Thanks A Lot!- What Easy Believism Has to Offer Those Who Doubt Their Salvation

Yesterday I posted on what amounts to be Lordship Salvation in opposition to Free Grace theology. I did not talk about it at the time, though I mentioned it in the comments, but to me one of the most important aspects of Lordship Salvation, or, in the terms of the post, obedient faith, is that it gives you a ground for assurance of your salvation.

Assurance of faith is so crucial to the believer. We all sin, even after our “conversion experience,” and so it is inevitable that a day will come when you are beat down and ask yourself, Was I really saved to begin with?

That is where I want to go. I have pulled a recent transcript of a conversation between a prominent Arminian Free Grace pastor and a man who is doing just what we’ve described, questioning his personal salvation. See if this makes you feel better:

CALLER: Yes. I’m a divorced, white male, 46-years-old. I’ve been on disability for severe depression and anxiety. And many years ago, I accepted Christ as my savior. But I’ve always struggled with my feeling saved, basically, and I guess my basic question to you is, how can you prove that God and heaven exists, that there is an afterlife and, also, can you measure your salvation by your feelings?

PASTOR: Well, I don’t know that I can prove anything. I think you have to accept it by faith because it’s not going to make sense to your mind but I don’t think you can live out your salvation or your belief in God by your feelings.

I think you have to, you know, in his case he needs to know, you know, who God made him to be and to feel that purpose. There are many, many people like him. That’s who we deal with a lot. That’s why we talk a lot about self-esteem and knowing again who Christ made you to be and just believing that you’re, you know, I call it a child of the most high God and you have to get your fire back and your enthusiasm back. There are so many people that are just down in the dumps, discouraged. They kind of got a victim mentality. But you know what? My encouragement is God’s going to open up some new doors but you have to get up first.

I’m convinced, how about you? The real kicker for me is this: the caller says that he’s “struggl[ing] with [his] feeling saved,” and the pastor tells him to “[know] again who Christ made [him] to be and just [believe] that [he's] . . . a child of the most high God.” But that’s exactly what this guy is questioning, if he actually is “a child of of the most high God”! So, in essence, the caller is asking how he can know he’s saved and the pastor tells him he is. That’s not assurance. That’s dang near universalism!

Now, I agree, if you are “a child of the most high God” then you are saved, but the question is how do you know this? I don’t think Scripture could be any clearer:

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8.15-17)

It is the Holy Spirit, the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, that confirms to you that you are indeed a son of God. This is the simplest and most blessed assurance there can be. The assurance offered by Free Grace, the “Because I said so” mentality, provides nothing; there is no evidence in this at all. However, if we have the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit then we have rock solid proof of our salvation, a comfort that no money or spiritual hand-waving can buy.

But how do we receive this inner testimony, you ask? That’s where Lordship Salvation, obedient faith, comes into play. The Spirit’s witness to  salvation is present in the lives of true believer’s because there is, as John Piper said in the quote from yesterday, “fruit of faith” in their lives. The Spirit bears witness to our sonship by effecting the changed life which leads towards a conforming to the image of Christ, and it is the visible occurrence of this new creation which works to comfort or souls.  We can be assured because we have seen the changes that the Spirit has wrought in us.

Assurance in such a beautiful thing, such a comforting and blessed gift, and to give people a false assurance of salvation based on a corrupt theology is, to me, among the most damnable of offenses any pastor could commit.

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