Lesson 38 – Preservation and Perseverance of The Saints
In the previous two study sheets we have examined the London Confession of Faith as it dealt with “Of the Perseverance of the Saints.” In this study sheet we will examine the London Confession section entitled “Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation.” This subject of assurance of salvation is intimately connected with the truth of perseverance. As a child of God perseveres in faith and holiness he becomes more and more assured of his salvation.
1. Although temporary believers and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and (in a) state of salvation (Job 8:13-14; Matthew 7:22-23), which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured (I John 2:3; I John 3:14,18-19,21,24; I John 5:13) that they are in the state of grace; and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of god, which hope shall never make them (Rom. 5:2,5) ashamed.
2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon (Heb. 6:11,19) a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith, founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ (Heb. 6:17,18) revealed in the gospel; and also upon the inward (2 Pet. 1:4,5,10,11) evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the (Rom. 8:15,16) Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both (I John 3:1,2,3) humble and holy.
3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be (Ps. 88; Ps. 77:1-12) partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit, to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may without extraordinary revelation in the right use of means (I John 4:13; Heb. 6:11,12) attain thereunto; and therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper (Rom. 5:1,2; Rom. 14,17; Ps. 119:32) fruits of this assurance; so far is it (Rom. 6:1,2; Tit. 2:11,12,14) from inclining men to looseness.
4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as (Song of Sol. 5:2,3,6) by negligence in preserving of it, by (Ps. 51:8,12,14) falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit, by some sudden or (Ps. 116:11; 77:7,8; 31:22) vehement temptation, or by God’s withdrawing the (Ps. 30:7) light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light; yet are they never destitute of the (I John 3:9) seed of God, and life (Luke 22:32) of faith, that love of Christ and the bretheren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be (Ps. 42:5,11) revived, and by the which in the mean time they are (Lam. 3:26-31) preserved from utter despair.
1. Is it possible for a person to fully believe he is going to heaven when he dies and be wrong?
2. Is it possible for a child of God to have full assurance of his salvation while in this life?
3. On what grounds can a child of God base his assurance of salvation? What are the evidences of it?
4. Is it possible for a believer to struggle long and to experience agony of soul about his assurance?
5. Why is it important for a child of God to seek for the assurance of his salvation?
6. If a man is truly assured of his salvation, will this incline him to live a loose life?
7. What are some things that would temporarily shake the assurance of a true believer?
We have memorized Philippians 1:6; John 10:27-30; and Romans 8:38-39.
Let us memorize I Peter 1:5.