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We must first get some assurance of our salvation in that very faith by which Christ Himself is received into our hearts so we may be prepared by the benefits of the gospel to actually perform the duties of the law. We must endeavor to believe on Christ confidently, persuading and assuring ourselves, in the act of believing, that God freely gives to us many benefits in Christ and His salvation, according to His gracious promise.
This assurance is very necessary to enable us for the practice of holiness, just as the benefits must go before the duties of the law. Faith purifies the heart, and enables us to live and walk in the practice of all holy duties. This is done by the grace of Christ and by Christ Himself living in us. Before this faith can work, we need some assurance that Christ really loves us and that He gave Himself up for us. We cannot receive any of the benefit of the gospel, or the saving grace of Christ unless we have some confidence in the saving benefits. The benefits will secure and encourage us to a holy practice if we believe them. It is impossible for us to walk in holiness unless we believe that we are dead to sin, and alive to God through faith. We must believe that we are risen with Christ and are not under law, but under grace. It is impossible to serve God without believing in the benefits of the gospel of grace. Without confidence in God and these benefits we will never receive or partake of His divine nature.
God is well pleased and now freely offers the gift of Christ and His salvation to all of mankind. He truly desires to bring anyone who is willing into a state of grace even though they have been totally living in a state of sin and death. This gift of salvation and of His holiness is offered to the sinner when he is dead in sin and living fully in his corrupted nature. God now freely offers life to the wicked and unregenerate man to encourage them to receive it and enjoy the freedom from his corrupted nature. We can be very certain and have full assurance that God does really loves us now. No matter how wicked we may be now or have been in the past, God now stands ready to give us His gift of Christ and full salvation. So we can persuade ourselves, without looking on anything good in us, that God is now ready graciously to receive us into the arms of His saving mercy in Christ. No matter what our past rebellions and crimes against God were, He does offer this gift now.
Rom. 9:25-26 "I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her, beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, they shall be called the children of the living God."
We can have assurance through the simple free grace in Christ by partaking of holiness as well as forgiveness and by walking in holiness to the enjoyment of the glory of God. We will never truly desire this salvation if we are not brought first to see our own sinfulness and total sinful corrupted nature. The faith that receives Christ has no pride or confidence in the flesh, it is humble and self-loathing. Those that are persuaded of the free grace of God toward them in Christ know that they can never earn their salvation by their own legal works.
The gospel of grace will never become true for us until we actually believe it. If we are without Christ's salvation at the present time, in a state of sin and misery then we are commanded to assure ourselves of His great love and mercy toward us. To believe on Christ is the same with resting, relying, or leaning on Christ for our salvation. Believing on Christ for salvation, as freely promised to us, must include a dependence and assurance that salvation shall be freely given, as it is promised to us. This believing on Christ, is itself, not only the condition of our salvation, but also the instrument, mechanism or method by which we actually receive it.
Many times we face cares, worries, fears, troubles, despair, doubting, trials and temptations. The right way of trusting and hoping in the Lord, is, by assuring ourselves against all of these. We must assure our self that the Lord is our God, and He is our salvation. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer. My God, my strength, in whom I will trust. Behold God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. O my soul, hope thou in God, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. True hope is grounded in God only, that He will bless us, that He may be an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast. If you rest in the lord you must believe that He deals bountifully with you.
The faith by which we are made partakers of Christ must have confidence and a firm persuasion of the truth of the gospel of grace. This faith must be like Abraham's when he against hope, believed in hope, that his seed should certainly be multiplied according to the promise of God. He had to over look the fact of the deadness of his own body, and Sarah's womb. He had no evidence from his own qualifications and conditions to assure himself of it. All appearances were rather to the contrary. The promise to Abraham was absolute yet it was not to be fulfilled without his assurance of faith. By such faith, the free promise of salvation by Christ, will be absolutely fulfilled to us. Without assurance we shall never receive the salvation of Christ.
God has given us His promise and His word that we can come to Christ with confident faith, trusting assuredly that Christ and His salvation shall be given to us. No matter how corrupt or wicked we are, we can come to Him in our sinful condition without delay or hesitation, fully expecting Him to receive us into His loving arms and make us a partaker of His divine nature. This promise is universal that whosoever believes on Christ, shall not be ashamed. This promise is confirmed by the blood of Christ, who was given for the world, and lifted up upon the cross. Whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved. God has joined confidence and salvation inseparably together. Christ must be taken immediately by believing confidently on him for salvation. This is the record, that God has gives us eternal life; and this life is in the Son. God has given His faithful word that who ever believes Him for His great salvation shall indeed have it. Now it is up to you, do you now believe God or call Him a liar and reject His salvation by your unbelief?
We can place our confidence in God and His promises knowing full well that we can place no confidence in our own flesh. We are not to assure ourselves by looking at any of our own abilities. We can not trust ourselves but we can fully trust in Him and His promises.
Please examine this promise of God.
1 Thess. 5:23-24 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who will also do it."
This promise covers all the needs of a person. It is sinful unbelief if you do not expect the fulfillment of the promise. The person claiming distrust is saying, "Lord you said you would sanctify me wholly in soul, body and spirit but I do not believe it. I do not believe you can for I distrust myself." The lack of trust in oneself is not an excuse for failing to experience the results of the promise. Do not fool yourself. Unbelief is sin and the only real reason that a person fails.
Believers are the children and heirs of God because they had not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness to their spirits, that they are the children of God. And if children, then heirs. Believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit which was the earnest of their inheritance.
If a person seeks to be saved by faith but has no confidence or assurance in God's full salvation he will only deceive himself. He seeks to be saved from his corrupted nature without receiving, and laying actual hold of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saving faith will purify the heart, and enable us to live and walk in all holiness, by the grace of Christ, and by Christ himself actually living in us. No one can walk above his own strength and power by the Spirit, before they have made sure of their living by the Spirit. We cannot walk in any of the benefits of the gospel of grace unless we have some confidence in those saving benefits. If we do not assuredly believe, that we are dead to sin, and alive to God through Christ we will never experience His freedom. We must believe that we are not under the law but under grace. We must believe that we are members of Christ's body and the temple of His Spirit. We do not actually receive into our hearts our reconciliation with God until we assure ourselves that God is graciously pleased to be our father and God and truly wants us to be His children. We can not receive any strength to encourage our hearts in holiness in all difficulties, until we can steadfastly believe that God is with us and will not forsake us.
Many claim to believe but they remain in their legalistic efforts which can never bring them to serve God acceptably out of love. We must have some assurance of our salvation by our act of faith. By this act of faith we are justified, sanctified, and saved. Some preachers teach that sinners must first get faith and obedience and when they have done that, they are ready for God to save them. This teaching is wrong, sinners cannot believe or obey except God assist them with His grace and favor. The correct teaching shows them the free promise of salvation to the worst of sinners by faith in Christ. Exhort them to apply these promises and trust on Christ confidently for the remission of sins, and holiness. Also assure them that God Himself will help them to believe sincerely on Christ, if they desire it with all their hearts. Tell them that it is their duty to believe, because God commanded it.
The only way to be free from sin and not fall into temptation is to get your assurance in God by trusting assuredly in the Lord your God to keep you from falling. If you put any assurance in your own self to keep yourself from falling by your own efforts and energy, you will fall. Your assurance must be in God Himself to do what He has promised He will do. He will give you both the will and the power to accomplish His perfect will.