Thoughts Before The Talk: An Assurance of Salvation

Dr. Thomas Oden notes that "Methodists...need to be clear about this teaching [assurance]'because it is one grand part of the testimony which God has given them to bear to all humanity.'" So then let me get down to the very point at hand, do you have an assurance of your salvation?

I know I'm not beating around the bush here. John Wesley's concern that Methodists exist as a dead sect might as well apply to all of the Church and I think this small, often neglected doctrine is a contributing factor. We run out to face the storms of life, trying to run faster to dodge rain drops and only find ourselves getting wetter. We get back soaked and wonder and wail at God but by the door sets quietly the umbrella - a gift from God our Father.

We cannot avoid going out in the storm. We cannot hope to run fast enough. In fact, we run the risk of face planting on slick path. We can however, walk with assurance that God is with us, we can KNOW, we are God's own child. Wesley wrote to Miss Bishop on June 12, 1773, "Seek one thing, and you will be far less troubled with unprofitable reasonings."

Does the idea of an assurance of salvation interest you? If so, two things jump out to me from Paul's words and from Wesley's experience. One, it is a completely spiritual thing going beyond 3 points and a poem. And two, you have to surround yourself with family, that is, other Jesus-followers going after God.

Father Richard Rohr put it this way, “We are already spiritual beings; we just don’t know it.” (Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 17). Ain't that an understatement!

May I Ask? What has been your experience with people giving you assurances? How about insurance? How does that effect your willingness to trust God?

May I Suggest? For you up to a challenge, go read and reflect on Wesley's sermons 9-12. You may want to read 1 3:24, 2 Corinthians 1:12 and Romans 8:16. Be patient as you pray for God to give you this assurance if you desire it.


Gary said...

Many Christians have said the following to themselves during a very difficult period in their life: Am I really saved? Here are the thought processes on this issue for an Evangelical and a Lutheran:

The Evangelical's Assurance of Salvation:

1. At age ___ I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. At that moment I asked Jesus to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior and to forgive me of my sins.

2. But since I am currently questioning my salvation, maybe I didn't "do it" correctly. Maybe I didn't fully understand what I was doing. Maybe I didn't fully repent. Maybe I didn't really have complete faith. Maybe I did it just because my friends were doing it. Maybe...

3. I don't know...maybe I should "do it" again, just to be 100% sure.

The Lutheran's Assurance of Salvation:

1. Have I been baptized into the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, thereby receiving God's promise of the forgiveness of my sins, salvation of my soul, faith, and eternal life?
Answer: Yes.

2. Have I outright rejected Christ as my Lord and Savior?
Answer: No.

3. Am I living a life of ongoing sin in willful disobedience and defiance of my Lord?
Answer: No.

Therefore, I KNOW I am saved!

When your assurance of salvation is based on what GOD did and not what you did, it makes all the difference in the world!

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