Summary: There are fewer things so frequently neglected, or so often taken for granted, as the matter of MAKING SURE that we are in a state of grace and salvation.
“The Duty and Blessedness of Biblical Assurance”
Text: Read; 2 Peter 1:1-11
Intro: I think that it was Thomas Watson who once said, ‘There are two things that are very hard for the preacher to do; <1st> Make the godly glad; <2nd> Make the ungodly sad.’
I think that most of us would agree, that there is nothing so vitally important as the salvation of our souls. Yet, in my opinion, there are fewer things so frequently neglected, or so often taken for granted, as the matter of MAKING SURE that we are in a state of grace and salvation.
This evening, I want to try to give you a biblical answer to the question, How can I know for sure that I am a Christian? And I would like to address this subject under TWO HEADINGS. First, I want to set forth;
1. THE DUTY OF BIBLICAL ASSURANCE.
2. THE BLESSEDNESS OF BIBLICAL ASSURANCE.
First of all, consider with me;
I. THE DUTY OF MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE IN A STATE OF GRACE - look at our text (v.10)... “Therefore” – or in view of the tremendous realities of the fullness of God’s grace toward those identified as “brethren,” we have the blessed realities of:
v. 1> … having obtained ‘Like precious faith’ – that is, we have the same kind of solid persuasion and settled reliance of the soul upon Jesus Christ as the true God and only Savior of sinners; - the same valuable faith that the apostles had—we have!
v. 2> … ‘Grace and Peace multiplied to you’ – God’s sanctifying favor and special enablment attached and multiplied together with the quiet confidence and composure of Christ in the midst of trials, troubles, and temptations—all of which comes to us through the KNOWLEDGE of God and Christ.
v. 3> … God’s power has given to us ‘All things that pertain to life and godliness’ – everything necessary to live the Christian life—which comes to us through the KNOWLEDGE of God.
v. 4> ‘By which have been given to us Exceedingly great and precious promises’ – by which we become partakers of God’s very nature.
Brethren, what more could God have done to provide such a great salvation for sinners like you and me? ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up…’
1. Some of the most COMMON ERRORS THAT PROMOTE A FALSE SENSE OF ASSURANCE for people who believe that they are Christians and may not be—is the teaching that says:
(1st) ‘YOU CAN BE SURE THAT YOU ARE CHRISTIAN IF YOU ONLY BELIEVE.’ - Assurance that a person is in a state of grace is not the same thing as faith. It is more than faith. We are told in (v.5) that we are to “add” to our faith.
If our faith is likened to a seed, then assurance is the fruit that is produced after the seed of faith has been planted and has grown awhile. Assurance is a developing grace and will increase only as we “grow in the grace and knowledge” of our Lord.
(2nd) ‘YOU CAN BE SURE THAT YOU ARE CHRISTIAN IF YOU HAVE DONE CERTAIN THINGS.’ - Our assurance of salvation is never based upon what we have done, but upon what God has done. Things like: going forward during an invitation, saying a prayer, getting baptized, joining the church, speaking in tongues (and the list goes on-and-on...). These things ARE NOT EVIDENCES that a person has become a real Christian. In fact, those who trust in what they have done, are not trusting in Christ.
(3rd) ‘YOU CAN BE SURE THAT YOU ARE SAVED IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THE DATE WHEN YOU FIRST TRUSTED CHRIST.’ - This idea is so ridiculously unbiblical, that it wouldn’t be worthy of our attention, except that so many people actually believe it. Our assurance has nothing to do with whether or not we can remember the date when we asked God to save us. This text does not say, ‘Be diligent to remember the day that you accepted Jesus or said the sinner’s prayer.’
* Recently, I asked someone the question, ‘Have you ever asked God to save you?’ – the response was a good one—‘Lots of times!’
(4th) ‘YOU CAN BE SURE THAT YOU ARE SAVED IF YOU ARE RESTING UPON THE PROMISES OF GOD.’ - Believing the promises of John 3:16, Rom 8:28, or Matt 6:33, is not biblical grounds for assurance. In fact, it may not even be real faith. It is not the promise, but the PERSON behind the promise, which we are to believe. (2 Tim 1:12> “..I know WHOM I have believed, and am persuaded..”
2. There are FOUR BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES RELATING TO TRUE ASSURANCE found in v.10 - The first one is the PRINCIPLE OF: