Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blessed Assurance

(Edited for tone and content 5-7-2013)

One of our family’s favorite hymns is Blessed Assurance, by Fanny Crosby.

Verse one-
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Chorus –
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

Verse two –
Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Verse three –
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

The thing that strikes me as odd now, as I look back, is that we often sang these verses heartily… all the while living another doctrine.

Where does the assurance of my salvation come from? Where did I go wrong before?

In the past, Paul and I were deceived into thinking that we could not really be sure of our salvation unless we were living a holy life. (I have written on this before… check the label “legalism,” so that I do not have to explain it again here.) We were verbally preaching/teaching salvation is by grace alone through Jesus alone. But, we were living a lifestyle that betrayed that verbal belief with what was truly in our hearts.

I got into this awful position where I felt like I had to be perfect in order to be sure of my salvation. That is, afterall, the logical conclusion for a person who is trying to please God by living just the right way – dotting every i, crossing every t. My assurance was almost entirely external…
- Am I dressing modestly?
- Should I be wearing a head covering?
- Are we listening to the right music?
- Are we schooling my children the right way?
- Are we disciplining my children the right way?
- Am I having a daily “quiet time”?
- Are we having daily family worship?
- Are we doing “church” just the right way?
- Are we eating all the right foods, and abstaining from the wrong ones?
- Am I following all the rules that I read in various books, blogs, and magazines?

Have you been there, friend? Are you there now? When you think about God looking at you – either now or on the final day of judgment – do you see Him measuring your salvation mainly by your deeds? For me, I KNEW that Jesus was the person who provided salvation to a person. BUT, I also thought, “A true believer will show they are a Christian by living the right way.” That is true, in part… but I took it to the point of making my outward actions my assurance for salvation, rather than my belief in Jesus’ blood and righteousness covering my sins.

Now, I am still struggling to undo this mindset that thinks I can earn holiness. I am constantly reminding myself (and Paul reminds me as well) that my righteousness, my forgiveness, is in Jesus alone!!! And, while we should expect a change in the lifestyle of a true believer – this is NOT the assurance of salvation.

Remember John 6:28-29? Jesus said:
Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (NASB)

The true work we need to continually apply ourselves to is believing in Jesus Christ. Believing in His sacrificial death on the cross. Believing in His sinless life. Believing in His ability to save us from our own sins.

What Paul and I are coming to see is that our former “grace plus works” philosophy was a slap in the face of our Father and our Savior. It was as though we were saying “Jesus death on the cross was very important. But, I cannot truly believe I am saved unless I am also following all the right rules.”

Um… I think we must have forgotten what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians chapter two.
 "We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Gal 2:15-16 (NASB – emphasis mine)

Our assurance of our salvation will NEVER be our external acts, our keeping of the law (be it the Torah or other man-made rules that we get caught up in, like those I mentioned earlier in this post). Our assurance will always be in Christ alone and His ability to save us from our sins.

It is not too late to repent! You can apologize to God for believing in your own works more than His mighty work on the cross. He WILL forgive you! He still loves you!
There is still time to start over. We serve the God who makes all things new… daily!


Mama Hen said...

Amen and amen sister!

Steve & Paula said...

I have never viewed doing these things as earning or keeping salvation, and honestly have met very few who do! I know they are out there, and its a shame that its done, but none of this has crossed my mind.
Sure I cover and wear mostly skirts, and am careful about what music I listen to and what foods I place in my body (my life depends on it) but so what?
Unless the Scriptures have a hidden passage that states that these are things that we are to set aside as worldly when we take up the cross of Christ, I cannot agree.
I realize its easy to cross over to works only, but a disciplined life in Christ does not allow for that.

Bethany in mid-MO said...

I am glad to hear that you are more balanced than I have been.
Blessings to you,

Steve & Paula said...

Hey, I could "almost" meet you right now.
Iam visiting my parents, as my dad had a liver transplant last week.
No car though, so I will just have to wave in your direction.

In no way am I accusing you of being unbalanced, but something I see over and over, is believers embracing all of Scripture, burning themselves out for whatever reason, and then running from the change, while stating that they were deceived into living a non Biblical life.
I honestly believe that the more Satan can confuse a believer and keep him from steadiness in the Lord, the more he souls he wins in the end.

I think about the way the apostles were sent out, and what we know of the early church.
We have allowed most of that to be set aside as ancient history, and explain it away as not for today. All in the name of freedom in Christ.
All the while forgetting that freedom may not mean what we want it to.

Eh...I'm rambling now, lol!