Biblical Assurance of Salvation

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by zrs6v4, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
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    Recently a friend and I were discussing Biblical assurance of salvation or how one can be sure that he or she is truly born again. We went back and forth for awhile. Today I listened to a question and answer session where the preacher was asked this very question.

    I will not get into great detail on my view, but it seems as though when one is truly saved he should know it. I have heard a lot of talk about look back into your life, look at your fruits, how are you living now, and so forth. I agree that many of those things can have some merit. My issue is that assurance, if it is defined correctly should be something that carries no doubts at all. We shouldn't be unsure whether we know God or not. I am sure I know my mom very well and have a relationship with her and it should be the same with God in my mind. The issue is I find that many people when they are honest and questioned (whether theological or not) have no assurance. At best there assurance is based on how they have been faithful. I'll stop here and give some questions for discussion:

    1. Define what Biblical assurance is with your own words? Is it certain with no doubts or does it carry some doubt with it? why or why not?

    2. How would you answer the question: how do I know I am saved? or how can I gain assurance of salvation.

    At some point I will insert my two cents, but I want to here some explanations beforehand.
     
  2. Aaron

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    The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, Rom. 8:16.

    The Spirit is the source of assurance. He is the only source. He is the One who quickens the heart, opens the eyes and empowers the believer. He is the source of faith.

    But to say that true believers cannot have doubts is simply untrue. In fact, the better that one knows himself, the more reason he has to doubt his salvation. I never direct one to look toward himself for evidence, but only prayerfully to the Scriptures and to the Christ of which they testify. It's Christ's work that saves, not any work that one himself has done. Not his prayer. Not the raising of his hand with his head bowed and eyes closed. Not his decision. Not his baptism. Not any act of devotion or charity. But Christ and Christ alone.

    But the fact that God's children can be unsure of their lives is eminently alluded to in 1 John 5:13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Doubts of believers are the reason he wrote.
     
  3. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Amen brother:thumbs:
     
  4. Old Union Brother

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    I wish that I had said that, Aaron. Very well said!!!
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    I appeal to Romans 11:29
     
  6. 12strings

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    I agree with most of you post, except for this one line (bolded). I suppose you could say that The H.S. is the source of the other areas of assurance, then I would agree. But if you mean that the "spirit bears witness to our spirit" as the ONLY source of assurance, I think we have a few others; notably our love for God and hatred of sin as an imitation of Christ (heb. 1:9). I think asking a doubting person, who may have trouble sensing the holy spirit, or even understanding what that means...."Do you Love Jesus for dying for your sins? ...Do you hate sin, do you hate your own sin?" I think someone who can honestly answer those 2 questions in the affirmative can have great assurance of salvation.

    I do agree that the human mind and heart always will have the capacity to doubt itself, which is why we cannot ultimately base our assurance on introspection, but by looking to Christ and seeing him as all-sufficient. If I can look to Christ and say, "even with all my doubts, Jesus and his sacrifice are enough for me, to deal with my sins and doubts. He is sufficient. If i can do that, I can have great asssurance that I am truly his. If I cannot...if I think Jesus' death and resurection might not be enough to save me, then I have good reason to doubt, and should "test myself to see if I be in the faith."
     
  7. convicted1

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    I stand up with you, Bro. Jeff, and second it.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    If the bible did not tell us how to know then anyone's explanation would be as good as anyone else. However the bible does tell us point blank how to know and there is no exceptions, so any explanation other then what the bible says is just wrong. Here is what the bible says;

    1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Now we need to know what things.

    1 John 2:3-6 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
    He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    V: 9, 10 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
    He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

    1 John 3:7-10 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth (practices) righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
    He that committeth (practices) sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
    Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (practice) sin, because he is born of God.
    In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not (practice) righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

    Then finally the knowing is sealed in assurance by the Spirit and He only does it if the perosn is doing what it mentioned above;
    Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    If you do not understand those verses on keeping the commandments click this link
    http://www.gerald285.com/web_media/BirthmarksofaBeliever.32.mp3
     
    #8 freeatlast, Nov 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2011
  9. MB

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    ZRs6V4;
    You asked something a lot of people do not understand in my opinion.
    I know I'm saved because the Bible tells me so.

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    I have simply been convinced.

    The thing that makes us all doubt is when we rely on our own understanding or, the understanding of others. We all only know what we have experinced. I have experinced Salvation. I simply will never forget it.
    Doubt on the other hand is the opposite of trust.

    In order to obtain assurance one must be convinced. If I needed assurance I would seek God for it, because this is where assurance comes from. It part of the convincing we get from the Holy Spirit.
    Blessed assurance comes only from God
    MB
     
  10. zrs6v4

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    Thanks guys i agree with much of what all of you have said. I agree the bible is our source using systematic theology. All that has been said is the traditional approach.

    I did not find anyones definition of assurance in their post "in their own words". Im reading from a phone so forgive me if i missed. Im going to read again when i get home.

    Arron said we can have assurance with appeal to romans 8 and then said we can have doubts. In my mind, although i agree, how can we be sure and then have doubts which imply uncertainty?

    Is assurance a one time forever thing or does it come and go based on our closeness to God?

    Ill let you all take it from here.
     
  11. glfredrick

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    It all comes down to faith in a never-changing God who can do what He says He can do -- both that he is able and competent, and that He is willing.

    Additionally, this is not the sort of faith that occurs in mere religious exercise, which is primarily humanly-driven. This is the faith that happens when one is justified, adopted, regenerated, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, at which time everything Aaron wrote so well above comes into play.

    So, faith is either a gift of God's grace that leads to true life and true regeneration or faith is an exercise of the human heart and of no eternal consequence, allowing one to walk away, be convinced away, or to be able to "sin" themselves out of God's kingdom. Such can never happen if salvation is of God, hence the promises that no one can ever snatch us from His hand.
     
  12. freeatlast

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    That does not tell you how to know. It tells you how to get saved, but not how to know.
     
  13. MB

    MB
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    If knowing you are saved isn't assurance. What is?
     
  14. freeatlast

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    Knowing how to be saved is not assurance it happened. Assurance is not faith in faith. There is only one way to know.Read post #8
     
  15. MB

    MB
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    Like I posted before;
    Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    With out trust in the Lord men cannot have assurance.

    You want a check list. ok! but if you fail on one point you don't have any assurance. Do you keep all of His commandments. If so then you must be perfect. You see the check list doesn't consider the righteousness of Christ. I wear His righteousness because mine is as filthy rags so is yours. Simply trust is assurance.
    MB
     
  16. freeatlast

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    MB I did not set the standards, God did. if you fail in those standards and still claim to know you are saved God says this;
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    If you do not know what it means to keep the commandments I gave a link, but no matter what you want or believe if a person is not keeping them and claim to be saved God says they are a liar.

    What you are doing is why Jesus warned with this verse.
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


    Here is the link again. It might be wise to take time and listen.
    http://www.gerald285.com/web_media/BirthmarksofaBeliever.32.mp3
     
  17. zrs6v4

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    Thanks again for further comments. I love this conversation and have to leave for work in 30 mins. I will do a lengthy post on this when I get a shot. Sorry I keep prolonging my view after starting the thread.

    To comment briefly, yes assurance is synonamous with knowing you are saved. That is the point in assurance to know we belong to God and no longer having to doubt if God is or is not using us for good, if we are going to spend eternity with or without Him, and so forth.

    I will go back to my main purpose in beginning this thread. I have spent hours discussing this topic with people who (including myself) go through periods of struggle, who doubt their salvation at times, and so forth. My central purpose in this thread is to at minimum get to the bottom of the main contradiction (or paradox?) of the issue of assurance.

    If we look at Hebrews 11 it defines faith as an assurance of things unseen. Assurance here is in direct connection with lack of doubt (no doubts). It seems to me that when we try to define assurance of salvation we try to allow for space for uncertainty of who we really are. In my mind if there is any uncertainty at all then one cannot have assurance. At best he can say I have confidence, but there are some loose ends still.

    Do not forget my previous questions but can one have assurance and still experience some doubt (If there is doubt, then what does your definition of assurance mean)? Most arguments made so far when thought out practically and reasoned in line with reality are insufficient. I agree that it is tied in direct connection with our election and our faith wrought by the Holy Spirit, but how do we look at ourselves (especially when understanding the possibility of great deception in our depraved beings) and know we are saved?

    My answer would also be Christ-centered as many have appealed to, namely in connection with Romans 8 where the Spirit bears witness. Again I will present my view as soon as I get a shot to help develope a better explanation for problematic questions I and others I know have been trying to deal with.
     
  18. zrs6v4

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    MB,

    quick question: Do you think assurance is tied directly in with our trust and submission to the Holy Spirit? Why?

    If this is your position then would you say our assurance comes and goes with our ups and downs to some degree?

    Then finally, if our assurance comes and goes (it isn't consistent) then all true believers don't always have assurance unless they remain close to the Lord their entire lives in trust?

    Lastly, what are the positive and negative implications that come from this type of view of assurance?

    Thanks again
     
  19. psalms109:31

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    Hebrews 3:
    7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    8 do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
    9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
    10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
    11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

    12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”

    16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

    Hebrews 4
    1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[Some manuscripts because those who heard did not combine it with faith] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

    “So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”[Psalm 95:11; also in verse 5]

    And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[Gen. 2:2] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

    6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”[Psalm 95:7,8]

    8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[Or labor] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

    12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.


    Matthew 11:
    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”



    My security is simple

    1 Peter 2:6
    For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

    John 20:27
    Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
    28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

    29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


    What security do i need in if i don't believe. I don't need security in something i don't believe in, if I have security in something i don't believe in than it really doesn't matter to me.

    Who are the one's emotionally looking for hope for them?


    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
     
    #19 psalms109:31, Nov 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2011
  20. zrs6v4

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    Ps109:

    So you are saying belief is a sided coin with security? In other words belief and the reality of christ brings assurance?

    So are doubts a sign of unbelief?
     

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