Thursday, 10/28/21 – Assurance: the day after

Assurance: the day after

The day after you decide to do as we discussed yesterday, the day on which you call on Christ Who has been calling on you, the day on which you see you are not holy, not worthy, less than not worthy of standing in His Presence, the day you realize you are indeed worthy of His wrath, eternal removal from His Presence and that there is nothing, nothing, nothing that you can now do to rectify this apart from His amazing rescue… His willful stepping up in your place to take that wrath for you, on the day after that day you will immediately awake to doubts.

You see, not only have you gained that “pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:45), received that “deposit” (Eph. 1:14) of the Spirit and become heir to that “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…. kept in heaven for you (1 Pet. 1:4), but you also gained, for a time, an enemy. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8).

But within you now resides the far greater power of the recently indwelling Spirit of God – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). You must learn to do battle with him lest he pollute your mind with his lies: “for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

As soon as new seed (the gospel) is planted, the devil seeks to snatch it away. Jesus once told a parable to illustrate this (see Matthew 13:1-23). But we can defeat him by speaking Truth to his lies. The Truth of your acceptance by God by the sacrifice of Christ, the Truth of your salvation by reliance upon Christ:

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. … ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Rom. 10:9-10, 13).

Jesus too was tempted, tempted right at the beginning like you. He too spoke Truth to the devil’s lies and the devil had to flee. (Read about it in Matt. 4:1-11).

Bury the Truth in your heart and mind. Read the gospel of John and the 1st Epistle of John. Jesus said also this: “…you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32), and “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). Finally, Christ Himself gives us these fine words of assurance…

I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Friday, 10/22/21 – Why do Christians speak of “hope” – Aren’t they sure?

Why do Christians speak of “hope” – Aren’t they sure?

We most often think of “hope” as a verb: We desire something to happen or to be true, e.g. “I hope it doesn’t rain.” But “hope” is also a noun. One definition of “hope” in its noun usage is “A person or thing upon which one’s hopes are centered,” as in the statement “He is our only hope for victory!”

This is the sort of “hope” in which Christians trust. It is the noun sort of “hope” and in it they are confident. Though we long for that day when that hope will be realized, we do not “hope” for it in the sense of a toss of the dice or a spin of the wheel. The Christian’s hope is not a gamble, but a certainty based upon faith,“…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, KJV).

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1, NIV).

The Christian’s hope is based upon the confident assurance that, as the Father revealed to Peter, “You [Jesus] are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16-18). Through Him, our personal relationship and trust in Him, and the indwelling Spirit of Christ, the Christian knows that this life is not all there is — that ‘in Christ’ he has “a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). He knows that sin will ultimately be destroyed… that eternal life and righteousness are his… and that his soul is forever secure.

In this light, consider the following scriptures:

Act 23:6 “But when Paul… cried out in the council, …of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” / Act 26:6 “…and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” / Act 28:20 “…for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” • Rom 4:18 “Who against hope believed in hope,” / Rom 5:2 “[we]…rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” / Rom 8:24,25 “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, then do we with patience wait for it.” • Gal 5:5 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” / Eph 4:4 “…ye are called in one hope of your calling” • Col 1:5 “…the hope which is laid up for you in heaven…” / Col 1:23 “…be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” / Col 1:27 “…this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” • 1 Th 4:13 “…sorrow not, even as others which have no hope/1 Th 5:8 “…putting on… for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” / 1 Ti 1:1 “…and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope” • Tit 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope…”  /  Heb 6:19 “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul…” • 1 Pe 1:3 “…our Lord Jesus Christ… hath begotten us again unto a lively hope” / 1Pe 3:15 “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”

And finally, 1 Jn 3:3 “…every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Want to know how to find this “hope” in Christ? – Use the same page.

Thursday, 8/26/21 – Assurance: Examining Yourself

Assurance: Examining Yourself

Paul commands those in the church at Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5).

Many people believe they are saved – but their lives look the same as an unbeliever. They seldom speak about Christ, read the Bible, pray or share the gospel. Many would not even know how to explain the basic truth of mankind’s need for redemption, Christ’s atonement, repentance and Lordship of Jesus Christ. In their own eyes they deem themselves righteous because they do not do this or that sin like others.

Jesus told a parable specifically targeted to such persons who “were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else.” (Luke 18:9). Such a one stood and prayed like this: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (v. 12).

This man certainly felt secure in his righteousness, but the true measure of one’s purity is found when one compares oneself to God. God’s standard is holiness, a totally sanitized, never once sullied, purity of being.

“God is light,” writes John, “in Him there is no darkness at all(1 John 1:5). In His kingdom heavenly beings day and night unceasingly shout “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8). Isaiah in vision stood before this sight (Isa. 6:3) and immediately understood his true sinfulness. “Woe to me!” he cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (v.5).

God’s Holiness has a way of shocking a mortal into proper perspective — and Holiness is what God requires in order to enter His Presence: “…without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14). The only way to holiness is by beginning all over again. “You must be born again,” said Jesus (John 3:7).

This is exactly the reason Jesus came to this Earth: to make a whole new beginning possible… to replace our old beginnings and everything up until this time with something new! The Old Testament calls it giving us “a new heart.” It is Himself… it is the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer and making him holy too. All self effort must be surrendered. At the end of this process John says, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2). And until then, as Paul describes it, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).

Our assurance then is just this, this indwelling Spirit, this changing of our hearts, this “fruit” of changed behaviours and viewpoint much in contrast to that of this present evil world. We are beginning to become, each day, bit by bit, more and more like Jesus. As we began, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 6/24/21 – Discipleship: Assurance

Assurance

Our CO detector sounded late last night, then stopped. No apparent reason. A fluke? It sounded again in the middle of the night, then stopped. That was it. I couldn’t get back to sleep again. Was there a real danger? I got up and began scouring through the newspaper columns of fine print instructions that came with our unit. Nothing! I searched online. Each manufacturer had a different explanation of possible CO behaviours. Over an hour had passed and I was no more certain as to our safety or danger.

The desire for assurance of safety, security, shelter and sustenance is natural to fallen mankind. In the beginning, as our Creator intended it, there was for our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, no sense of this need. Everything was provided in God’s original design. Paradise knew no lack. God, the Creator, walked among them and their fellowship was sweet. All was well with their souls.

But sin changed everything!

Oswald Chambers comments,

“We have to recognize that sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 23 entry.

Spiritual assurance of one’s salvation and acceptance before God is only possible as we recognize this fact of sin… personal sin… personal “blatant mutiny against God” and as we are willing to surrender our rebellion to His Lordship. We must decide which will live in our lives: sin, or God. We cannot have both!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24).

I finally found what I needed to do regarding our CO detector. Assurance is always found when one finds, faces, and follows the instructions.

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 2/6/20 – Discipleship – Assurance

Assurance vs Insurance

sign pen business document

I’ve always puzzled over why some companies were called insurance companies while others were called assurance companies. So, I investigated…

Insurance provides financial coverage for unforeseen circumstances surrounding an event, such as fire, theft, or flooding. Insurance refers to coverage over a limited time. In other words, IF something happens which causes you loss, the insurer will pay you for them loss as stated in the policy.

Assurance provides coverage for events that will occur, such as death. … Assurance refers to persistent coverage over extended periods or until death. WHEN something happens payment is made.

When we consider these terms in relation to our walk with Christ we discover Christ provides both!

man pushing a woman sitting on wheelchair

We do not know what challenges may come to us in our journey of faith… Perhaps prolonged sickness, perhaps great financial loss, perhaps seasons requiring great endurance or perseverance of faith, perhaps times where words must be carefully measured and where great wisdom is required… Scripture promises us that in all things Christ will prove Himself sufficient.

If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul asks rhetorically (Rom. 8:31).

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35, 37-39)

Another time Paul testified, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13). Whatever unforeseen circumstances we experience, Christ will be right there with us in the midst of them, giving strength, whispering wisdom, prompting hope, and providing for our needs.

man wearing polo shirt holding left chest

Best of all Christ will be there as well at the inevitable end of the believer’s pilgrimage, for surely every one of us will die. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). His Presence then is assured. It’s in the “Policy”…

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our Guide even to the end.” (Ps. 48:14).

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;” (Ps. 23:4).

The better Insurance/Assurance policies can be costly, but Christ’s offer is free! As the hymn celebrates,

“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside”

(Great is The Faithfulness, Thomas Chisholm, 1866–1960)

Press on…

person holding opened book

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.