Assurance of Salvation
How may I know I am justified? How may I be sure that I am clear in the presence of God? How may I be certain that my sins are blotted out from His book?
Such questions as these are often being asked by those who are anxious to be at peace with God and to be assured that all is well with them for eternity.
Many a reader recalls the time when he was in the deepest trouble and distress because of uncertainty as to how it stood between him and a holy, sin-hating God; and many another reader is, I doubt not, in that trouble and distress still.
Let me tell you the story of one who passed from the stormy sea of doubt into the harbour of perfect rest. It may be that his history may help you.
F—, like many, had been brought up under the sound of a half-gospel, which is in truth no gospel at all. He had heard that Christ died for our sins upon the cross, and that simple faith in Him brought salvation; but added to this was that which spoiled it all, for it was said that Christ having done His part we were to do ours, and ours was to walk aright and to keep the law, and if we in any way failed of this, if we sinned, we were lost again, and needed to be converted afresh.
The effect of this was to turn F— in upon himself, and when he felt happy he hoped it was well with him and that he really was a true Christian; but perhaps the next day he felt down and was subjected to temptation, and then he was plunged into uncertainty and thought he could not be a child of God at all.
Sometimes he was “on the mountain top,” and all was then clear and bright; but more often he was “in the valley,” and there mist and gloom filled his soul.
At length he was spoken to directly by a fellow-apprentice, who asked him the question, “F—, are you saved?”
F— stammered out a faltering “Yes!” for he really hoped that that was the case, but could not speak with certainty concerning it.
However, the conversations which followed were used of God to give light and peace to him, for he at length saw two things clearly—
A FINISHED WORK
A FAITHFUL WORD.
The finished work was the atoning work of Jesus the Son of God upon the cross, He who, having borne the judgment on account of sin, cried “It is finished,” as He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
The Son of God is risen again from the dead, and because His work is finished He has sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. He is no longer in the darkness of the cross, no longer crying, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” All that is past, and past for ever.
“He lives to die no more;
Joy dwells upon His brow;
His agonies untold are o’er—
He triumphs now.”
“This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12).
F— heard of all this with rapt attention. He had thought of Christ dying upon the cross for his sins, but had never looked to Him as a living Saviour seated at the right hand of God without his sins; neither had he heard of a finished work of redemption. He had thought that part was done by Christ and part had to be done by himself.
Then, too, F— was now told that God’s faithful word had been given because of the finished work having been all done by Christ on the cross, and that the gospel was good news about Christ and about what He had wrought.
That faithful word is the unaltering word of God, who tells us in the clearest way possible that in His sight every sinner who believes the glad tidings of the gospel is cleared from every charge.
Two verses were of the greatest blessing to him. They were Acts 13:38-39—
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through
is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and
BY HIM ALL THAT BELIEVE ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS,
from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
From these and other passages he saw that the gospel was—
(1) Something to be known.
(2) That it was about Christ.
(3) That the forgiveness of sins was preached.
(4) That by Christ all who believe are justified from all things.
F— knew that he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, but he had never heard what a fortune of blessing was his, being assured to him by the spoken word of God, that he was “justified from all things,” that neither man nor demon nor devil could bring a charge which would stand, for God righteously cleared him of all. Because
CHRIST HAD SUFFERED FOR SINNERS,
GOD HAD SPOKEN TO SINNERS
such words of peace and rest.
Often did F— turn to those verses, and of course found that they never altered. Thus he learned to say—
“I change, He changes not;
My Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting-place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.”
Years have rolled by, and F— has many a time told the good news from those verses in Acts 13.
Dear anxious reader, could anything be simpler than God’s message contained in those blessed words? He makes Himself known as a forgiving God, telling out to men the goodness of forgiveness THROUGH CHRIST, not through law-keeping, or churchgoing, or vow-performing, or prayer-saying, or sacrament-taking. No; forgiveness is
THROUGH CHRIST AND THROUGH CHRIST ALONE.
But you say, How am I to know it is mine? The next words answer that difficulty in the plainest manner. “And
ALL THAT BELIEVE
ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS.”
The first line tells of the right Person.
The second line tells of the right people.
The third line tells of the right blessing.
Are you in the second line? Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God? Then the word of the living God, who cannot lie, assures you that you are justified from all things.
Mark well that word ARE. It tells of that which is—not of what we feel, but of what is. God would not deceive us. He would not mislead us. He means what He says, and says what He means.
Take Him at His word. Rest on what Christ has done and on what God has declared. Do not look in at what you are and at what you feel, but look back to the cross, where Christ suffered; look up to the throne, where Christ sits; and look into the Scriptures, where God speaks to you. Place your feet in simple trust on the two immovable rocks—
CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK AND GOD’S FAITHFUL WORD.
Then shall abiding peace be your portion.
Scattered Seed 1901, p. 11