Monday, January 31, 2011

The benefits of salvation assurance for the Christian (series)

by J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool

Many (Christians) miss the full tide of blessedness the Gospel is meant to convey. Many keep themselves in a low and starved condition of soul, while their Lord is saying “Eat and drink abundantly, O beloved.” “Ask and receive, that your joy may be full (Cant. V. 1, John 16:24)
Let us remember then, for one thing, that assurance (of eternal life with Jesus) is to be desired, because of the present comfort and peace it affords.

Doubts and fears have power to spoil much of the happiness of a true believer in Christ. Uncertainty and suspense are bad enough in any condition—in the matter of our health, our property, our families, our affections, our earthly callings—but never so bad as in the affairs of our souls. And so long as a believer cannot get beyond “I hope” he manifestly feels a degree of uncertainty about his spiritual state. The very word implies as much. He says “I hope” because he dares not say, “I know.”

Now assurance goes far to set a child of God free from this painful kind of bondage, and thus ministers mightily to his comfort. It enables him to feel that the great business of life is a settled business, the great debt a paid debt, the great disease a healed disease. And the great work a finished work; and all other business, diseases, debts, and works, are then by comparison small. In this way, assurance makes him patient in tribulation, calm under bereavements, unmoved in sorrow, not afraid of evil tidings, in every condition content, for it gives him a fixedness of heart. It sweetens his bitter cups; it lessens the burden of his crosses; it smooths the rough places over which he travels; it lightens the valley of the shadow of death. It makes him always fee that he has something solid beneath his feet, and something firm under his hands—a sure friend by the way, and a sure home at the end.

Assurance will help a man to bear poverty and loss. It will teach him to say, “I know that I have in heaven a better and more enduring substance. Silver and gold have I none, but grace and glory are mine, and these can never make themselves wings and fly away. Though the fig tree shall not blossom, y et I will rejoice in the Lord.” (Habbak. 3:17,18.)

Assurance will support a child of God under the heaviest bereavements, and assist him to feel “It is well.” An assured soul will say, “Though beloved ones are taken from me, yet Jesus is the same, and is alive forevermore. Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more. Though my house be not as flesh and blood could wish, yet I have an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.” (2 Kings 4:26; Heb. 13:8; Rom 6:9. 2 Sam. 23:5.)
(May you be blest by reading the above—more to come. Bro Jim)