Wish there were some way I could post these earlier. I feel like the sitcom character who said, “Good evening! This is Arnold Horshack. It’s now 6:48, and it’s time for the six o’clock news.” (A very special prize to the person who can identify that sitcom character. No Googling, please!)
Anyway, last night we talked about assurance of the saints. We didn’t get far, though. We discussed two false ideas/views about assurance. First, there is the, “Just do your best and hope for the rest” attitude. This assurance is no assurance at all. I remember giving a (rather twisted) example: buying a house. How would you feel if, after you’ve paid the downpayment for the house, religiously paid your monthly dues, and at the end still had to hope that the house would be yours?
The second bad idea about assurance is the, “assurer is your converter idea.” This is when the pastor or evangelist assures someone of salvation immediately after a confession of faith, mainly because the savee (ugh) walked the aisle, raised his hands, or said a little prayer at the encouragement of the pastor/evangelist. I mean: How does the pastor know that the person is truly saved? Now, I’m not saying that there was no genuine conversion in the first place. All I’m saying is that we should be more careful in giving out words of assurance when we’re not really sure of it ourselves. How many false converts are churned out because Christians who should know better, don’t know better.
Another idea I tossed out was to use John 3:16 as a means of assurance. Perhaps you’ve heard of this. A person has doubts about his salvation. Someone (presumably his pastor) comes along and says, “Take your name and apply it to John 3:16.” Let’s say your name is Timbukto S. Procopio III. Taking your name and applying it to the verse would turn out, “For God so loved Timbukto S. Procopio III, that he gave his only begotten son, that if Timbukto S. Procopio III would believe in him, Timbukto S. Procopio III would not perish but have everlasting life.” The pastor/or whoever then ends with, “You believed didn’t you? Congratulations!” I made this overly simplistic, but you get the idea. Overall I find the idea of using this method downright repulsive to common sense. The pastor who says this should spend less time preaching and teaching and more time being humbled and broken before the Word of God. He’s obviously not reading it enough.
Before I ended the Bible Study, I assured (pun intended) that there was indeed true assurance. God’s Holy Spirit works in accordance with His holy Word in delivering that assurance to the believer. Stay tuned for more next week.
Finitum non capax infinitum.