Posted by: William | March 9, 2008

Assurance & Holiness

I thought on this Sunday afternoon I would share with everyone a short quotation from the well written Thomas Watson. I stumbled upon this quote while perusing The Puritan Golden Treasury and it reminded me of how sweetly the Lord deals with us; not as we deserve, but with his grace and mercy.


Whenever God pardons sin, He subdues it. Micah 7:19. Then is the condemning power of sin taken away, when the commanding power of it is taken away. If a malefactor be in prison, how shall he know that his prince hath pardoned him? If a jailer come and knock off his chains and fetters, and lets him out of prison, then he may know he is pardoned; so, how shall we know God hath pardoned us? If the fetters of sin be broken off, and we walk at liberty in the ways of God, this is a blessed sign we are pardoned.”


Watson’s thought here is one that I continually come back to. It’s both uncomfortable and comforting all at once. Scripture is clear that a simple profession will not save a person from the fires of hell. Whether we believe that our salvation hinge purely on the electing power of Christ, or on our true belief in Christ—this thought shouts loudly for introspection and a life lived very seriously.


How can we know we are saved? How can we know we are pardoned from sin? Sin’s reign in our lives will be decreasing and decreasing and although we will still sin we will grow consistently in holiness. So while our holiness will not save us—couldn’t save us—when we are saved, we begin to be holy.


We place ourselves in a dangerous position when we manufacture our own assurance. In truth, sin’s greatest threat is that the assurance of our salvation be broken; if our assurance is broken, then we might plead and beg for mercy, which will lead us to holiness and a more assured faith. Should we fall away finally, we would have found that mercy, grace and true belief were never really ours—the assurance of our salvation would be completely destroyed and in that place of fear and brokenness, we might beg that we would truly be given the mercy and grace that we had feigned.


Jesus, I pray that you would cause a great introspection in your church. I pray that we would look soberly at our lives and in the places we might have been denying or unduly easing our conviction. Jesus, I pray that if you would see fit to allow our assurance to shake, or crack, that you would do so to your glory and in order to establish our faith in you, causing us to truly grow in holiness. Jesus, I pray that where there is false assurance in me and in your church, you would remove it. For the sake of your glory, sanctify us God, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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