We Believe In: Assurance Of Salvation -- By: Zane C. Hodges
JOTGES 3:2 (Autumn 90) p. 3
We Believe In:
Assurance Of Salvation
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
It is a pleasure to be asked to write a guest article in Arthur Farstad’s fine series, “We Believe In.” Those readers who miss finding Dr. Farstad here will be glad to read his review of the New RSV elsewhere in this issue of the GES Journal.
It is also a privilege to write about the subject of assurance of salvation. In today’s evangelical world the doctrine of assurance is the subject of vigorous debate. Naturally, those who hold that a person can lose his salvation teach that assurance must be qualified by the fact that a true believer could be eternally lost. But, equally, those who hold to “Lordship Salvation” must qualify assurance as well.
Many advocates of Lordship Salvation believe in eternal security, yet lack personal assurance about their own eternal destiny. The reason is that, according to “lordship” thought, all born-again Christians will live generally holy lives and will persevere to the end in godly conduct. A person is not a Christian at all if these things are not true of him. But this view just means that one cannot tell for sure that he is saved until he has persisted in holiness to the conclusion of his life. Some “lordship” teachers are not very candid in telling people that they cannot actually have assurance until shortly before death—if, in fact, it is even possible then!
In sharp contrast with both Arminian and “lordship” thought stands the biblical doctrine of assurance. In his First Epistle, the Apostle John states;
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…(1 John 5:13a; italics added).
JOTGES 3:2 (Autumn 90) p. 4
Clearly the inspired author believed that assurance was possible. His readers could know that they had eternal life!
Let us consider, then, this great biblical truth. For convenience we may do this under three headings. Each heading represents a fundamental facet of, or affirmation about, the NT doctrine of assurance.
Our three affirmations are these: (1) Assurance is based on the promises in God’s Word; (2) Assurance must not be based on our works; and (3) Assurance is an inseparable part of saving faith.
II. Assurance is Based on the Promises in God’s Word
The well-known text quoted above—John 5:13—teaches us that as...
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