Obtaining Real Assurance of Being in God’s Grace
Psalm 103:8-18: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”
Just because many are presumptuous about obtaining God’s mercy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be confident in having obtained God’s mercy if we are truly contrite over our sins and walking in the light of His Word to the best of our knowledge. God’s will is to bring us to obtain His mercy and into fellowship with Himself. We are not taking Him at His Word if we think that being in His grace is some elusive thing which is impossible to attain in this life.
1 John chapter 1: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (this is a reference to saying we have no sin, when according to the light of His Word, we do). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (we’ll see as we go into 1 John chapter 2 that John wrote these things that we sin not).”
In walking in the light of God’s Word and being in covenant with Him there is provision for continuing in His grace through Jesus Christ’s High Priesthood. When we’ve turned to God with our hearts alienated from sin, we are still not restored to God’s image and we still might fail and sin occasionally. What sinner’s often call falling into sin is actually remaining attached to their carnality, walking in darkness, and hence making sin inevitable for them. Just because they justify their sins like this, it does not mean that there is no continual conflict and potential failure in sin for the true saint. To walk well on the narrow path and continue in Christ we must be quick to ask for His forgiveness when we fail- and believe in His gracious character and cleansing power.
1 John 2:1-6: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Hebrews 4:14-16: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Real Christians need to be told this. No faithful Christian ever gets past the need for this.
Back to 1 John. 1 John 4:13-19: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
Fear in this passage is a reference to dread in relation to God. The Bible certainly teaches that we must both fear and love God. It also teaches that those who fear God in truth and walk in the terms of His covenant do not need to fear His punishment (or fear anything or anyone else). Adam and Eve’s lack of trembling at God’s commandment caused them to transgress God’s commandment. This transgression then caused them to dread God’s presence and hide from Him. The Apostle John is assuring the Christians here that if they in truth love God and keep the commandments of His Word in following Jesus Christ, then they need not dread God. This course, when followed to the end, will rather lead to boldness on the day of judgment. Even on a human level, we know that bad employees dread the presence of their supervisor (generally). Unreasonable, rigorous supervisors can cause even good employees to dread their presence. Yet the true God is truly good and gracious, and those who come to Him through Jesus Christ, walking in a good faith effort to do that which is pleasing to Him according to His Word, can be confident in His grace both now and on the day of judgment.
Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The God of the Bible is not impossible to please. Those who have forsaken all willing attachment to sin and are wholeheartedly striving to do what He commands them should not dread His presence. One aspect of relating properly to Him is to submit to the judgments of His Word in all things. And as important as it is to testify to those who practice sin that they have no peace with Him, it is also essential to receive that He has justified you and that He is with you if your life has no controversy with Jesus’ Lordship and you relate to Him through the blood which His Son shed as the basis for your redemption and mercy before the Father. When the General tells a soldier under him to be at ease, then the soldier should comply. Why should the soldier provoke him by doing otherwise? And why should he make things harder than they have to be for himself?
1 John chapter 5: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (whosoever believes the testimony of God’s Word concerning Jesus Christ and submits to Him as the Ultimate authority figure whom He is): and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (too heavy). For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
Obey God and follow Jesus Christ confidently then. Trust that the Lord is with you and will guide and keep you as you seek to discern and to do the things that are pleasing to Him.
Proverbs 4:7-8: “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler (a type of shield) to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]