A Voice from the Past Self-Examination As It Relates To Assurance -- By: James H. Brookes
JOTGES 6:2 (Autumn 93) p. 53
A Voice from the Past
Self-Examination As It Relates To Assurancea
It may be asked whether there are not certain evidences of conversion found in the Scriptures. Undoubtedly there are, but they are not given that we might derive from them the assurance of salvation. It was never intended that we should receive assurance by believing ourselves to be Christians, but by believing that Christ2 is our all-sufficient Saviour.
Look at any of the evidences of regeneration mentioned in the Bible, and a moment’s reflection will convince you that they were not designed to furnish assurance for which so many sad hearts are longing and striving.
Take, for example, the text, “Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7). This cannot give assurance, for there is not a Christian in the world whose love does not fall far below the measure of his desire and his duty.
Take the text, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (1 John 3:14.) This cannot give assurance, for there is no test to decide who are the brethren, and no standard to determine how fervent our love must be, or how far it must extend in covering the faults of those who claim to be Christians.
Take the text, “He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.” (1 John 3:24.) This cannot give assurance; for every true Christian, unless deluded by Satan, will confess that he fails to observe
JOTGES 6:2 (Autumn 93) p. 54
them in many particulars; that when he would do good evil is present with him; and that ‘no mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them, in thought, word, and deed.” Whatever purpose, therefore, these evidences may serve, it is a self-righteous and fruitless task to look to them for assurance.
Still, it may be urged that we are commanded to examine ourselves. But not, I reply, to discover whether we are Christians.
In the first passage where this command is given the context plainly shows that the examination refers only to the question whether the disciples of Christ were pursuing a course of conduct unbecoming those who came to the Lord’s table. “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,...
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