/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Monday's Resolution {On Assurance}

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday's Resolution {On Assurance}

We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

 26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

Scripture is clear on the issue of assurance: God wants His children to know that they are His, to be confident of His love for them, and to walk in the good works He ordained beforehand for them.

"I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13

Yet if there is one thing that a vast majority of Christians today struggle with, it is the issue of assurance of salvation. Am I truly saved? Did God really choose me? Will I hear "Well done, good and faithful servant" on that final day, or "Depart from me! I never knew you"?

We have good reason to be concerned. The Scriptures tell us that many will say "Lord, Lord," and declare all of the things they did "in His name," and yet will still hear His terrifying dismissal.

Scripture is also clear that we ought to examine ourselves to see if we are really in the faith.

"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." 2 Peter 1:10

Now that we are thoroughly sobered, I want to encourage you by reminding you: God does want His children to be confident that they belong to Him!

Jonathan Edwards resolved to be free of all hindrances to His assurance. My first question when I read this resolution was: what abates my assurance? Then secondly, how can I cast these hindrances away? Here is the list I came up with:

Personal sin. Nothing estranges my heart from the Lord and breaks confidence in my salvation like being tangled in a mess of sin. Each "little" step taken towards temptation brings me one step further from the Lord. Sin breaks fellowship between God and the believer.

Casting it away: By God's grace, personal sin can be cast away, and the relationship restored, through proper repentance. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Apathy. If I'm truly born of God, shouldn't concern for the souls of unbelievers grip and compel me to boldly share the gospel? If His Spirit really abides in me, shouldn't my zeal for killing sin and pursuing holiness be unquenchable? Why don't I love God as I ought to, and why do I have to drag myself reluctantly to the Scriptures so many days, and coerce myself to pray? These questions are indeed troubling. Zeal should mark the life of true Christians... yet we are still fallen sinners who struggle with good days and bad days, and up and down emotions.

Casting it away: When I find myself plagued with apathy, I remember the days in which my heart was hotter, and ask the Lord to revive my heart again. There will be sweet days of fellowship with Him again!

Neglecting the means of grace. God has given us wonderful means of growing in His grace, and deepening our relationship with Him- the Word of God {preached, listened to, studied, and read}, prayer {private, familial, and corporate}, and fellowship with other saints {primarily in the local church!}. When I fail to daily spend time in the Word and prayer, or neglect assembling with other believers, I've noticed that my assurance nose dives.

Casting it away: Praise the Lord, this is an easy enough hindrance to assurance to cast away! I simply need to get into the Word, take time to pray, and make attending worship services and prayer meetings a priority. It's true that sometimes my heart feels cold as I endeavor to do these things. But by God's grace, oftentimes the feelings follow when I am faithful.

These are the things that abate my assurance. Each has clouded my views and caused me to doubt painfully at times, more often than I care to admit. That's one reason I'm thankful that Jonathan Edward's took the time to write out this resolution- could he to, this giant of the faith, have struggled at times with assurance of his standing before God?

I don't feel so alone anymore. I also feel challenged to fight these hindrances to my soul with renewed vigor!

What obstacles abate your assurance? How can you cast them away today?

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