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Assurance (part 2)


Assurance (part 2)

Our confession, the Second London Baptist Confession, covers the doctrine of Assurance extensively in chapter 18. I previously addressed some of the Scripture references found in that chapter. Click here to read part 1.


Continuing onward in our quest for assurance, we see from the pages of Scripture that being secure in Christ by grace through faith doesn’t always  translate into full assurance that we are His and He is ours. If you recall the theme from Deeply Rooted 2023 (look for those sessions to be released soon on the Deeply Rooted Podcast) was the Martin Luther Quote.


“When I look at myself I don’t see how I can be saved, but when I look at Christ I don’t see how I can be lost.”

Now, to the Scriptures.

 

Who is among you that fears the Lord,

That obeys the voice of His servant,

That walks in darkness and has no light?

Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. ~Isaiah 50:40 NASB 95

 

What is the first thing that jumps out here? The phrase “among you.” He’s talking to people who were in the family. Isaiah points out that they were part of Israel, but they were still not fearing the Lord, nor were they obeying. If I sin, am I booted out of the family of God? No, but I may feel as if God is far from me when I am seeking the thing He hates. My assurance meter goes to zero when I am walking in darkness.  I am still justified by grace through faith, but my perception of that reality is darkened by sin. What is Isaiah’s remedy?  Repent, repent, repent. That was essentially the message of every prophet. Trust God. Rely on Him. That Luther quote above isn’t just a catchy phrase to put on a t-shirt, it is the remedy for lack of assurance.  Look to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

O Lord, the God of my salvation,

I have cried out by day and in the night before You.

2 Let my prayer come before You;

Incline Your ear to my cry!

3 For my soul has had enough troubles,

And my life has drawn near to Sheol.

4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit;

I have become like a man without strength,

5 Forsaken among the dead,

Like the slain who lie in the grave,

Whom You remember no more,

And they are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have put me in the lowest pit,

In dark places, in the depths.

7 Your wrath has rested upon me,

And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah.

8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me;

You have made me an object of loathing to them;

I am shut up and cannot go out.

9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction;

I have called upon You every day, O Lord;

I have spread out my hands to You.

10 Will You perform wonders for the dead?

Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah.

11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave,

Your faithfulness in Abaddon?

12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?

And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help,

And in the morning my prayer comes before You.

14 O Lord, why do You reject my soul?

Why do You hide Your face from me?

15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on;

I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.

16 Your burning anger has passed over me;

Your terrors have destroyed me.

17 They have surrounded me like water all day long;

They have encompassed me altogether.

18 You have removed lover and friend far from me;

My acquaintances are in darkness. ~Psalm 88 NASB 95

 

The Psalmist is in agony over his situation, but he knows on whom to call. He calls on the Lord. The supplications of the Psalmist are laced with tears and the attributes of God. He knows where his trust lies, to whom he prays, and in whom all his comfort rests, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us look at a few key words within this Psalm. Right off the bat, we see two important themes in the very first line; covenants and salvation. He addresses God as all-caps Lord, the covenant name for God, Yahweh.  This name reflects the faithfulness of God, the steadfastness of His character, the immovableness of His name. What a reminder of who God is! Still in the first line, we see “the God of my salvation.” The Psalmist sees his wretchedness and his need for a savior as he progresses to understanding that the only one qualified to save is God Himself, our mighty Warrior King who accomplishes salvation for His people.

He tells God all of his pain. In the words of hymn-writer, Elisha Hoffman,

 

“I must tell Jesus all of my trials;

I cannot bear these burdens alone;

In my distress He kindly will help me;

He ever loves and cares for His own.”

 

We tell Him our troubles in prayer, and the great Triune God of the universe tells us who He is in the Holy Scriptures. The Psalmist knows God is able to do as He wishes. He calls on Him as the God who “performs wonders,” has “lovingkindness,” is “faithful,” is “righteous,” and is certainly able to hear his pleas for relief and communion. Reconciliation is what the Psalmist desires, reconciliation to the Mighty Fortress over all creation.

Although the Psalmist agonizes over why these trials are coming his way, he knows to whom he can share the pain. Our Lord Jesus is a sympathetic High Priest who has experienced pain, exhaustion, abandonment, betrayal, etc. We can tell Jesus because He is the God-Man. He is the only one qualified to reconcile sinful man back to holy God. That is where your assurance lies, in the Lord Jesus Christ; the One who lived perfectly, died substitutionally, and rose victoriously.

 

Health problems. Look to Christ.

Family troubles. Look to Christ.

Lost a job, lost a friend. Look to Christ.

Does God feel far away in your troubles? Look to Him all the more. Will He make those problems disappear? Maybe, maybe not, but they will seem small and distant compared to the magnificent glory of Christ. If you are a Christian, God is not punishing you; Christ was already punished on your behalf.

Look to Christ, your assurance lies entirely within Him.

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