Agonizomai: Assurance and Obedience

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Assurance and Obedience
Show me a person who does not have assurance and I will show you a person who does not have obedience.

Gleanings 6.216

4 Comments:

Anonymous Rachel said...

Can you tell me where this is taught in Scripture? I thought we were to look to Christ & His obedience for our assurance of salvation, not our own. Whenever I look to my own track record of obedience, I become flooded with doubts concerning my salvation - It does not bring me assurance, but when I turn my eyes to what Christ has done, then I gain much assurance. Is there something I'm not understanding? Help!

4:19 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for taking the time to question this. Fear not. I wouldn't disagree with you. The problem with pithy sayings is that they are not systematic theologies.

There is a lot more to say about this, but I'm pressed for time right now. I'll post a fuller response later today or early tomorrow.


Blessings,


Tony

9:01 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Rachel: Can you tell me where this is taught in Scripture? I thought we were to look to Christ & His obedience for our assurance of salvation, not our own. Whenever I look to my own track record of obedience, I become flooded with doubts concerning my salvation - It does not bring me assurance, but when I turn my eyes to what Christ has done, then I gain much assurance. Is there something I'm not understanding? Help!

Rachel,

No, you're not missing anything. You are completely right when you identify Christ and His finished work as the source of your assurance. I'm sorry that this entry caused you some angst.

But there are people who lack assurance. And there are others with false assurance. Some have a weak faith and some have a wrong faith. So how do we point them to Christ? Law and gospel.

We show them that lack of assurance is rooted in their own inability to obey not having been properly brought to the cross. In your case you know where to go.

In my own case I wasted away for years in performance based religion. I simply didn't get the absolute magnificence and sufficiency of God's grace in Christ and the utter bankruptcy of my own efforts to please God. As a result of my improper understanding of the gospel I lacked assurance. But it was eventually that very inability to obey that exhausted my efforts to self-justify.

There are people who have to come go the brink. They need to lack assurance so that they will be rid of the possibility of false assurance. I am glad that I went through this particular wringer rather than thinking my salvation secure when it wasn't.

As to scripture, there are lots of places where the teachings are designed to place us in the impossible situation of complying when we can't, precisely so that we will come to the end of ourselves and avoid false assurance. The schoolmaster of law still exists to drive us towards grace. "If you love me you will keep my commandments" (John 14:23) comes to mind.

And we are exhorted in 2Cor 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?––unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

Until we come to rest in Christ alone we will lack assurance because our disobedience will convict us. I'm glad that you have found that rest. It took me a long time. And there are others out there who struggle with these things.

I hope your courage in questioning this saying, and my feeble attempts at explaining, will be of benefit to someone out there.



Blessings,



Tony

7:20 pm  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Thank you, Tony, for taking the time to help me understand this.

9:47 pm  

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