Archive for the ‘assurance of salvation’ Category

Roman Catholics can have no assurance of salvation

May 4, 2010

The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for achieving justification.

Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

When the Biblical concept of justification has been lost or obscured then the grounds for assurance for the believer have been undermined. How sad. This is good reason to share the good news with a Catholic.

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no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but God will cause him to enter Paradise

December 24, 2009

Muhammad strode among his troops and issued a momentous promise —one that has given heart to Muslim warriors throughout the ages: “By God in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but God will cause him to enter Paradise.” One of the assembled Muslim warriors, ‘Umayr bin al-Humam, exclaimed: “Fine, Fine! Is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?” He flung away some dates that he had been eating, rushed into the thick of the battle, and fought until he was killed. In a similar vein, another Muslim warrior, ‘Auf bin Harith, asked Muhammad, “O apostle of God, what makes the Lord laugh with joy at His servant?” Muhammad answered: “When he plunges into the midst of the enemy without mail.” ‘Auf threw off his coat of mail and plunged into the thick of the battle, fighting tenaciously until he was killed.

Ibn Ishaq, 300, in Robert Spencer, The Truth about Muhammad, (Regnery 2006) p.105

Ideas have consequences. Islam does have its version of assurance of salvation: to wage ‘Holy’ War (Jihad) in fighting unbelievers.

How can I know if I am one of those who have been “given”?

November 24, 2009

(Bunyan’s biographer, Faith Cook, relates how he found assurance and rest for his troubled soul in the second part of John 6.37)

The first half of John 6:37 had formerly terrified him: ‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.’ ‘What’, he would think, ‘if my name is not among that number? How can I know if I am one of those who have been “given”?’ At last he found untold solace in the second half of the verse, ‘…and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ , for that certainly included John Bunyan!

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.119

Everything, forsooth, is true and nothing is false! Everybody is right and nobody is wrong! Everybody is likely to be saved and nobody is to be lost!

October 21, 2009

The tendency of modern thought is to reject dogmas, creeds and every kind of bounds in religion. It is thought grand and wise to condemn no opinion whatever, and to pronounce all earnest and clever teachers to be trustworthy, however heterogeneous and mutually destructive their opinions may be. Everything, forsooth, is true and nothing is false! Everybody is right and nobody is wrong! Everybody is likely to be saved and nobody is to be lost! The atonement and substitution of Christ, the personality of the devil, the miraculous element in Scripture, the reality and eternity of future punishment, all these mighty foundation–stones are coolly tossed overboard, like lumber, in order to lighten the ship of Christianity and enable it to keep pace with modern science. Stand up for these great verities, and you are called narrow, illiberal, old–fashioned and a theological fossil! Quote a text, and you are told that all truth is not confined to the pages of an ancient Jewish book, and that free inquiry has found out many things since the book was completed! Now, I know nothing so likely to counteract this modern plague as constant clear statements about the nature, reality, vileness, power and guilt of sin. We must charge home into the consciences of these men of broad views and demand a plain answer to some plain questions. We must ask them to lay their hands on their hearts and tell us whether their favorite opinions comfort them in the day of sickness, in the hour of death, by the bedside of dying parents, by the grave of a beloved wife or child. We must ask them whether a vague earnestness, without definite doctrine, gives them peace at seasons like these. We must challenge them to tell us whether they do not sometimes feel a gnawing “something” within, which all the free inquiry and philosophy and science in the world cannot satisfy. And then we must tell them that this gnawing “something” is the sense of sin, guilt and corruption, which they are leaving out in their calculations. And, above all, we must tell them that nothing will ever make them feel rest but submission to the old doctrines of man’s ruin and Christ’s redemption and simple childlike faith in Jesus.

J.C.Ryle, Holiness, ch.1, ‘Sin’

Searching for evidences for the purpose of ascertaining whether we are in Christ widely differs from searching for them to warrant a boldness of access to Christ: for this we require no evidence; but need only the passport of faith, and the plea of our own wretchedness

October 9, 2009

(Henry Martyn) was assaulted by a temptation more dangerous than uncommon — a temptation to look to himself for some qualification with which to approach the Savior — for something to warrant his confidence in him, and hope of acceptance from him. — Searching for evidences for the purpose of ascertaining whether we are in Christ widely differs from searching for them to warrant a boldness of access to Christ: for this we require no evidence; but need only the passport of faith, and the plea of our own wretchedness: and as it is the design of our great adversary (such is his subtlety) to lead us to deny the evidences of faith altogether — so it is his purpose to betray us into a legal and mistaken use of them. We find Mr. Martyn at this time expressing himself thus: — “I could derive no comfort from reflecting on my past life. Indeed exactly in proportion as I looked for evidences of grace, I lost that brokenness of spirit I wished to retain, and could not lie with simplicity at the foot of the cross. I really thought that I was departing this life. I began to pray as on the verge of eternity: and the Lord was pleased to break my hard heart. I lay in tears interceding for the unfortunate natives of this country; thinking with myself that the most despicable Soodar of India was of as much value in the sight of God as the King of Great Britain.

The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, John Sargent, Banner, 1985, p.151

I remember two things

September 4, 2009

My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.

John Newton, on his deathbed

Assurance of Salvation Lacking in Islam

July 14, 2009

He (Allah) will forgive whom he will and he will punish whom he will.

S.2.284; cf. 3.129; 5.18

Because Allah is capricious there is no certain promise or foundation for the sincere Muslim to hold on to.

 

Even Muhammad himself was not certain that he would enter heaven (Hadith Bukhari 5.266): “By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me…”

 

Election and the Assurance it brings

October 10, 2008

No, this [doctrine of election], according to the sentiments of our church, “greatly confirms and establishes a true Christian’s faith of eternal salvation through Christ,” and is an anchor of hope, both sure and steadfast, when he walks in darkness and sees no light; as certainly he may, even after he hath received the witness of the Spirit, whatever you or others may unadvisedly assert to the contrary.
Then, to have respect to God’s everlasting covenant, and to throw himself upon the free distinguishing love of that God who changeth not, will make him lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
But without the belief of the doctrine of election, and the immutability of the free love of God, I cannot see how it is possible that any should have a comfortable assurance of eternal salvation. What could it signify to a man whose conscience is thoroughly awakened, and who is warned in good earnest to seek deliverance from the wrath to come, though he should be assured that all his past sins be forgiven, and that he is now a child of God; if notwithstanding this, he may hereafter become a child of the devil, and be cast into hell at last? Could such an assurance yield any solid, lasting comfort to a person convinced of the corruption and treachery of his own heart, and of the malice, subtlety, and power of Satan? No! That which alone deserves the name of a full assurance of faith is such an assurance as emboldens the believer, under the sense of his interest in distinguishing love, to give the challenge to all his adversaries, whether men or devils, and that with regard to all their future, as well as present, attempts to destroy—saying with the Apostle,
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?

WHITEFIELD’S LETTER TO WESLEY
Bethesda in Georgia, Dec. 24, 1740
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/wesley.htm