2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV
Review – foundation of grace (calling and election)
Connection – Link to the reason; God wants us to be productive for him. Assurance is tied in with effectiveness and productivity. As we experience assurance of salvation, we will be fruitful and productive.
I. Our responsibility regarding our assurance of salvation
A. What is Peter saying in these words?
1.This is a command. Yet what some people call holiness or a changed life is far removed from the New Testament Scriptures, because they pay little serious attention to such commands.
2.The attitude required—σπουδασατε—be zealous or eager, take pains, make every effort.
B.How can you make your calling and election sure? How can you be certain that God has chosen and called you?
II.Examine yourself for evidence of a living faith.
A.There are two extremes to avoid. The first could be called “decision card assurance”. This focuses attention on the event of conversion and one’s personal action, instead of focusing attention on the Lord. It emphasizes “never question your salvation”, and the result is carnal security. The second could be called “spiritual pulse taking”. This focuses the attention on one’s own works rather than on Jesus Christ. It emphasizes “never be deceived”, and the result is spiritual depression.
Comment: Both of these extremes are extremely dangerous!
B.There is a better method for obedience to this command.
(1)Realize that there is a time for self-examination (2 Cor 13:5). However, self-examination is not all there is in the spiritual life. God the Father has much more for you to do. The best time for spiritual examination is not immediately after a difficult fight with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Illustration: Give the wounded time to recover before they exert themselves again.
(2)Ask the Lord to help you evaluate yourself by the light of the Word. He has called his people to holiness (1 Th 4:7; 1 Pt 1:15-16). Is there evidence of and a desire for the good fruit of holiness (1 Jn 3:3)? He has chosen his people to be holy (Eph 1:4). Are you wearing the “clothing” that the saints are to wear (Col 3:12)?
(3)Remember that no godly person is perfect in this life (1 Jn 2:1). We must distinguish between the ideal and the real. The ideal is living daily by faith to become more and more Christ-like; the real painfully falls short of that.
Illustration: Having spiritual life is like being married. If you are married, there is evidence of that spiritual union (Rm 7:4). You have love for the Bridegroom, however imperfectly you may love Christ.
C.Apply yourself to the promises of God by faith.
a.God the Holy Spirit used the Word in the creation of your new life (1 Pt 1:23). He showed you your need of salvation by his Word. He revealed to you the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Word. He caused you to hear the faithful Savior’s voice through the Word. Our spiritual experience always requires the Word of God.
b.Now, are you still relying on the Word of Christ? Faith in the New Testament Scriptures is primarily expressed in the present tense. The one who is born of God believes now (1 Jn 5:1). So we can ask, is Christ Jesus your hope today?
Illustration: A married person doesn’t destroy his/her marriage certificate, but rejoices in its truth.
D.Rely on the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
a.After all, assurance is his work (Rm 8:16; 1 Jn 3:24). Think on these phrases: “The Spirit himself…” and “We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” The Holy Spirit testifies that in Christ we are God’s children, that Christ loved us and gave himself for us, and that Christ intercedes for us continually. He maximizes Christ in our spiritual vision.
b.Someone might object, “But this seems so subjective.” The answer is easy if you care to receive it. Love is subjective; love is felt. The Spirit calls out, “Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6; cf. Eph 3:16-19). “This is a testimony designed for the satisfaction of believers themselves, and cannot be submitted to the scrutiny of others.” [Haldane, Commentary on Romans, p. 362] The Scriptures indicate the reality of this testimony in several places (Jn 14:23; Rm 5:5; 1 Jn 5:10).
Quote: “As the heart knoweth its own bitterness, in like manner a stranger intermeddles not with the joy communicated by this secret testimony to our spirit.” [Haldane, p. 363]
c.This testimony by the Spirit can vary according to our response to the Spirit himself (Eph 4:30; 1 Th 4:19).
Quote: “Though not felt always as vividly as it is sometimes, and though overshadowed from time to time by feelings of doubt and despair, this confidence remains constant….” [Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 78]
Illustration: The person who is married knows that he or she is. The child of God knows that he or she is united to the living Lord Jesus by the Spirit of life.