from the Lord to commit idolatry, and caused his sons to pass through the fire, and dealt with
familiar spirits, and made the streets of Jerusalem to overflow with innocent blood The soul of Mary
Magdalene was full of devils yet Christ cast them out, and made her heart his house Why dost thou
then say there is no hope for thee, O despairing soul?


Paul was full of rage against Christ and his and full of blasphemy and impiety, and yet behold, Paul
is a chosen vessel, Paul is caught up into the heaven, and he is filled with the gifts and graces of the
Holy [Spirit] Why should thou then say there is for thee no help, O despairing soul! ... The apostle
tells you of some monstrous miscreants that were unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers,
effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners;
and yet these monsters of mankind, through the infinite goodness and free grace of God, are washed
from the filth and guilt of their sins, and justified by the righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the
Spirit of Christ, and decked and adorned with the precious graces of Christ ... Why then, O
despairing soul, shouldst thou fear that thy unworthiness and unfitness for mercy will so stop and
turn the stream of mercy, as that thou must perish eternally for want of one drop of special grace and
mercy? (Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth, pp. 93-94)


If you allow Satan to crush your head with the holy requirements of God stripped of the love of God,
you will doubt.


Ignorance


Many people lack assurance because they do not understand that salvation is an utterly divine,
totally sovereign operation. Assurance is built on the historical reality of what Jesus Christ
accomplished. It is not a feeling without reason, and you will never have the subjective feeling of
assurance until you comprehend the objective truth of the gospel.


You must realize that God knew you were a sinner, which is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ into
the world to completely pay the price for all your sins—past, present, and future. The salvation Jesus
offered was secured forever by the omnipotent power of God. It is irreversible. As Romans 11:29
says, "The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."


In the Old Testament, God said, "Come and let us reason together ... Though your sins are as
scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool" (Isaiah
1:18). When God forgives you, it is complete. He Himself said, "I, even I, am the one who wipes out
your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25). Does that
sound like good news to you? What you can't forget, God can't remember! "You may never be able
to forget the years of wandering, the many sins of which you have been guilty. But that which gives
peace is the knowledge that God will never recall them again. He has blotted them from the book of
His remembrance, and He has done it in righteousness, for the account is completely settled. The
debt is paid" (H.A. Ironside, Full Assurance, p. 23).


When Israel was preparing to leave Egypt, the last plague, the death of the firstborn, was about to
fall on the land. God instructed His people to slay a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the front door of
their houses. The angel of death passed over every blood-sprinkled house. Inside the some might
have worried about sins they had committed, but their security depended not on their frame of mind,
their feelings, or the record of their past deeds, but on the blood.


So it is today. We can't see the blood shed on Calvary for our redemption, but God does. He doesn't
look at the believer and say, "Hey, he cheated"—or lied, or lacked kindness, or acted like a hypocrite.
Your security from divine judgment doesn't depend on living a perfect life, but on being sheltered by
the blood of Christ.


There's one element of gospel truth I want to mention specifically because of its major role in the
issue of assurance: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It proves that the Lord's work on the cross
brought about that's eternally secure. There could have been no better attestation to the truthfulness
of His claims. Jesus said He was God and rose from the dead to prove it. He said He came to
accomplish the work of salvation, and God raised Him from the dead to show He was successful.


Jesus Christ bore a world of sin—all the guilt of all who would ever believe—in His body on the
cross. God can gaze upon a sinner who bears much less sin than the crucified Christ and exalt that
sinner to His own right hand, even as He did to His own Son (Ephesians 1:19—2:1).


A young convert once said, "If anyone is ever to be kept out of heaven for my sins, it will have to be
Jesus, for He took them all upon Himself and made Himself responsible for them. But He is in
heaven already, never to be turned out, so now I know that I am secure" (Ironside, p. 75). The matter
is settled for those of us who trust in Christ. God "has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ
Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who
abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:9-10).


Assurance is an inextricable part of saving faith. The apostle John said, "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" (1 John 5:13,
emphasis added). The Christian faith is a secure faith. As one hymn triumphantly declares, "How firm
a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word."


Uncertainty


Some Christians lack assurance because they don't know the exact time of their salvation. They
can't remember when they believed. Some can't remember ever not believing. Because they can't
pinpoint the exact moment, they doubt whether the moment actually occurred. But if you didn't know
the date of your birth, you wouldn't wonder if you were alive. Far too much has been made of
isolating the moment by some little formula, whether it be praying a prayer, signing a card, raising
your hand, or walking down an aisle.


Many Christians—especially those reared in a Christian environment—can't identify the exact
moment they were saved. I can't. I don't know when I passed from death to life, but I know I did.
There were times as a little child when I prayed special prayers. I specifically remember praying with
my father on the steps of a church in Indiana when he was holding a revival meeting. His sermon
convicted me because I had done some things that week that right. I remember as a fourteen-yearold
going forward at camp and throwing a pine cone in the fire, teary-eyed and wanting to make my
life right with God. I was in a serious auto accident when I was a freshman in college, which vividly
reinforced God's claim on my life, but I can't say for sure that was the time of my salvation.


I don't look for a past event to make my salvation real to me. I look at the present pattern of my life.
Some people have a false assurance because they can remember a past event, but their life doesn't
follow a righteous pattern. So don't worry if you can't tie in a specific time or event with the moment
of your salvation. Focus on your lifestyle instead.


Temptation


Another reason Christians lack assurance is they feel the pull of their unredeemed flesh and wonder
if they have a new nature. As Christians dwelling in this fallen world, we are new creations
incarcerated in unredeemed flesh. In fact we "groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for ... the
redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23) at our Lord's return, when it "will be set free from its slavery
to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (v. 21).


However, until our liberation comes, we will occasionally be drawn into the Romans 7 battle between
flesh and spirit, doing what we don't want to do and not doing what we want to do. If sin is
overwhelming and overpowering you at any given point, you will lack assurance. You'll wonder, Did I
repent enough? Am I sorry enough for my sin? Do I have enough faith?


It's easy to read Romans 7:14-25 in an imbalanced way. If you see only the parts that say, "Nothing
good dwells in me" and "wretched man that I am," you'll become overly introspective. Focusing on
the flesh will warp your perspective and lead you to overstate your spiritual condition. However, if you
see only the parts that say, "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man" and "the willing [of
doing good] is present in me" you'll fail to deal with the reality of the flesh.


You need to keep a balance. Here's a helpful suggestion:


Test yourself in this way. You once lived in sin and loved it. Do you now desire deliverance from it?
You were once self-confident and trusting in your own fancied goodness. Do you now judge yourself
as a sinner before God? You once sought to hide from God and rebelled against His authority. Do
you now look up to Him, desiring to know Him, and to yield yourself to Him? If you can honestly say
"Yes" to these questions, you have repented ... And remember, it is not the amount of repentance
that counts: it is the fact that you turn from self to God that puts you in the place where His grace
avails through Jesus Christ.


Strictly speaking, not one of us has ever repented enough. None of us has realized the enormity of
our guilt as God sees it. But when we judge ourselves and trust the Saviour whom He has provided,
we are saved through His merits. As recipients of His , repentance will be deepened and will
continue day by day, as we learn more and more of His infinite worth and our own unworthiness.
(Ironside, p. 89)


Do you see the impulses of the new nature in your life? If so, that's indicative of salvation. If God's
will has become your highest joy, and submission to His lordship your greatest delight, you are
indeed a child of God—no matter how strong the pull of sin.


Trials


Some Christians become spiritually unstable because they can't see the hand of God in all their
trials. They say things like, "How could God love me and let me go through this? How could He take
my husband—or wife or child? How could He not hear my prayer and deliver me? Where is God
when I need Him?" People who think like that not only sentence themselves to doubt but also miss
what's actually the strongest source of assurance: proven faith.


Romans 5 says, "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ ... and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our
tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been
poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (vv. 1-5). We're to rejoice in our trials because
they produce hope and assurance.


"Consider it all joy," says James, "when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your
faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and
complete, lacking in nothing" (1:2-4). Rather than causing you to doubt, the trials of life are to prove
God's love and power your behalf.


Through all you must endure in life, remember this: "God is not unjust so as to forget your work and
the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the
saints... [therefore] show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the
promises" (Hebrews 6:10-12, emphasis added). Handle your difficulties by being diligent and patient.
The reward is a full assurance of hope.


Trials are the crucible in which assurance is formed. Remember Paul's great statement that nothing
could separate him from the love of God? Note the context of his assurance: "Who will separate us
from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,
or sword? Just as it is written, 'For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were
considered as sheep to be slaughtered'" (Romans 8:35-36). Paul had experienced all that, yet he
was certain of his relationship with God. What convinces you of your salvation? it's the Word of God
and your tested faith.


Fleshliness
 

One of the most important ways the Holy Spirit ministers to believers is by assuring them of their
salvation. A believer who's not living by the Spirit's power forfeits that important ministry. Let's look
again at Romans 8: "You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have
received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (v. 15). ("Abba" is the
Aramaic equivalent of "Daddy.") We have been adopted into God's family and are on intimate terms
with Him. How do we know that's true? Because "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" (vv. 16-17).


In it was very common to adopt, and each adoption had to be verified by seven witnesses. That was
to ensure someone would be around to confirm the legitimate claim of the heir to his inheritance.
Now if anyone questions your claim to your eternal inheritance, there is a witness who was present
at the moment of your adoption: the Holy Spirit, whom Isaiah 11:2 describes as the sevenfold Spirit.
He will step forward and bear witness that you are indeed an adopted child of God and have a lawful
claim to an eternal inheritance.
How does the Holy Spirit bear witness that we are God's children? In a n

umber of ways. The first is
by illuminating Scripture so we can understand it. First Corinthians 2 says, "It is written, 'Things
which eye has not seen and ear not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that
God has prepared for those who love Him.' For to God revealed them through the Spirit" (vv. 9-10).
As we study the Word of God about those promises, the Spirit makes them real to us.


The second way the Spirit bears witness is through salvation. First John 4:13-15 says, "By we know
that we abide in Him and He in because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify
that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the
Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." The Holy Spirit came and showed us the
gospel—that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that by confessing Him as such, we come to know
God.


Another way in which the Spirit bears witness is by drawing us into fellowship with God. Galatians 4
says, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!
Father!'" (v. 6). The Spirit produces prayer, praise, and worship—a crying out to God as our Father.
Yet another way He bears witness is the fruit He produces in us: love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The flesh
certainly doesn't produce those things. It knows lust, but not true love. It knows momentary
happiness, but not settled joy. It knows a moment of calm, but not a deep inner peace. The fruit of
the Spirit is evidence that you belong to God. So is the outworking of His mighty power in us through
evangelism and other Christian ministries (cf. Acts 1:8).


The Spirit's witness is not some little voice that says, "Yes, yes, you really are a Christian." It's so
much more. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God for us, leads us to faith and love for Christ,
draws us into intimate fellowship with God through worship and prayer, produces in us the graces
characteristic of a redeemed nature, and makes us effective in Christian service.


Thomas Brooks concludes the matter: "The Spirit is the great revealer of the Father's secrets, he lies
in the bosom of the Father, he knows every name that is written in the book of life; he is best
acquainted with the inward workings of the heart of God towards poor sinners; he is the great
comforter and the only sealer up of souls to the day of redemption. If you grieve by your willful
sinning he that alone can gladden you, who then will make you glad?" (Heaven on Earth, p. 152,
emphasis added). If you grieve or quench the Spirit by walking in the flesh, you short-circuit His
ministries to you and will lack assurance as a result.


Disobedience


Perhaps the most obvious reason for lacking assurance is because assurance is the reward for
obedience. Hebrews 10:22 strongly points that out: "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full
assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed
with pure water." It's been well said that high degrees of assurance cannot be enjoyed by those who
persist in low levels of obedience. To live in sin is to live in doubt.


Listen to the testimony of Charles Spurgeon:


Whenever I feel that I have sinned and desire to overcome that sin for the future, the devil at the
same time comes to me and whispers, "How can you be a pardoned person and accepted with God
while you still sin in this way?" If I listen to this I drop into despondency, and if I continued in that
state I should fall into despair, and should commit sin more frequently than before; but God's grace
comes in and says to my soul, "Thou hast sinned; but did not Christ come to save sinners? Thou art
not saved because thou art righteous; for Christ died for the ungodly." And my faith says, "Though I
have sinned, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and though I am guilty
yet by grace I am saved and I am a child of God still." And what then? Why the tears begin to flow
and I say, "How could I ever sin against my God who has been so good to me? Now I will overcome
that sin," and I get strong to fight with sin through the conviction that I am God's child.


Here's a practical way of dealing with sin: deal with a major sin in your life and the rest will follow.
When the general is killed, the troops scatter. By the means of grace available to every believer, slay
the sins you find most compelling and familiar—your pet sins—and the others will soon disappear.
And when you fall into sin, quickly set out to conquer that sin and be aware that Satan will try to
make you doubt your salvation. Fall back on the forgiving grace of God, and it will strengthen you for
battle.


Conclusion


If you're lacking assurance—if you're plagued with doubts and have lost your joy, become useless in
Christian service, empty in worship, cold in praise, passionless in prayer, and vulnerable to false
teachers—whatever the problem, know there is a cure: obeying God's Word in the power of the
Spirit.


Let's take the first step toward doing that by applying an ancient technique—a question-and-answer
process known as a catechism—to help us think through what God's Word teaches about assurance.
The Greek word means "to echo back." So echo back God's truth as you slowly and thoughtfully
read the following:


- Question: What is the essential duty a person has in this world? Consummating a saving
relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, which is to recognize His work on the cross and His
resurrection from the dead as the satisfying atonement for sin, and to walk in accordance with
that relationship.


- Question: Don't all members of the church have a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?
No, only those who are truly saved.


- Question: How can I be certain I have that saving relationship? The Lord will have done in your
soul His own sovereign will—that of calling you to Himself through a work of conviction and
humiliation so you will have discovered your sin and misery, and, being so seriously agitated and
threatened by it, you long for the Savior.


- Question: How can I know if I've made sufficient discovery and admission of my sin? By taking
salvation to your heart above any other pursuit in life. It will make Christ, your Redeemer, very
precious to your soul. It will make you fear sin, repent, and seek to be saved on God's terms.


- Question: What's another way of discerning a saving relationship to Christ? A strong and serious
affection that reaches toward Christ as He is progressively revealed to you in the gospel. Such
love is the product of saving belief.


- Question: Are there other marks of a relationship with Christ? You are truly saved when you have
been made a whole new person, graciously changed and renewed. That is best evidenced by a
desire to shun sin and pattern your life in obedience toward God's righteous demands.


- Question: What if I find prevailing over me? Although every sin deserves eternal vengeance, if
you regularly confess your sins with unhypocritical repentance and shame before God—fleeing to
Christ for forgiveness for all known and unknown iniquities—He will grant you mercy and pardon
because you stand in grace, and your salvation is forever secure.

 

- Question: What if my sins are serious and repeated? Whatever they are, Jesus Christ has paid
the price for them so that if you sincerely and earnestly have turned to Him in repentant faith, you
will never enter into condemnation. Moreover, His gracious provision for those who believe
includes to overcome sin and live righteously


- Question: Is faith alone the requirement for salvation? Yes, it is the only basis upon which God
offers peace and pardon to mankind. However, faith—if it is genuine—will not be alone in the
soul, but will always be accompanied by true repentance and an eager desire to conform to
God's will and way.


- Question: How can I be sure I've settled my eternal destiny with the Lord? Express with your
mouth to God what the Holy Spirit through Scripture has led you to believe in your heart.

 

- Question: What are the results of a relationship with Christ? Union and communion with God
here, and blessed fellowship and glory hereafter.

 

- Question: How can I come to full assurance that I have such a relationship? By affirming the
promises of God as revealed in Scripture by the internal witness of the Spirit, and by manifesting
real and righteous fruit born out of love for the Person of Christ and the desire to bring Him honor
and glory.

 

Don't continue to live with doubts about your eternal salvation. Rather, live with the blessed
assurance God wants you to enjoy as His child.

_________________________________________________________________________________________


©1990 by John MacArthur. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise identified, all Scripture quotations
are from the New American Standard Bible, ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, and
1995 by The Lockman Foundation, and are used by permission.


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