Full Assurance -- By: L. E. Brown
JOTGES 21:41 (Autumn 2008) p. 29
Interim Executive Pastor
Pauma Valley Community Church
Pauma Valley, California
It is widely known that the doctrine of assurance of salvation is at the center of the debate between Reformed and Arminian theologies on one side and Free Grace (FG) theology on the other. When stating the Grace Evangelical Society’s raison d’être, this affirmation was included:
The assurance of eternal salvation is based only on the promises God makes in His Word that everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ alone possesses eternal life. Good works, which can and should follow regeneration, are not necessary to a firm assurance of eternal life even though they may have a secondary, confirmatory value.1
This formulation of the doctrine of assurance is a hallmark of FG theology. If this formulation is abandoned, the entire theology collapses. Thus FG proponents have clarified and defended this crucial doctrine even when besieged by Reformed or Arminian scholars.
To this point the debate about assurance has been largely confined to questions about the grounds of assurance2 and how assurance intersects
JOTGES 21:41 (Autumn 2008) p. 30
faith.3 The relationship between assurance and sanctification has received less attention.4 This is unfortunate because assurance is a rich doctrine with broad implications beyond certainty about the believer’s eschatological fate. Assurance intersects doctrines as diverse as boldness in prayer,5 confidence to approach God,6 courage in the face trial,7 and perseverance motivated by hope.8 Clearly, assurance is a significant component in the believer’s sanctification.
This paper will argue that there is a fuller assurance all believers may acquire subsequent to salvation; it is in addition to the initial assurance all believers experience in justification.9 Colossians 2:1–3 and 4:12 will be examined in support of this argument.
In this paper the term “full(er...
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