One of the greatest helps in feeling hopeful is to know God wants us to feel hopeful. It is not very comforting to believe that some people are saved but then not to know if we are included in that. My own heart has been enriched by the assurance of my own salvation, and I want you to know this for yourself as well.
Way back in 1654 Thomas Brooks published Heaven on Earth. The subtitle of this 300-page book is “A Treatise in Christian Assurance.” It was reprinted in 1982 and is not too bad a read. If you are hungry for a Bible-saturated, passionate meal of solid protein, then get this book. Brooks writes:
Beloved in our dearest Lord, you are those worthies ‘of whom this world is not worthy,’ (Hebrews 11:38). You are the princes ‘that prevail with God,’ (Genesis 32:28). You are those ‘excellent ones’ in whom is all Christ’s delight, (Psalm 16:3). You are His glory. You are His picked, culled, prime instruments which He will make use of to carry on His best and greatest work against His worst and greatest enemies in these latter days.
I have been reading through the Book of Hebrews recently. Hebrews 6:17 says, “God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised...” This really grabbed me! It was so fresh, so needed, and so precious. God desires to show us very clearly that His saving purposes for us are unshakable. God wants me to enjoy the security of His good plans for me.
So many religions (and even some brands of Christianity) say, “Yes, God saves people. But no, you can’t be sure if you are included. You can’t be sure your works are good enough or your faith is strong enough.” This is deadly...and it’s wrong. God has done and said so much to give His people assurance and security and it’s therefore an assault on His integrity to say that we can’t have it.
1 John 5:13 - “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
2 Corinthians 5:1,5 - “We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
Hebrews 10:22-23 - “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”
Thomas Brooks tells the story of Alexander the Great, who gave away his gold when he went on a hopeful expedition. When asked why he did this, he said, “For the hope of greater and better things.” The same, and even more, is for us. If we are confident of greater and better things, we will have the freedom to live radically for Jesus.
Pray with me: “Lord, thank you for today … for the hope You give and the assurance that comes with it … and, most especially, for Your presence as my strength. Amen.”
Pastor Stephen writes weekly with his thoughts for MBC.