Tuesday, September 22, 2009

HOW MAY I KNOW I HAVE UNDERSTOOD THE GOSPEL AND THAT I AM ELECT?
by A.W. Pink


First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced.

Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ.

Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.


Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative. -A .W. Pink

6 comments:

vaughn said...

Pink nails this. Excellent summary for those questioning their salvation. Thanks, Steve, for publishing this.

Nick said...

This doesn't really show one is elect or not, that must ultimately be assumed from the get go, which ultimately means there is no 'infallible assurance'.

BUT the fun doesn't stop there, look at what John Calvin taught:

QUOTE: "... Experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence, it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption .... there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith .... Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their mind to this extent .... there is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent” (3.2.11, Institutes)."

In other words, God can enlighten your mind through grace in order to deceive you into thinking you have faith and are saved. With that, there goes any sense of 'knowledge of election' and 'assurance'.

Spike said...

"In other words, God can enlighten your mind through grace in order to deceive you into thinking you have faith and are saved."

Nick: I don't really think that's what Calvin is teaching. There are all degrees of the reprobate. Obvious unbelievers to the "almost there" unbelievers. God wants all to be saved, but He doesn't save all, has mercy on whom he has mercy.

It's not a black and white distinction. But really, when you are saved, you know it, even if others only think wrongly they are saved, not understanding the true gospel and it's truth.

As you quoted Calvin, "there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith..." That's just it... a fading faith. If it's fading faith to be a time of discipline, great, the elect should expect that, and rejoice in discipline, as more proof of their election, and a time of celebration when they return to Christ through his promise. But if it's just fading... A lot of "unbelievers" are caught up in various Christian movements, and movements fade. God is not deceiving anyone like it's a joke to him, that would hardly glorify him. He's letting false teachers deceive and unbelievers deceive themself. Regardless, when a true believer understands the grace of the gospel in all it's truth (Col 1:6) then he is never the same again, and by God's grace he knows the promises are for him.

Hope I understood you correctly.

John said...

And I thought all you had to know was that God loved me and had a wonderful plan for my life! :)

Darrin said...

Great reminder that salvation is not based in us but is evidenced in us.

maskedtyper said...

"Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness."

Isn't this the crux of the matter? True salvation brings about repentance and a desire to do the will of the Father *and the Spirit bears witness to us of our salvation*.

We are truly assured of our salvation when the Spirit witnesses to our spirit. Otherwise we will be like those who say, "Lord, Lord" and He says, "Depart, I *never* knew you".

Spike said, "God wants all to be saved, but He doesn't save all, has mercy on whom he has mercy."

If He wants it, why doesn't He do it? A God who practices self-denial...that's a good one.