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ASSURANCE – Reply

Below is a series of emails that I received with reference to the writing I posted on the topic of assurance. Below them are my replies to this gentleman.

Tom, I am absolutely amazed that someone who apparently claims to be an absolute predestinarian would utter the following:

“I don’t believe that a child of grace can have complete assurance of their place in the family strictly because of the flesh that they live in on a daily basis. I have complete 100% assurance of what Christ did for His elect (family) on the cross. I know without a doubt that those that were in Him from all eternity will be with Him for all eternity. But where I waver is whether or not I am part of them for which He paid the ultimate price. And I think that scripture bears this out.”

The scripture bears out your reason to doubt? C’mon. It is Christ who is your assurance ...not your weak flesh. Do you really know his Gospel promises? Which of the following don’t you believe?

John 6:47 Verily, Verily I say unto you, He who believes in me has everlasting life.

John 5:24 Truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.

John 3:14,15 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

John 6:28-29 Then, they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

John 11:25-26 I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

John 10:27-31 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father, but (except) through me.

Quit looking at yourself and trust in Christ and his infallible word. Put all your trust in him and none in yourself and your assurance. Your gift of faith is your sign of assurance.

JM
November 26, 2007


JM,

Thank you for taking the time to voice your opinion. It made me think of an incident quite a few years ago when I was listening to a message on the radio. I was agreeing with the message and enjoying it until the preacher got towards the end and then he completely blew his whole message apart and nullified it with just one statement. At the end of the email there is a statement that does the same thing as the message that I listened to. Let me quote it: “Put all your trust in him and none in yourself and your assurance.” If I understand correctly what you are saying, then you are telling me to “Put” or do something in order to get something in return. If I misunderstand the statement, I apologize. I was reminded of a similar statement from the book of Job from Eliphaz the Temanite.

“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” - Job 22:21

Now at first glance some would think that this is good because there is scriptural backup for such a statement. But we must keep in mind what the Lord said about the “friends of Job” before we start quoting their comments as good.

“And it was, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me right, as my servant Job.” - Job 42:7 (italicized words removed)

I only bring this up because there are times when I don’t say something quite the way I wanted to. Or it is misinterpreted, misunderstood or it is baggage that the Lord hasn’t rid me of yet. Is not the act of “putting” a work and therefore making it something done in the flesh? If it is something that I or anyone else can do in and of ourselves, then doesn’t that make it something that we deserve an action from the Lord about? Therefore making it no longer grace but simply a payment?

You quoted those beautiful verses about “believing” in the Lord, but let me ask you something with that also, if I may. Is it our “duty” to believe? Is it something that we can do on our own? Or is it something that is given a child of grace?

“For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received?” - 1Corinthians 4:7 (italicized words removed)

You act as if doubting is the unpardonable sin. In the book of Mark it is recorded in the ninth chapter that a dad brought his son who had a dumb spirit to Jesus. The Lord asked him a few questions and made a couple comments but ended his conversation with the dad with this statement; “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23) The next verse says; “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (9:24) Can I ask you where in this section the Lord rebuked the dad for doubting? If doubting is such a horrible thing I would think that this would have been an opportune time for the Lord to make it known? But, there was no rebuke, there was nothing more said until the Lord rebuked the spirit and commanded it to come out of the boy.

As Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church (quoted above), if someone truly believes it is only because they have been given to believe (“...what hast thou that thou didst not receive?”). But there are numerous examples in Scripture of some who claim to believe but are not children of grace.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” - James 2:19

Here in the book of James it is clearly shown that the devils believe that there is one God and they tremble. Yet, no one would argue that they will ever know salvation.

In the book of Matthew chapter 25 we read of the separating of the sheep and the goats.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (31-46)

The goats definitely believe that they are of the household of faith and in fact have the audacity to argue with the Lord about it. And yet what does the Lord say to them? “Depart from me, ye cursed...” On the other side of the picture what do the sheep say? “Lord ... when?” Seems like there was a little bit of doubting on the sheep’s side. Of these two groups, who gets the rebuke? Is it not the ones who believed? And then we see that the ones who doubted are welcomed into life eternal.

Then don’t forget the parable of the ten virgins.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” - Matthew 25:1-13

What was the difference between these two groups? Basically one group had oil while the other group did not. But before we talk about what that means let’s look at their similarities. They were all virgins. They all had lamps. They all went forth to meet the bridegroom. They all slumbered and slept. They all went to trim their lamps when the bridegroom came, so they all thought or believed they had oil in their lamps to burn. It wasn’t until that time of the bridegroom appearing when they realized who was foolish and who was wise. What is the picture here? What does the oil stand for? Is it not the anointing of the Holy Spirit? By all outward appearances these ten virgins were all the same and they all believed that they had the oil to burn (anointing) and it wasn’t until the end when the truth was revealed of who had it and who did not.

And just to show that Solomon was correct when he said that there is nothing new under the sun and that men are still the same now as they were in the Old Testament times, let me quote a passage from the book of Judges. There are numerous examples throughout the OT, but let me just use this one.

“Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.” - Judges 6:33-40

Previous to this an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him very plainly that the Lord was with him and called him a mighty man of valour (6:12). Did Gideon believe? I would have to say no and would conclude that there was little doubting going on. Not only does Gideon ask once for a “sign” from the Lord but after the Lord by His decreeing for it to take place from the foundation of the world grants it, he then asks for completely the opposite. Again the Lord grants it. Now one would think that this would give Gideon all the confidence in the world to go out and do anything. But it doesn’t. We see in the next chapter that the Lord appeared to him and assured him of victory that we see Gideon again doubting.

“And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.” - Judges 7:9-11

In the book of John, Jesus made a very bold statement that most seem to just glide over and not give it a second thought that I think has bearing on what we are discussing.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” - John 3:6

Jesus made it very clear that these two are completely separate and shall never be the same. So, when Paul says in the book of Romans that “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:16)”, then how can we not agree with what Jesus said above that this has nothing to do with the flesh and therefore one cannot understand that witness or assurance of being a child of God in the flesh but only in the spirit.

I know without a doubt that I am very capable of making mistakes and in fact I make quite a few of them on a daily basis. And I appreciate you bringing to light something that you felt I made a mistake on. But, I stand by the comments that you quoted and am still in agreement with them. While we live in this flesh, we are prone to doubt. It is simply a by-product of who we are and who God made us to be.

In hope,
Tom Adams
November 30, 2007


Tom,

Yes, you misunderstood my statement (1). I though I could be certian I was writing to someone who understood that faith is a gift (2). Some, who perhaps appreciate the doctrines of sovereign grace, including perserverance or preservation in the faith. Consequently, you’re reading way too much into my comments.

However, what’s particularly dissapointing about your response is that you’re sending me verses I would expect to receive from a Roman Catholic apologist (3) -- Matt 25 -- I tell you like I’d tell them to start reading a little earlier in Matt when Christ talks to us about our inheritance (if you believe in predestination you should understand something about your inheritance). Surely, as a Primitive Baptist, you believe that faith is strictly a gift, so our trust in Christ is not a work. It is the fruit of the gift of faith he has given us.

You also use the quote from James, another favorite of the Roman Catholic apologist. Do you really believe it is proper to compare the fearful dread of demons for the eternal suffering to come with the gift that only Christ can give us to believe in him as Lord and Savior? (4)

And let’s say for a minute that James really meant to do that. What are you and James telling Christ himself who has made you the promise that all who believe have everlasting life? You claim to have read the promises from Christ that I sent and call them "beautiful?" (5) How are they beautiful to you, if you claim you can’t trust them? Instead, you claim you can refute his direct promises with other scriptures?

You’re willing to read your doubts into the parables of the virgins, James’ mention of demons and Gideon’s need for a sign? (6)

If you are trusting in yourself or something you did for your salvation (7), then indeed there is need to doubt. But Christ has repeatedly made you and all who claim to believe in him an objective promise that he would never lose you. If you say you believe in him, you are telling me you believe his promises. So, while your flesh may have to fight with doubts from time to time, you will ultimately embrace his assurances instead of those doubts. (8)

As for me, the first among sinners, my salvation is conditioned upon Christ alone and what he has done for me. I thank him everday that He has given me this gift of faith so I can believe in him and his promises to me. I take great comfort, not in myself but in His scriptural promises and his one work on my behalf. I invite you to do the same (9). May the Lord help us both in our unbelief. --JM

December 3, 2007


JM,

(1) You state that I misunderstood you and am reading way too much into your comments. With reference to misunderstanding you, please show me what I misunderstood about what you meant when you instructed me to “Put all your trust in him and none in yourself and your assurance” in your original email. You tell me that I misunderstood you but yet you don’t share what you really meant, so please, if you will, show me how I misunderstood your comments. I am still at a loss as to what you meant if it wasn’t how I interpreted it. And I apologize if I did read too much into your comments for that was not my intent. Please show me where I did this.

(2) You then make the comment; “I thought I could be certain I was writing to someone who understood that faith is a gift.” Could you please also show me from my email to you on how you understand that I don’t understand that?

What do the scriptures say about faith?

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have course, and be glorified, even as with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith. - 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (italicized words removed)

In this verse we see clearly that "all have not faith." Nobody in and of themselves have faith. It must be given and even then it is not our faith but Christ’s as these verses below show.

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16 (emphasis added)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20 (emphasis added)

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. - Galatians 3:22 (emphasis added)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. - Galatians 5:22-24 (emphasis added)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: the gift of God: - Ephesians 2:8 (italicized words removed) {Salvation is the gift here and it is by grace through faith which is the faith of Christ.}

I quote again 1 Corinthians 4:7 as I did in my previous email: “For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received?” (italicized words removed)

If faith is not a gift, as you claim that I believe or understood, then where does it come from? Just for the record, faith is a gift and that faith is the faith of Christ.

(3) In all honesty it really doesn’t matter to me whether a Roman Catholic apologist, Charismatic apologist, Baptist apologist, or any other apologist uses the verses that I quoted from Matthew 25. Just because one of these people would use them doesn’t mean that they need to be thrown out and/or disregarded. Very simply put, in your initial email you were dogmatic about believing and not doubting, so I used these verses to show who believed and who doubted.

(4) I am in total amazement how you get that the demons had a “fearful dread of ... the eternal suffering to come...” from the verse I quoted in James? Let me quote the verse again. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)” James is speaking to brethren here (verse 14) and he clearly states that they believe that there is one God and that the devils also believe this and tremble. There is no mention in this verse or any around it about the devils trembling because of their dread of eternal suffering.

(5) Yes, those verses you quoted are beautiful and they are very true and my hope is that they refer to me. I by no means meant to attempt to refute them nor could I refute them for they are scripture. I was simply attempting to show that there are also examples in Scripture of some who claim to believe but do not have a belief unto salvation and there are those who struggled with doubt and unbelief.

(6) Also, I really don’t think that I was reading anything into the parable of the virgins, the verse in James nor Gideon’s sign. The five foolish virgins definitely believed they were ready to go, the devils believed in one God and that is why they trembled and Gideon most assuredly doubted or else he wouldn’t have needed any sign or fleece from the Lord.

(7) No I do not trust in anything that I do and that is why I have doubts that I am one of those whom Christ is talking to with the verses that you quoted in your initial email. Again this is where what Jesus said in John comes into bearing. I quoted it in my previous email, but let me quote it again: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)” This flesh or carcass that we live in will always be corrupt. We cannot know assurance in our flesh. Though in our spirit we do have an assurance because it is the "Spirit that beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16)" Notice that it doesn’t say that the Spirit bears witness with our flesh.

(8) You say in the second to last paragraph; “So, while your flesh may have to fight with doubts from time to time, you will ultimately embrace his assurances instead of those doubts.” In a sense I agree with you on this though I think we are looking at it differently. At the end when I am rid of this carcass and am face to face with the Lord I will no longer have any doubts one way or the other. I have complete assurance that Jesus died for His people and that they will spend all of eternity with Him. I believe that I have been given a HOPE that I am one of those people but I am not assured of it.

(9) I find it interesting that you did the same thing with this email as your initial email. You attempt to prove something and then you essentially disprove all that you attempt to prove above with an ending comment. In your email you state over and over again how faith is a gift (which I believe that it is) but then you “invite” me to also take great comfort in the Scriptural promises of Christ as you do. If faith is a gift (to which I firmly believe that it is) then you can invite me all you want, you can beg me, you can do anything to me and unless I am given faith it won’t do me any good to take comfort in anything.

Now if I may, I would like to pose a couple of questions. A few of them I already asked in the body of my email but I will recap them below.


1. Please explain to me what you meant in your initial email by your statement: “Put all your trust in him and none in yourself and your assurance.” Since I apparently misunderstood it.

2. Please show me where I read too much into your statements.

3. Could you please show me from my email to you where you understand that I don’t believe that faith is a gift.

4. Please explain this verse below in light of your understanding of assurance.

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, do we with patience wait for. - Romans 8:24-25 (italicized words removed)

5. Please articulate why and how you have assurance that all those verses you initially quoted apply to you.

6. What if you get to heaven and find out that you believed in vain. Is God justified to send you to hell?

7. In the end you state, “May the Lord help us both in our unbelief.” Does this mean that you doubt at times?

In hope,
Tom
December 5, 2007


Tom,

The initial verses you sent only proved to me that your were ready to defend your disbelief the same way any Roman Catholic who does not believe they are saved by grace does. I was shocked and I don’t mean to offend but what you were telling that other guy about your rejection of eternal security was something I never expected to hear from a Primitive Baptist.

Faith is a gift. You claim to believe in Christ and so do I. We claim to have been given that gift to believe in him. We claim the Holy Spirit has given us the new birth, we are born again and able to put our trust in Christ. You claim to have faith in Christ, yet you refuse to exercise that same gift of faith he has given you to believe that Jesus has fully won your salvation.

Jesus promises you that "He who believes in me has everlasting life." But you say you can’t believe for certain that he did save you. You excuse yourself from believing "that much" by pointing to your own flesh instead of Christ and what he has done for you. He promises to cover you in his righteousness, but you obviously have not accepted it.

To reject Christ’s promise that "he who believes in me has everlasting life" is to reject his Gospel, to embrace a false gospel. You claim to be a believer...but you’re not even sure you believe that Christ died for you? You believe he is able to save you--just don’t know whether he really did.

I only contacted you out of concern. You say you’re a Primitive Baptist and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never heard one talk like you. I take no pleasure at all in mentioning this and you’ll be in my prayers Tom. --JM

December 6, 2007


That was the last reply from JM. I didn’t reply because I felt it would have been unprofitable and would lead nowhere. There is quite a bit in this last reply that I would take issue with but since I didn’t reply I won’t elaborate here either. But I will ask you (the reader) to take notice that NONE of my questions were answered nor was there any attempt at answering any of them.

In hope,
Tom
December 7, 2007


I stand corrected. Below is a reply from JM that I received after I posted the above. And below it is my reply to the enquirer.


Tom,

Addressing your specific questions as best I can:

1) When I say put all your trust in Christ and none in yourself, I am assuming you have been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. You seem to misunderstand what I wrote to infer that I was someone who believed I could be saved by something I did. I assumed you had saving faith when I gave offered that directive. There is nothing wrong with that exhortation to those you believe have saving faith.

2) I wondered if you saw faith as a gift because you witnessed to another individual (via email) that your flesh has somehow affected the gift. In other words, your flesh somehow got the best of Christ’s gift of saving faith that he alone can give you. You admit ultimately yielding to your fleshly doubt and thereby rejecting Christ’s biblical assurances to you for your salvation. You seem to say you love to hear those verses from the Gospel of John that I sent but just can’t believe them because of your flesh. Certainly not everyone has saving faith, but you claim to have faith, don’t you?

3) I said you missed the point on Matthew 25, because you left out the verse at the beginning of the section "Come, ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for your from the foundation of the world." It’s only by Christ’s sovereignty that they were given the gift of preservation, which includes good works to walk in Ephesians 6:10. The others (goats) proved that they could not see Christ--they did not have the faith. They may have done great works, and put their trust in those works. No wonder they were surprised.

4) My point was that, as with the Roman Catholics, you fail to see the hyperbole that James was using here. He knew that it was not proper to compare true believers to demons, but he did so to try to get these peoples attention. You and the Roman Catholics adopt this hyperbole as a fundamental teaching on belief even though you don’t seem to understand that to do so is to allow it to contradict Jesus Himself who plainly tells you that belief in him is the sign he has given you everlasting life. James was simply desperate to see the fruit of their faith.

5) Just because you can show people struggle with faith in the Bible does not give you license to reject Christ’s assurance of your salvation. You don’t seem to understand that your words to the individual who wrote you are contradictory. You say you believe, but you reject Christ’s assurances. When did you give yourself permission to believe only some of his promises? Do you believe you can do that?

6) Why do you suppose Christ called them the five “foolish” virgins? How do you make believers out of them? Will Christ leave you “foolish” in your time of need? He obviously gave the wise virgins the wisdom to be prepared. Didn’t he?

7) Read what your own writing. You say “No I do not trust anything that I do and that’s why I have doubts that I am one of those whom Christ is talking to with the verses you quoted in your initial e-mail” Tom, this is like saying “I don’t trust anything I do, but because I have doubts, I trust in those doubts.” In other words, “I trust in my doubts.” You seem to be saying, “My flesh is telling me I don’t qualify.” That fine, don’t trust in what your flesh is saying. Trust instead in Christ and what he promises those who believe in him. Quit trying to use scripture to contradict the promises Christ has given you. That was not the point of the ones you cited.

8) You seem to be saying that until you die and shed your flesh you’ll be doubting and calling it “hope.” It’s this kind of thinking that makes it so hard to believe you’re a Primitive Baptist. I was always taught that PBs take great comfort in the Gospel promises of Christ. The Bible uses the word hope as an assurance in Christ’s. Christ himself gives you assurance in John 10. But you use the word “hope” as an excuse for your doubts. Realize that the reason you have doubts is indeed because of your flesh. But, if you have saving faith, every time you doubt pray to the Lord to remind you to trust in him and what he has done for you. Remember his promise And, I give you Tom eternal life; and you shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck you out of my hand. (John 10:28)

9) If you have saving faith, there is nothing wrong with me inviting you to put that saving faith to work and urging you to trust in Christ. Yes, I am assuming you have saving faith.

Additional questions, probably not addressed above.

4) Explain Romans 8:24-25 in light of salvation assurance. Hope here means assurance, not “I doubt it, but I’m willing to believe I’ve got a ‘chance’ for salvation.” Christ did not die to give you a chance. That’s what the pope believes. Instead Christ died to secure the salvation of all those who believe in him—they are his chosen.

5) Those verses I sent you apply to me because I have been given the gift to believe in what I cannot see—and I know Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, God in the flesh.

6) What if I get to heaven and find out I was wrong to believe Christ’s promises? I would thank God for giving me such peace while I was on earth, even though it all turned out to be nothing more than a great delusion! Yes, I would thank him for the delusion. But seriously, you need to take stock in Christ first and realize that faith is a wonderful sign of his covenant assurance for you. Again, assuming you have faith.

7) Yes, because of our flesh, we may at times be troubled with doubt now and again. Satan must just love this stuff. We can and should pray to Christ for relief in this situation and read our Bible and lean on his great promises for all who believe. --JM (received 12/19/07 - TA)


JM,

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. You keep referring to me as a Primitive Baptist. I don’t know if you realize this or not but there is a huge difference between PB’s and Old School Baptists to which I am. Most PB’s are adamantly opposed to the Absolute Predestination of God. Most do not believe in the Eternal Vital Unity of Christ and His church. And most of them believe in something called Conditional Time Salvation.

If you get time or are given the mind to, please check out these articles that touch on “Eternal Vital Unity” and “Conditional Time Salvation”.

It appears that there is still some confusion about some things. This subject to me is a beautiful example of what Christ said in the book of John when he very blatantly made the distinction between the flesh and the spirit. It is the Spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. This is not a tangible thing and it is not something that we can touch or look at. It has nothing to do with our outward man and nothing that we can do, say, pray, feel, doubt, believe, etc., will affect it. I say this because several times in your email you point to something for me to do in order to gain something. Once you tell me that “every time you doubt pray to the Lord to remind you to trust in Him and what He has done for you.” I can not just pray anytime that I want to. If I am not given to pray by the Lord then the words that I say are just empty words and they go no further than the ceiling. Prayer is communion with the Most High and must be initiated by Him. You tell me several times that I need to “trust”. You tell me that I need to “believe”. You tell me to “realize” things. You invite me to “put saving faith to work”. You urge me to “trust in Christ”. You tell me that I need to “take stock in Christ”. You tell me to “lean on Christ”. And you tell me that I just need to “read my Bible”. Don’t you see that all of these are tangible aspects of the flesh and that neither I nor you have any control over them whatsoever and if any of them are in our life it is only because Christ has given them.

There was quite a bit that I took issue with in the email beyond what is above. I really don’t feel it is profitable to point out all of it though. But there were a few things that I am unable to just gloss over.

In number 5 it is stated: “Just because you can show people struggling with faith in the Bible does not give you license to reject Christ’s assurance of your salvation.” Paul in his letter to the Romans says; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)” And also in his letter to the Corinthian brethren Paul says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” Yet you disregard this truth (or are not given to see this truth) by stating that even though there are numerous examples of people in the Bible that struggled with their faith and had doubts it doesn’t prove a thing and it just gives me a license to reject Christ’s assurances. I really didn’t know that I had the power to reject anything that Christ gives. Nor did I realize that I had the power to give myself permission to believe or not believe. Those believers in the Scriptures that doubted and feared are there in Scripture for our comfort and hope (not assurance).

In number 6 you ask how I made believers out of the five foolish virgins? If you go back and read what I said originally you will see that I never once stated that the “5 foolish virgins” were believers. What I did state is that they by all outward appearances appeared that way. They were virgins like the other five, they had a lamp that they thought was filled or else they would not have went to trim it to light it when the bridegroom was approaching. It wasn’t until that time when they realized that they were not prepared. You ask if Christ would leave me “foolish” in my time of need. If I am one of the fools, then there is nothing that I can do about it and yes He will leave me foolish. But if I am one of the elect then he has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Your last statement is pure conjecture and in fact goes against scripture. All of our steps, all of our actions, all of our thoughts have been ordained of old that we should walk in them. If we be prepared it is because the Lord has ordained for us to be prepared and it is He that has done the preparing. It has nothing to do with us or any wisdom or action of the flesh.

In the supplement section and number 4 you say that “hope” means assurance in Romans 8:24-25. So then by that reasoning Romans 8:24 should actually read: “For we are saved by assurance, but assurance that is seen is not assurance: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet assurance for?” This makes no sense whatsoever. The word “hope” means “expectation”. Nowhere in Scripture does it mention having an assurance of our salvation but there are numerous references to the word “hope” in the Scriptures.

In hope,
Tom
12/21/07


P.S., If you have made it this far, here are some articles that you might check out.


This reply came in on December 23, 2007

Tom,

I’m not concerned at all about your inability to believe me. It’s your continued desire to refuse to believe the promises of Christ that concern me. You simply will not let him assure you of your salvation as is clearly found in the numerous verses I have sent you - provided he has given you the new birth. He promises you everlasting life, he promises you shall not be lost, he promises that he goes to prepare a place for you…

On that point, I have asked you repeatedly whether you believe Christ’s promises to you and listed many verses from the Gospel of John. I can’t remember getting a clear answer. It’s interesting how you seem to believe others must answer your questions but you have no need to answer theirs.

I have repeatedly expressed that I see salvation, faith, etc… as gifts and your still talking about whether I understand that trusting, etc.. are gifts. Yes, I do. I have repeatedly told you that I was speaking to you as a believer but even so you tell me it is inaccurate for me to exhort you to prayer and to trust when the apostle Paul clearly did the same.

My goodness Tom, Paul was even bold enough to tell his jailer to “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved! Oh My! Tell me Tom, did Paul mess up by saying such things? You refuse to accept Christ’s promises and Paul’s many exhortations? What else? You talk about the flesh as if you were a Gnostic. But remember that God will reclaim it as well.

When I call you to trust, I’m certainly calling you to spiritually trust in God and yes, if you are a believer, you have been equipped to receive and even act “bodily” to show that trust. Does that mean the body is in complete submission to the believer’s spiritual desires? Paul clearly tells us no. But that doesn’t stop him from exhorting us to avoid sinful ways and seek those things above.

Sincerely, JM


JM,

My apologies for not giving you a clear answer or at least what you would deem a clear answer. My answer is the same as it was in the initial quote that you had a problem with. Let me quote it again.

“I have complete 100% assurance of what Christ did for His elect (family) on the cross. I know without a doubt that those that were in Him from all eternity will be with Him for all eternity. But where I waver is whether or not I am part of them for which He paid the ultimate price.”

I still stand behind this statement and believe it. I realize this is not the answer that you are looking for but it is the only answer that I am able to give. Those verses that you sent are beautiful verses and 100% true and there are times when I read them and believe that they apply to me but unfortunately those times are fleeting and disappear as fast as they come. It is then that I believe that there is no way that those verses can apply to me because of my sin.

I was thinking tonight, due to the time of the year it is (December 24th), about all of the wasted time, energy and money that is used towards something that is a falsehood. This is the time of the year for ALL faiths and denominations to come together (ecumenicism at its greatest or worst - depending on how you look at it) and celebrate something as a whole and feel good about it. When the Scriptures say nothing about observing Christ’s birth whatsoever. In fact nobody really knows when it was. Is it my job to make sure everybody knows this? Absolutely not! Just like it is not my job to try and convince you of what I have been given to believe nor is it your job to try and convince me that I am wrong. It is obvious that we don’t see eye to eye on this. We could keep bantering back and forth, arguing over this word or that word but in the end it will prove nothing and therefore I think it is time to end this discussion. Ultimately it is the Spirit that teaches and in Him is no falsehood and He has promised to guide His children into ALL truth.

In hope,
Tom Adams
December 25, 2007

P.S., I have been where you are and believed the exact same thing you do.


The following email was received on December 27th 2007

Tom,

As a former Roman Catholic myself, I have certainly believed what you have believed "in hope." I don’t wish to go back to that. I realize I am a horrible sinner but that does not deter me from believing and relying all the more in Christ. I thank Christ for his promises and the faith he has given me to believe those promises. If he hadn’t put it in my heart to believe them, I imagine I’d still be a Roman Catholic today.

Sadly, I think what we are talking about here is much more doctrinally central to Christianity than celebrating Christmas because it defines the Christ we believe in. It is important to know that he is the Christ that promises to hold us in his hand (John 10:30), not the one who bids us to hold onto him.

I think you believe that Tom, that he is that Christ--the Christ that promises to let no man pluck you out of his hand. Therefore, objectively speaking, the fact that you claim to waiver when it comes to knowing if you are among those he died for doesn’t make much difference as long as it’s him who’s holding on and not you.

On the other hand, I pray that he gives you comfort that his Good News is for you. His will be done.

I agree with your suggestion to quit.
Sincerely, JM


 

Let me end this discussion with a couple of questions if I may. Please don’t misunderstand me, I only bring these up for something to think about. A good friend and I were talking about this and he brought up a couple of these verses up. If you (the reader) are in agreement with my correspondent in the assumption that a child of grace can and should have complete assurance of their salvation, then please think about these verses.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1Peter 1:7)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:2-3) [itacized words removed - TA]

How can something be tried or tested if you are 100% assured that it is yours? Also, how would you respond to a member of the church you go to or a good friend who came to you in confidence and shared their doubts with you? Would you castigate them and ridicule them for not having the assurance?

Just some things to ponder.
Tom Adams
December 29, 2007