#231, ASSURANCE OF SAVING FAITH ESTABLISHED IN THIS PRESENT TRUTH, #15
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth, 2PE 1:12.
The Apostle Peter is giving us a significant message. He is saying that even though we know these things, he will remind us of them. There is a difference between knowing something and remembering it.
What does Peter mean by "the present truth?" Satan loves over reaction; he will use a partial truth to make a lie. Peter is telling us we need the whole truth, not a partial truth. Lets go back to Verse 4 which says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
I want to take you through the eras of the church to show you how each era has a present truth which becomes needful to counteract a partial truth used by Satan to enter into the churches with his lie. Peter is telling us the present truth is needed to balance the truth to give us the whole counsel of God. It is important to understand this.
As we see the church passing from one era into another, we see the need for emphasis on different points of doctrine. When the church becomes caught up in a fallacy, then certain points of doctrine become essential to counter that. That is the meaning of "these present truths."
As the church passed from what is known as the dark ages where the doctrine and teaching of the church was salvation by works, the emphasis was on salvation by grace, not by works. The reformation brought forth Luther and Calvin and other reformers who placed the emphasis on salvation by grace. That was the present truth that was needed to counter the error of the teaching of salvation by works.
Satan came in with his over-reaction to use those truths to make a lie. Again, partial truth is an instrument of Satan. The main emphasis of the preaching at that time centered on ROM 4:5-6. This was the truth, but by taking it out of context and omitting other truths, Satan created a lie. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," ROM 4:5-6.
This Scripture was used to counteract the teaching of salvation by works. It clearly says, "God imputeth righteousness without works," so salvation by grace, not by works, was preached. It is true, but it resulted in fatalism.
Satans overreaction to these truths was justification by faith alone without works, and a new era of the church began with the emphasis of the Puritans was placed on JAM 2:15-17; "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." When this became the present truth in harmony with the truth of the reformers, you see again the present truth.
The Apostle Peter is pointing out that in every era of the church there are areas where Satan comes in with over-reactions or partial truths to make a lie. As you trace the history of the church, we see this happening over and over ever since the day of Christ. We need to see the importance of our text: "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth," 2PE 1:12. "These things" refers to the proper balance of all doctrine. Why? They are the heart and root of the truth we see in 2PE 1:4-10.
Lets continue, beginning with Verse 5. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ," 2PE 1:5-8.
Peter told them that he knew they knew this, but he would not be negligent; he would remind them so they would not get a doctrine out of balance. He did not want them caught in preaching any doctrine without the exercise of saving faith. It does not matter which doctrine is the central theme, if it does not include the exercise of saving faith as stated above, it is out of context. It is not the whole counsel of God. That is why the apostle is saying we must be put in remembrance of these things even though we know them. The exercises of saving faith must still be brought back to our remembrance in every era of the church. We must not be negligent in these things.
The eighteenth century was a time of worldly prosperity and spiritual deterioration. The Puritans had died, and humanism was preached in the churches until God raised up men who preached the sovereign grace of God, and the need of the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Now, we come into a new era of the church.
At this time the emphasis was shifted to the need for experiential religion which also soon became the object of Satans over-reaction. An experiential religion is a blessed religion until Satan uses it as a partial truth. When the richest experiences become the object of our hope instead of Christ then we have a religion of experience which is as dangerous as a religion without experience.
Satan loves overreaction, he wants us to either have a religion of works or a religion without works, but he does not like what we read in JAM 2:21-23. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." A religion without works becomes as dead as a religion of works.
The dark ages was a time of works, which was followed by the over- reaction of religion of, saved by grace without works. One was as dead as the other was. Dead is dead; it matters not whether the person dies of a gun shot or poison; the one is as dead as the other is, and so it is with experience. Experiences are precious and blessed, but a religion of experience becomes as dangerous as a religion without experience.
Highly respected men emphasized that if one has certain experiences you have a clear title to heaven. However, "these things" Peter speaks about are never mentioned. "These things" which accompany salvation, i.e., the exercise of saving faith by "these things" is ignored because they are preaching a religion of experience. Satan is so crafty, and Peter is reminding us of the need for these present truths.
What Satan needed to counteract the need of "these things" spoken of by Peter was a religion where doubts and fears, sighs and groans, becomes the highest evidence of the work of regeneration. The work of regeneration means to be transformed where your affections become renewed. You learn to love the things you hated, and hate the things you formerly loved. You have a new heart, new desires, and become a new man. You can have lots of groans and sighs and still cherish the gold and silver as before while not having the slightest remorse over the lack of "these things." Peter says, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins," 2PE 1:8-9. That is what is wrong.
I have seen and witnessed instances where these sighs and groans are held forth as undeniable evidence of a persons salvation yet the heart remained filled with bitterness, enmity, hatred, and envy. When there has never been any change of heart revealed by the fruits of the Spirit, i.e., brotherly love, meekness, temperance, patience, and godliness, they are strangers to the work of regeneration because they have not been taught "these things." Satans over-reaction so horribly deceives.
The result is fatalism. Fatalism flourished and many knew nothing of the true work of regeneration, i.e., new affections or desires, death to self, and the law of love. They knew nothing of a true sorrow for having offended God by not giving the cup of cold water to a fellow man. They did not understand the law of love. They did not understand "these things" of which the apostle spoke. We must be reminded of the things, which accompany the exercise of saving faith. We need the law of love instilled in our heart. That is the work of regeneration.
To meet this obvious need of "these things" Satan offered his next overreaction by again taking Scripture out of context, i.e., teaching salvation through the finished work of Christ only. This overreaction is rampant today; it says all you have to do is believe. It does not call for repentance. One only needs to believe. Believe what? The Lord Jesus Christ has finished the work, and there is nothing left for me to do to merit salvation. This is out of context.
We do look to the finished work of Christ as the only grounds and hope of our salvation. However, to tell a person all he must do is believe, is a lie because the gospel began with "Repent." See what the Lord Jesus said also in LUK 13:2-3, "Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." If there is no repentance, there is no salvation. If there is no sorrow over sin or exercise of saving faith in "these things," there is no evidence of the work of regeneration. If there is no exercise of the law of love, it is a partial truth to say the finished work of Christ is all one needs. We need repentance, and without it there is no saving faith.
Our text says, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." This is saying that one cannot really preach a sermon without it. If I preach to you about justification or sanctification or the passion of Christ, or any other topic, I must yet bring you into remembrance of "these things." Everything must center on ones heart being reconciled to God. It is not only that God is reconciled to the world in Jesus Christ, but also our will must be dissolved in the will of God. We must walk in the exercise of the law of love.
The emphasis of the gospel must be placed upon the whole counsel of God, not just an overreaction of the present error. Satan is crafty, and any lie that will deceive us is acceptable. His desire is to keep us from being reconciled to the will of God. He doesnt want anyone to come under the kingship of Christ. He wants us to place our hope on a truth out of context. A partial truth is a lie.
Any attempt to omit the sovereignty of God from the gospel leads to humanism, but Satans religion of the sovereignty of God out of the context of mans responsibility leads to fatalism. Which is worse? Dead is dead; the one is as dead as the other is. Fatalism is as bad as humanism, which teaches that salvation all depends upon the decision of the person. Both doctrines lead to death. We must not attempt to govern our lives by the secret will of God because it leads to fatalism. I believe in, and teach the sovereignty of God, but I dont believe in or teach fatalism as the result of it.
When we attempt to govern our lives by the secret will of God, we have totally perverted the purpose of the secret will of God, and this leads to fatalism. The Word of God tells us exactly this. The children of Israel had been sinning grievously against the Lord. Moses reproved them. DEU 29:29 says, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever . . .." I have heard this much of this verse quoted hundreds of times during my childhood and adulthood, but now lets see what the rest of the verse says. It completely alters the meaning if one would stops before with such a partial truth! The rest of the verse tells us why God has kept us from knowing His secret will, i.e., " . . . that we may do all the words of this law." The revealed will of God is the law of love. Teaching the sovereignty of God without teaching the responsibility of man generates fatalism, but the purposes of His secret will is that I will go by the revealed will of God and do what He tells me to do.
If I knew that God had elected me for eternity, I could fatalistically sit back, living in sin if that were my pleasure, and not worry about anything. I would be secure in knowing I would go to heaven. That fatalism is Satans doctrine. If I am elected, I am; if I am not, Im not. "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God...that we may do all the words of this law." Gods purpose for secrecy is that I may fear Him, that I may observe to do what He tells me that I live by His revealed will. Therefore, I may not live my life by the secret will of God. Satan is so crafty.
Our text held in context emphasizes the need for being partakers of the Divine nature, "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," 2PE 1:4. That is what is revealed for you and I and our children; that is why we have the revealed will of God. If we govern our life by the revealed will of God, then there is no place for fatalism.
The emphasis of our text where the apostle says, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things," is speaking of those things mentioned in the preceding verses. Look again at 2PE 1:5-13. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;" this is the revealed will of God. This is the basis upon which we must govern our lives, not the secret will of God or whether or not I am elect. I must teach "these things." "And to knowledge [add] temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness." Do you see the law of love? Godliness means we must love God above all, and the second table of the law is reflected in loving our neighbour by temperance, patience, meekness, brotherly kindness, and charity. "And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." I must not be primarily concerned whether or not I am elect, but whether "these things" abound in me.
Verse 9 continues, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." In other words, that is the reason the Lord has His secret will and His revealed will, that we may do all the works of this law of love. Verse 11 says, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." This does not mean salvation by works; you must take it out of context to come to that conclusion. This is not teaching salvation by works; it is teaching us the exercise of saving faith.
The exercise of saving faith becomes our assurance of salvation. We do not receive assurance of salvation by seeing our name written in the Book of Life. That knowledge is the secret will of God. We receive the assurance of our salvation with the promise, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle [in this life], to stir you up by putting you in remembrance."
Yet our text places the emphasis on, "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things," Why? The exercise of saving faith and the law of love are important because there is no salvation without them! If we have these things we will never fall, but there is no salvation without them.
Our text teaches that there is a time to speak a word in season. PRO 15:23 says, "A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!" We cannot make our entire preaching center on just "these things." We must understand the doctrine of election, of justification, of sanctification, but they must be spoken in season.
The truth of eternal punishment must be faithfully preached, but would you use it to comfort a broken hearted mother who had just lost a dear child? That would not be speaking a word in season. There is a proper time for each thing. This present gospel means a proper message is to be preached in its proper time, in its proper place, and under its proper conditions. Preaching hell and damnation is not a comfort to a person who has just lost a child.
Neither would you preach eternal security to a man sitting in a bar, intoxicated, and professing to be enjoying his Christian liberty. You would not sit there and tell him he is eternally secure because he has accepted Christ; we cannot tell him he is eternally secure, so sit there and drink. That is not the time to preach eternal security; that is not what he needs. The truth of eternal security is not to be impressed upon a backsliding sinner. That is not a word in season. Our text speaks of our "present truth." Therefore, we must analyze the condition and the needs of the present. Then we can preach the present truth. That would be a word in season for the occasion.
There are tens of thousands, to use their own words, "resting on JOH 3:16 and 5:4," who say they are positively assured that they will spend eternity with Christ, yet they have never heard what Jesus said in MAT 7:21-24. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."
We need a balanced gospel; we need to preach JON 3:16 and JOH 5:4 together with MAT 7:21-24 and 2PE l that tells us about "these things." This is a needed balance in preaching the gospel. It is those who hear and do that are building upon the rock. Multitudes base their whole salvation on JOH 3:16 and JOH 5:4, but they are taking them out of context. They are deceived for hell because they do not understand "these things" spoken of in our text This is why Peter says he will not be negligent even though we know "these things."
The prophecy for this generation is found in PRO 30:12-14; "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up." They have never been washed from their filthiness; they have not understood "these things."
Satan loves overreaction, he will either charge one of Gods dear children with presumption, or encourage one who is presumptuous to claim salvation through the finished work of Christ. For this reason we are admonished in 2PE 1:7-9 to add "to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [the law of love]. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." That is precious when you understand this exercise of saving faith, walking in the law of love. All of the religions based on Satans overreactions are barren in the knowledge of Christ.
Oh, beloved, Satan strives tirelessly to get mankind to make this fatal mistake, regardless what variety of venom he needs to use as poison. The choice of venom is unimportant to Satan as long as it keeps you barren in the knowledge of Christ.
MAT 7:26-27 says, "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." They were barren in these things and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. They fell; their house was built upon the sand.
What were these sayings of His which Jesus was referring to? They are those instances where Jesus says, "Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth..." Lets look at one of them. MAT 7:12 says, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." This is the law and the gospel. That is, whatever you would have people do to you, you do to them. "These things" which Peter speaks of are the things Jesus is referring to.
There are as many formulas for saving faith, assurance, and salvation as there are different denominations, so how shall we know of a certainty if we have saving faith? How do you and I know? We need something more than the word of man. When there are thousands of different formulas, we need something certain. 1JO 5:13 says, "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."
The Apostle John had tremendously great experiences. He lay on the breast of Jesus at Supper. He was at the foot of the cross. Jesus told him to take Mary home to be his mother. John was there when Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration. John was there when Jesus ascended into heaven. John was there on the Isle of Patmos. John wrote the book of Revelations.
John was a very rich man in experiences. At the end of the book of First John, he says, "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," 1JO 5:13. Lets not go by what this church or this denomination or this man says. Lets go by what the Apostle John says through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Can we rely on JOH 3:16 and JOH 5:24 as our only hope for salvation, as our only assurance, when the Holy Spirit has inspired His servant John to write a whole epistle to instruct us in how we may know that we have eternal life? Lets study 1JOHN to know if we have eternal life. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the entire book for our edification.
Let everyone who will be faithful to his own soul search and see if the apostle once says all of the famous things being said from the pulpit as the basis of our assurance. Lets search it out to see if he says that ye may know ye have eternal life by:
- accepting Christ as your Saviour,
- or that we may rest upon Christs finished work,
- or by any certain experience you have received.
Does the apostle make any reference to any of these three statements?
The absence of any such statements must certainly raise the question, "How them shall I know of a certainty?" The Apostle John has used an entire epistle to set forth how we know, and he never even hinted at any one of those statements. Perhaps we should read all of 1 JOHN.
1JO 2:3 says, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." He is teaching the same principle that the Apostle Peter said in 2PE 1:8, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." If His law of love is instilled in our heart to be our meat, night and day, if it becomes your way of thinking, if it becomes you, and if you delight to do His will, you will know that you know Him.
Isnt that plain enough? As with the Syrian leper, he had faith enough to act upon the message of a maiden. Was it saving faith? No. He believed the Prophet of Israel was able to cure his leprosy. Was there any salvation in that? No. He came to the Prophet for healing. Was there salvation in that? No. It wasnt until his rebellion was broken and he was made willing as a free act of his will to not only hear, but do the sayings of the Great Prophet of Israel that he was healed. "And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean," 2KI 5:10.
He had to be convinced by the men with him that he should go forward and act upon what he had heard. He had to do it. He must step into the water and bathe himself not six times or some fraction of the order. He must dip himself in Jordan seven times; he had to obey. He had to come to an absolute, unconditional surrender of what the great prophet had commanded him. Then he was healed.
Now, you understand what the Apostle John means when he says, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." That is what the Syrian leper did; he obeyed and unconditionally gave up his rebellion and did the sayings of the Great Prophet.
PSA 111:10 tells us, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." The fear of the Lord is a holy, reverent respect for His will. Let us also look at PSA 112:1; "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments." The commandment of love, "For if these things be in you...ye shall neither be barren..." and we must be put "...in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth."
The First Epistle of John gives so many tests to judge that we may know of a certainty whether we have salvation or not. We are talking about the assurance of faith. How do we know? Does it depend on this experience? No. Is it because I have accepted Christ as my Saviour? No. Is it because I have placed my confidence on the finished work of Christ as the object of my faith? No. Is it because I arose and came to the Prophet of Israel? No. It is because I delight to obey His law of love. Yes, now, I know I have stepped into that water and have bathed seven times.
Read 1JO 2:4; "He that saith, I know, him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I want you to see what the Apostle John is pointing out here. This Epistle of John gives so many tests of the certainty of our salvation. He is dealing with todays gospel. He is cautioning us against it; he is cautioning us against the idle professor, the person who professes Christianity, but doesnt keep the Lords commandments. He is a liar. That is very simple, pointed, and plain. The truth is not in such a person. Keeping His commandments is not meritorious, but it is our evidence of salvation.
See how the apostle cautions against todays gospel in 1JO 2:18, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." At the end of time the antichrist shall come, and he says the antichrist has already come.
What is the antichrist but Satans gospel of peace, peace through the blood of the cross without repentance? Let me prove to you that is the antichrist. Go with me to 2TH 2:8-12 which says, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness [the lack of the law of love] in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [They do not want the truth of repentance. They do not want to hear it.] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." The strong delusion is that they believe they are saved because they have put their confidence on the blood of Christ whereby they have peace. That is the spirit of the antichrist; it is the gospel of Satan. They find pleasure in transgressing the law of love, yet they have confidence and think they have eternal security without repentance.
Lets follow into the next verse to see how the righteous are distinguished. God has "...chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," 2TH 2:13. Therein He has chosen you unto salvation; it is through the sanctifying process of the Holy Spirit where these things are in you. There is the distinguishing mark.
2TH 2:13 says, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." That is what the Apostle Peter is referring to in "these things."
Lets take note of the distinction between those who have assurance of faith and those who do not. The Apostle John sets forth the clear Scriptural evidences of saving faith and love which constitutes the distinction between the sheep and the goats.
In Verse 4 it is the empty professor of faith who says "I know Christ as my personal Saviour, Im resting on the finished work of Christ," but he doesnt keep His commandments. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him," 1JO 2:4. This man is still a self-pleaser whose rebellion has never been broken.
1JO 2:5 stands in direct contrast with Verse 4. In Verse 5 we see that the genuine believer does not say he knows Christ, but his walk of life proves it. "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him," 1JO 2:5. There is quite a difference between those two statements. The person who is a believer doesnt make much fuss about it. He doesnt run around telling everyone he is a Christian. He doesnt have to because you can see it. How do we know we are in Him? If you delight to do the will of God is the best evidence that you have the Spirit of Christ. If others cannot see by your attitudes and action that you are a Christian, there is certainly no use telling them.
The apostle does not present faith in Christ as our evidence. He does not say that because you have placed your faith in Christ, that is your evidence of being saved. He describes the man who is conformed to Christs image. Christ is that persons everything; Christ is his only authority, Gods Word is everything to him, the Word is his only authority, it is food, constant meditation, and his chief affection. He keeps it in memory, in heart, and in action. Christs commandments of love occupy his thoughts and prayers as much or more than His promises. A man who is one of Gods spends more time praying about the law of love and to be spared from sinning against his neighbour and God than praying about the promises God gave about going to heaven. That isnt the primary concern; the primary concern is doing the will of God because of the knowledge that God withdraws Himself if one sins against Him. The primary concern is to have God abide with him and not withdraw Himself. That is a foretaste of heaven on earth. Since the Christian is more concerned about transgressing His law of love than knowing the promises are his, they occupy a greater part of his prayers.
The law of love working in him subdues his carnal desires, feeds his graces, drawing them into real exercise of faith by carefully planned and deliberate acts of love. One does not accidentally happen to do something in the way of loving your neighbour. You sit down prayerfully asking, "Lord, what can I do to win that soul." We plan carefully how we can do things that are good.
It is in this way that "the love of God is perfected," and the family likeness is revealed. The true character of the Father is recognized in the children. The other day I walked up to a young girl and asked if a certain man is her father. She said, "Yes." The girls features, character revealed her father, even though I had never seen her before. The likeness of the Father is revealed in His children. The awful contrast of this is seen in JOH 8:44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. [See how that what you do identifies who your father is!] He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
The things which we do reflect either the character of God or the character of the devil. Do you understand that what we do becomes such a vital element to our assurance of faith. 1JO 2:4 says, "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...," does that mean perfectly? No! It is what comes from the heart. The work of regeneration is a complete reverse of affections, bringing a hatred for sin and the greatest delight in observing Gods law of love. We do not keep His will perfectly.
There is more distinction between a true, born again Christian and a dead professor than there is between a living man and a corpse. Should it be hard for you and I to distinguish whether or not we are a living being, or a corpse? There is a greater distinction between a living soul and a dead professor than between a live man and a corps. JAM 2:26 says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
If we are willing to measure ourselves honestly by the Word of God there is no need to remain in question of whether we are born again as we can see in Abrahams trial of obedience. GEN 22:12 says, "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."
Look at the trial of obedience that was placed on Abraham to know whether or not he feared God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Our text says, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth," 2PE 1:12. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.
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