We Believe In Assurance Of Salvation -- By: Zane C. Hodges
JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009) p. 11
We Believe In
Assurance Of Salvation1
It is 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).”
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.
JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009) p. 12
II. Assurance Is Based On The Promises In God’s Word
The well-known text quoted above—1 John 5:13—teaches us that assurance of salvation is based on the testimony of God. That is to say, assurance is founded on God’s Word.
Regrettably, however, this obvious fact is often overlooked. A very large number of commentators regard the words “these things I have written to you” as a statement about the purpose of the entire epist...
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