Updated: Nov 25
In case you haven’t heard (surely you hear it mentioned every time we meet or you turn on social media), Bass Chapel is part of a group of churches that are organizing a conference. This November 10 & 11, we will be having the second annual Deeply Rooted Conference at Grace Point Fellowship in Kingsport, TN. Register now at deeplyrootedconference.org.
This year’s theme will be on the doctrine of ASSURANCE. Especially in our corner of the world, northeast Tennessee, there are many ideas of whether or not a believer can have assurance of salvation. Many in our region and around the world have a sub-Scriptural view of assurance. Have you ever heard that you can lose your salvation? That is not Christian doctrine. “What if the last thing I do is sin?” Trust me, it will be sin, but if you are trusting in Christ you cannot be lost. You are joined to Him by grace alone through faith alone. “What if I sin more than I do good works?” Once again, you definitely sin more than you do good works; however, by faith alone, the Christian is credited with the perfect law-keeping of the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Conversely, there are a swath of people in our area who have a false assurance. They believe they are secure because they walked an aisle or repeated a prayer or signed a card; yet they have never bore any fruit thereof. If you are in Christ, I want you to have assurance of this; if you are the product of man-centered manipulation, I want you to know that you need to be born again. Chapter 8 of our confession, the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, addresses this doctrine. Let’s look at a few of the Scripture references noted in the confession. We stand on Scripture as our final authority, and Scripture overwhelmingly affirms that assurance is a thing to be grasped.
These things 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 LSB
KNOW is so important here. The apostle of love wants us to know that we belong to Christ. Does he say we know because we have read our Bible enough or because we walked enough little old ladies across the street or because we had perfect Sunday School attendance? No, he shows us it is those who believe in the name of the Son of God. Sola Fide, Faith Alone. How many times over the past year have Pastor Dave or I referenced THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH? We are united to Christ by faith alone. Don’t confuse the fruit (which is very important) with the root. Christ is the root of our salvation. Walking little old ladies across the street or going to Sunday school are fruit of salvation. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we boast in hope of the glory of God. ~Romans 5:2 LSB
Once again, we see what? BY FAITH. Faith alone is the conduit through which we receive the grace of God which unites us to Christ. Our hope is in Christ alone who is the image of the invisible God, by whom we see the glory of God alone.
We could just comment on all of Romans 5, but look down a few verses to verse 5.
And hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:5 LSB
We see that our justification is Trinitarian. We are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to us by the Father and Son. He makes us alive in Christ. He convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He comforts us in our affliction. He brings the new birth.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end. ~Hebrews 6:11 LSB
Christian, I can heartily say with the author of the letter to the Hebrews that I want you to realize the full assurance of hope. Keep your eyes on Christ. He is your only hope. Is your hope in your ability to sing or your ability to make money or your ability to _______________(fill in the blank)? Stop trusting yourself and trust the only one who is able to save, the Lord Jesus Christ. Trusting in self is what the lost world does, it leads to hell. Your works are stained by sin. You must have the perfect works of the Lord Jesus credited to your account by faith alone. This is full assurance, to look to Christ. The Hebrew audience to this letter were prone to trust in their genealogy, their bloodline that they could trace back to Abraham. No, they were no more likely to be granted salvation because of their Hebrew lineage than you are because your grandfather’s sister’s brother-in-law’s nephew’s cousin’s dog used to belong to a deacon. No, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. That is full assurance. For more assurance, keep reading the rest of Hebrews 6, or just read all of Hebrews. Pastor Dave has done a great job walking us through this wonderful epistle over the past few months.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and choosing sure; for in doing these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. ~2 Peter 1:10-11 LSB
Be sure that you’re sure is what Peter is getting at here. It’s easy to stumble on the phrase “never stumble.” Is Peter saying Christians won’t stumble into sin or have an easy life? No, He is saying that Christ assured your calling and He will see it through to the end. Christ supplies our justification, sanctification, and glorification.
See how great a love the Father has given to us, that we would be called children of God; and we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not been manifested as yet what we will be. We know that when He is manifested, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. ~1 John 3:1-3 LSB
For those in Christ, the Father loves you. He loves you with the same love with which He loves the Son, because when He sees you He sees His only begotten Son. That is assurance. We have been adopted as sons based on the works of another. Praise the Lord for such amazing grace. Do we ascribe a moody attitude to God when it comes to Him being our Father. Even a wicked earthly father does not cast his 3 year old daughter out of the family because she made a mess of things. Christian, do you believe a loving heavenly Father will cast you from His family. You cost Him far too much, you cost Him the blood of His only begotten Son.
This is such a rich doctrine of which I have only scratched the surface. We may pick this up in a later blog post. Know that you know that you know. Pick up your copy of the confession or read it online here.