Assurance: Of The Essence Of Saving Faith -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 10:1 (Spring 1997)
Article: Assurance: Of The Essence Of Saving Faith
Author: Zane C. Hodges

Of The Essence Of Saving Faith

Zane C. Hodges

Mesquite, Texas

I. Introduction

A recent political cartoon in USA Today caught my attention. It is surprisingly relevant to my subject.

In the cartoon a man and a woman were facing each other. Both of them looked like somewhat off-beat types. In the first panel, the man said, “Elvis is alive,” and the woman replied something like, “I agree with you.” In the second panel, the man said, “I was kidnapped by aliens,” and the woman replied, “I believe you.” In the third panel, the man said, “Congress and the White House are cooperating on the budget,” and the woman turned away from him and said, “Nut!”

Of course, the cartoonist is indulging in political satire. Somewhat hyperbolically he suggests that it is easier to believe Elvis is alive or that aliens kidnap earthlings, than it is to believe that a Democratic President and a Republican Congress can actually cooperate on a matter of major political importance. But along with this satire comes a reminder about the ordinary, common-sense way of talking about belief.

As the cartoonist and all the rest of us know, believing something may have little to do with the actual evidence for that belief. A person can believe that Elvis is alive, even though the evidence for that is presumably rather meager. The same goes for the idea of alien kidnappings. And on the other hand, some people will feel that the idea of Republican and Democratic cooperation would require quite a bit of proof to be believable. But if a person thinks any of these things is true, he obviously believes them.

Saving faith really is not any different. A person either believes the offer of eternal life or he doesn’t. It really isn’t relevant how he came to believe it, whether his or her reasons were good ones or not. The issue is not how a person came to believe, but whether or not he does. But that leads me to the subject of this article. If someone does believe the

offer of eternal life—as the Bible presents this offer—he will also be sure that he has eternal life. This is what we mean when we say that assurance is of the essence of saving faith.

I will try to defend this claim biblically in a moment. But let me just restate the matter in order to make it clear. The nature of the gospel message is such that, when a person believes it, he necessarily has assurance of eternal salvation. No matter what else he might believe, if he is not assured, he has not believed the gospel. The fact of the matter is that a ...

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