LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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Lesson 4 The Assurance of Salvation

 

Devotional Reading:   Psalm 13

 

Memory Verse:           Romans 8:16

 

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

 

LESSON TEXT

 

Luke 1:76–77. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.

 

Romans 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 8:14–16. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

 

Hebrews 10:22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

1 John 3:14, 19. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. . . . And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

 

1 John 5:19. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

 

COMMENTS ON THE LESSON TEXT

 

Luke 1:76–77. The work of John the Baptist is described. The end is that we may know we are saved. The knowledge of remission must come from God.

Romans 5:1. Inward peace is counted a fruit, hence a proof, of forgiveness and remission obtained in justification.

Romans 8:14–15. The Spirit whom we have received and by whom we are guided is a proof of our salvation. V16. Two witnesses—the Spirit and our spirit—testify to our salvation.

Hebrews 10:22. Full assurance is possible only where there has been the necessary cleansing.

1 John 3:14. Our knowledge of salvation is positive. This knowledge is based on the fruit of love. Lack of the fruit is regarded proof of the lack of salvation. V19. Such proof gives a definite assurance.

1 John 5:19. Knowledge of our acceptance give the corresponding knowledge that all contrary is false.

 

LESSON TOPIC: THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

 

I. THE FACT OF ASSURANCE

 

1. Definition.

 

By assurance we mean the knowledge or conviction that one possesses that he is a child of God.

 

2. Assurance is possible.

 

A) Man can know he is saved. We know we are alive and many other facts about ourselves. It is possible to know that we are children of God. B) God can make known our acceptance. He has revealed himself in many ways and is able to make man know he is saved.

 

3. Assurance is needed.

 

A) That man may not be in continual doubt and fear concerning his soul’s condition. B) That one may have confidence and boldness to win others to Christ.

 

4. Assurance is a fact.

 

A) Definite Bible teaching assures us that we may know we are saved. B) Many Christians are as confident of their salvation as of any other fact of experience.

 

II. ASSURANCE FROM GOD

 

1. The witness of the Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit testifies to our salvation. This is an independent, direct, and reliable evidence.

A) In knowledge of acceptance. We are assured that our sins are forgiven and the penalty is remitted. B) Assurance of sonship. The Spirit assures us we are children of God. He enables us to regard God as our Father. C) A continued witness. The Spirit “beareth witness.” This is not alone the initial assurance but continued testimony.

 

2. The need of such assurance.

 

A) Changes within us testify to our regeneration from which we rightly deduct the fact of forgiveness, but B) Since forgiveness of sin and the remission of its penalty is a change in God’s attitude, only the Spirit can bear direct testimony to this fact.

 

3. How it is received.

 

A) It is immediate. The witness of the Spirit does not come through the natural senses but is a fact impressed on our consciousness directly by the Spirit. B) It is above reason. We cannot tell how we know we are saved, but we can know that we know it. Like the fact of consciousness, it is above reason, but all deductions support it.

 

4. Accompanying manifestations.

 

A) The assurance of salvation is sometimes accompanied with such manifestations as an ecstasy of glory, a flood of light, a glow of warmth, or a serene calmness and many others. B) These are not to be confused with the witness of the Spirit which does not come through physical senses but is direct consciousness in the soul. Such manifestations are not to be sought after or depended upon. They may be entirely absent where the witness of the Spirit is consciously present.

 

III. THE TESTIMONY OF OUR OWN SPIRIT

 

1. The fact of such testimony.

 

The Spirit bears witness with our spirit. This gives us two witnesses supporting each other.

 

2. The change within our spirit.

 

This change is so noticeable that it is described as receiving a new spirit.

A) The removal of guilt. The convicted sinner is deeply conscious of his guilt. The removal of this burden is a testimony to our salvation. B) Changed desires. Love for sin and self destroyed, and a desire to please God takes its place. C) Changed feelings. Instead of hatred, malice, bitterness, pride, etc., there is love for God and God’s people and the associated feelings.

 

3. The testimony or our reason.

 

A) By comparison we know that there is a change in our life. B) As the new fruits are the fruits of the Spirit we rightly deduct that we have been born of the Spirit.

 

IV. DEGREES OF ASSURANCE

 

1. There are different temperaments.

 

Some are very emotional so are keen to recognize any change of feeling; others are cool and calculating, hence they are slower to grasp the witness. Some are inclined to doubting, while with others it is quite natural to trust.

 

2. The intensity is not constant in the individual.

 

The same person may at one time be deeply conscious of a sweet assurance and at other times scarcely conscious of it at all. At such seasons the bare evidence of our reason is a valid proof of our salvation.

 

3. It is affected by the degree of piety.

 

As a rule the more devout and earnest one is the greater will be the assurance. Indifference to spiritual things is accompanied by a loss of joy of salvation.

 

4. It is sometimes withheld as a test.

 

The witness of the Spirit may be withdrawn for a time to test our faith. Such tests are but “for a season, if need be.”

 

5. The initial assurance may differ.

 

Some are distinctly aware of the Spirit, while others can scarcely tell that they ever received such a witness but they possess a deep assurance of salvation. Such an assurance may be regarded as the witness of the Spirit although its coming may have been quiet and unobserved.

 

V. DOUBTING SALVATION

 

1. Causes of doubting.

 

A) Lack of a definite witness. A clear testimony of the Spirit at the time of salvation is of great value but it is not essential to salvation. Our past experience cannot be changed, but we may possess a present assurance. B) Confusing the assurance with feelings. Feelings vary and are affected greatly by circumstances not under our control. We need not expect the same degree of ecstasy at all times. We may be as sure of our salvation when under depression as when “on the mountain top.” C) Stop seeking the witness. We are nowhere commanded to seek the witness or to tarry for it. We are told to believe. D) Believe the Bible promises. When we base our faith on God’s word, having met its conditions, the assurance of our salvation will soon appear. E) Obey God. Keep your promise to God and do his will whether he ever blesses you or not. He will reward you.