Monday, June 23, 2008

Spurgeon: Election and assurance of salvation

July 17

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God' - 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by 'looking unto Jesus'. If you desire to ascertain your own election; after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? Go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell Him that you have read in the Bible, 'Him that cometh unto me, I will in no way case out'. Tell Him that He has said, 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'. Look to Jesus and believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, 'I want to know first whether I am elect', you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious enquiry about election alone. Go stright to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, 'I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to Him'. Christ was at the everlasting council: He can tel you whether you were chosen or not, but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in Him, and His answer will be - "I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee'. There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him.

'Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe.'

[Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evenings: Daily readings by Charles Spurgeon (Christian Focus Publications, Ross-shire, Scotland, Great Britain, 1994)]


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!

PuritanReformed said...


what is an "evangelical"? Do you acknowledge a difference between "evangelical" and Reformed, since we Reformed do not take this position as our own?

The Reformed position on assurance of salvation is seeing Christ as the mirror of election. To know one's election, one turns to Christ, for Christ has promised that all who come to Him He will not cast out (Jn. 6:37). Salvation is Christo-centric, a trusting on Christ alone for salvation.

We believe that baptism is a means of grace. The remembrance of one's baptism aids us in our faith in Christ. Baptism however does not save anyone. Unlike Lutheran thought, we removed all vestiges of ex opere operato and reject baptismal regeneration. Baptism only saves in the sense that is it the external sign of that which should be true, i.e. the inner reality of regeneration. The sacraments only work when combined with faith.

The problem with your form of achieving assurance of salvation is that it is based upon an external act of the sacrament, instead of a full trust in the person of Christ. The Spirit works with the Word, not through the Word. There is no saving efficacy of the sacraments apart from faith, unless you want to claim that unbelievers who partake of the elements of the Supper receive spiritual benefits through it.