#250, ASSURANCE OF FAITH-A GOOD WORK IN YOU, #22
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: PHI 1:6.
What constitutes the attainment and becoming a participant of saving faith is to come into that confidence that the Lord Jesus has begun that good work. The promise is He will perform it till the day of Jesus Christ. When we are confident that the Spirit has begun that good work, we may be confident that He who hath begun it will perform it. There is no turning, no variance, nor any shadow of turning in the ways of the Lord. What the Lord begins, He will carry on to perfection.
The assurance that God has begun "a good work [of grace] in you," is the greatest satisfaction because our text goes on to say, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
The Holy Spirit will perform what He has begun until the day Jesus has taken full sway in your heart, until the Lord Jesus has perfected that which He has promised, and has taken His place on the throne of your heart as a place of His eternal habitation.
In the context of our text the Apostle Paul identified this "...good work in you." We need to establish the assurance of our faith and know we have attained it. That is to establish unmistakably that the good work has begun. How do we identify this so we may be perfectly confident of this very thing, that He will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. The first thing we must establish is that the work of regeneration has begun. How do we identify this?
Take notice of the context in which our text is found. Look at PHI 1:8-11. "For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
The first statement we will consider is "that your love may abound." Take notice of where the evidence lays that He has begun. What is the object of your love? Do you still love sin or have you learned the fear of the Lord? Have you come to the point where you hate sin? Do you love God as your first love? Do you have a longing desire to do the will of God? The object of our love will help us identify whether or not that good work, that work of regeneration, has been wrought in you because the work of regeneration is a changing of affections. Those things which were hated are now loved, and those things which were loved are now hated. A willingness to suffer shame in the name of Christ is now loved, and there is a willingness to forfeit the pleasures of sin because sin is now hated. Nothing is attractive about sin.
As we continue reading in that verse, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment." We find more knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2PE 1:8 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." What things are they? They are the things of love, the things that pertain to the second table of the law, which is to reach out to our brethren.
The prince of this world has been judged, and he can no longer sit upon the throne of our hearts. By this information we know how we may approve those things which are excellent. When we have abounded in judgment, we can discern between good and evil. We can discern what pleases the Lord from that which is displeasing because we can see that which is edifying to our neighbour and is God honouring. That is the way we learn to see that which is excellent. We will be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. We will not desire anything that will injure others. Being without offense against the will of God becomes our desire.
Verse 11 continues, "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." What are the fruits of righteousness? It is the second table of the law: loving our neighbour. It is that which edifies; the fruits are by the Lord Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. The imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ, having Him as our example, is a self-sacrificial love. As we examine our own hearts, we have the Word of God as our Judge; the Word clearly shows us the contrast, like day and night, between the fruits of the Spirit and those of the flesh.
It is this "good work in you" which flows from the grace of God which distinguishes us from those spoken of in REV 3:1, "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." The judgment is based on the fruit of the tree. Our works are known. Some have a great profession, telling the world what a great Christian they are, but their works are not in harmony with their words. There is a conflicting voice.
In examining our hearts, we have the Word of God to be our judge, and the Word of God clearly shows us the distinction between those who are spiritually dead or alive. When we see the contrast, we see a difference as great as day and night. Now what does, "And art dead," mean? JAM 2:26 says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." They make a big profession of faith, but their works do not correspond. That is what James refers to as dead.
This "good work" of grace can be positively identified by that covenant promise that God made with His church spoken of in HEB 8:10. Look for the positive identification. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts [that is the law of love]: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
Has God begun a good work in our souls? To answer this we must also understand the fear of the Lord. Do we understand what it is to have a holy reverence for the will of God? Do we love God? Do we hate sin? We don't need to relate some great experience to have the assurance of faith. Many people can tell of great and precious experiences. I am not against that; I have had a few myself, but they are not the basis upon which we build the foundation of our faith. Our faith must be based upon the good work of grace begun in us.
Notice that many who speak of great experiences have works which are not in harmony. Balaam had tremendous experiences, but he still loved the wages of unrighteousness. He was damned with his experiences. Therefore, the experiences we have are not the foundation upon which we base our faith. Our faith must be founded upon whether or not the good work has begun in our lives by the Holy Spirit. If it has, we may be confident that the Lord will carry it on until the day of Jesus Christ.
As the Holy Spirit continues to "...perform [this good work] until the day of Jesus Christ," we see the fruits of the Spirit abound. We see this in ACT 15:9, "And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." The Apostle Paul was speaking about the Gentiles by saying there was no difference between them and the Jews. How did Paul know their hearts had been purified by faith? It showed in the fruits of their actions. It was not because of any special experience they could tell about; it was their fruit proving the purification of their hearts by faith.
This purifying of the hearts by faith is done by writing the law of love upon the fleshly tables of the heart. See how the Holy Spirit begins this good work. It is by the law, the law of love, being written upon the heart by the finger of God. See this in 2CO 3:2-4, "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men [talk about being the light of the world or the salt of the earth--our hearts becomes a writing people can read. The world spends very little time reading doctrines of grace in Romans or reading the gospels as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but a well-known preacher found in a car with a prostitute makes headlines all over the world.]: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward."
The world clearly and avidly reads epistles in the hearts of people. Just watch confirmation hearings of judges. If one little mistake in their lives can be found, it will be pounced upon. The world can read that loud and clear. The apostle said, "ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ..." Has the Lord begun a good work in our hearts? Can the world see Christ in you, the hope of glory? Are we perfect? No. We all need to look at our own hearts and see who has a stone to throw.
There are many examples of this principle all around us. We have all learned that sexual harassment is not acceptable; we can profit from the mistakes of others. Our walk of life is being read by all men. Are we being an epistle for Jesus Christ? Is our walk of life revealing the Spirit of Christ? Is Christ revealed in us, the hope of glory. Therein lays our hope of glory, that Christ is revealed in us, that others can read the Spirit of Christ in us. That is the good work spoken of in our text.
Verse 4 concludes with, "And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward." That is where our confidence begins; when we can see that the Lord has given us that Spirit of Christ, then we know the good work of grace has begun.
Our Saviour teaches us how important it is that the law of love is known and read of all men from the tables of our hearts. In JOH 17:21-23 we find the reason for this importance and the need that oneness of Spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ? It is so the world may believe the Father has sent the Son. We have such a responsibility to not bring blasphemy on the name of Christ. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Consider carefully the responsibility we have to show the oneness we have with the Lord, that the world may believe the Father sent the Son because they see the oneness of the brethren and the oneness they have with Christ. When that is not there, it brings blasphemy.
See why there is such an assurance when we can see the good works begun in our soul. "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." How does the Father reveal His love for His children? If they obey Him, He shows His love. How will the world test whether or not we love God? It is by answering the question, "Are we doing His will?"
Jehu told the prophets of Baal to search out the Lord's people in the temple of Baal. He knew he could trust them to search them out. Why? They can tell; they can read the epistle of Christ upon the table of the heart. They know whether or not we are playing games a lot better than fellow Christians. Christ gives the reason why we must be one--one in thinking, one in purpose, and one in the Spirit of Christ--that the world may know the Father sent the Son.
The "good work" spoken of in our text of which we can be "confident" the Holy Spirit will perform "until the day of Jesus Christ," is that law of love instilled in our hearts through tribulations. If the Lord God loves you, if you are walking in sin, and you are not being an epistle, the Lord will come to you as a father to a child to discipline you. He will use tribulation and chastisement. He will not let you destroy yourself; He will bring you to the point where you will walk humbly before Him. There is another evidence that the Lord has begun a good work. HEB 12:1 says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
We might think back to a beginning the Lord gave us in our youth. Have we walked away from it? The Lord will not allow us to destroy ourselves; He will bring us back. How? ROM 5:3-5 says, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also [Isn't it most often that the Lord uses these tribulations to purge the bitterness out of our hearts?]: knowing that tribulation worketh patience [cheerful endurance]; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Did I say I didn't believe in experience? No. However, we need to realize that experience cannot be elevated to the point where we look to it rather than to Christ and His Word. Patience works experience, experience brings hope. What experience are we talking about? It is the experience of having the bitterness worked out of our souls. It is an experience that brings us into submission to the will of God. That is an evidence of the good work begun. After we have experienced the tribulations, we understand what it is to have the rebellion of our hearts broken; we are not strangers to these experiences. We dare to say we believe the good work has begun.
The verse concludes with, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Do you see now the place where good seed can fall and grow strong? The rebellion is broken and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. This means we are no longer at enmity with God or our neighbour because the Lord has given us, through tribulation, to see the sinfulness of our sins and drawn us into His love.
As we examine our hearts and find the evidences of this "good work" of God's grace shed abroad in our hearts "...by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," we become "confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." This becomes our confidence; we may look back, remembering how the Lord broke our rebellion and brought us His love, which is now, shed abroad in our hearts. The Holy Ghost, the love of God, love for our neighbour now becomes the basis of our hope that our rebellion has been broken. It is not the experience per se, but the fruit of the experience that is our evidence. If we had the experience, but returned to a rebellious state, we would have absolutely no confidence. The experience is not the end in itself. The experience is the vehicle that brings us to the good work where the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.
The greatest gift God has given man is His Son, who is blessedly described in REV 19:13, "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." We must examine our hearts to determine if we have a love for His Word. Are we able to gainsay or barter the Word of God for human reasoning? Has the Word of God come to sit upon the throne of our hearts as our only and highest authority? The Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ are synonymous terms. "His name is called the Word of God." Has the Word of God become our only authority?
Oh, beloved, what a blessing it is to have "The Word of God," the greatest gift that the Father has given to the world. With this gift we may examine our own hearts. Why is this such a great and wonderful gift? The Lord has given us the credentials, which will be used to judge us. We will be judged by Christ, the Word. We now have the gift to examine our hearts using this same Word of God as the judge in the court of our conscience, which shall judge us in the last day. Do you want to know how you will stand and be judged on the Judgment Day? Then put yourself on trial today. You may take the Word of God and enter the court of your own conscience and know exactly how you will be judged on the last day. Does it testify against you or is it the hope of your confidence? Do the things recorded in the Word of God become the basis of your hope, or do they condemn you? What a blessing that the God of heaven has given us the very articles of His law of love upon which we will be tried on the Day of Judgment. What a blessing that we may know upon which terms we shall be either condemned or acquitted. We have the Word of God. JOH 12:48 says, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
1JO 3:18-23 says, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments [Are His commandments our chief joy or do we love sin? We cannot judge other people, only ourselves.], and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. [That which is pleasing is revealed in His Word.] And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
We are to believe on His name and love one another. Do you see the two tables of the law in that one command? Believing on the Lord Jesus points us to the first table of the law, loving Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. The second table of the law is to love one another. It is amazing when we begin to understand that upon these commandments hang all the law and gospel. If you can find one comfort in the gospel that comes contrary to the law of love, you are deceiving yourself. The gospel hangs upon the law of love.
We can be confident that as the Holy Spirit continues to perform that "good work [of love in our hearts]...until the day of Jesus Christ," we will realize more and more how transparent we are before Him with whom we have to do. Let's look at HEB 4:12-13, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
A pastor is not a ruler; he is only authorized to unfold the Word. The only way a pastor can govern a church is by the authority of the Word. He must be able to properly unfold and divide the Word. The Word of God does the judging. Read again the verses in the previous paragraph. Judging the thoughts and intents of the heart must be based upon the Word. We come today to make our hearts bow to the Word of God. When we open the Word to search out any problem, decision, thought, or intent of the heart, we will find it described in the Word. The evil and godly intents are in such contrast, and we may discern each by finding that same illustration in the Word of God.
The examination of our hearts is not to establish whether or not we have come to perfection. That is not what we weigh in the Word of God. Rather we are discerning who sits upon the throne of our heart. Is it our hearts desire to serve the living God? We have spoken before about Jesus Christ and how He is exalted in PHI 2:9. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Why will Jesus be so exalted? It is His reward for His humble obedience.
Now see where that throne is located. Where is it that the Lord Jesus Christ is so exalted to reign with such majesty? ISA 57:15 tells us, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." The Lord Jesus Christ has been so highly exalted to sit upon the throne of a humble and contrite heart. It is His reward for suffering the shame of the cross. Jesus humbled Himself, became obedient. Stop for a moment and ponder this awesome fact. Are you humble? Have you followed His example? Have you completely surrendered your will to the will of God?
Salvation is to be saved from the reigning power of sin. The positive identification of whether or not the good work has begun in our hearts is if Satan has been judged and dethroned. PRO 8:13-14 says, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength." The Lord Jesus Christ is wisdom; to hate evil is the beginning of wisdom and having the Spirit of Christ.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so where did the Wisdom of Solomon begin? If Solomon was the wisest man, as Scripture says, where did it begin? 1KI 3:7-10 says, "And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."
Do you see where Solomon's wisdom began? It began with wanting and asking for wisdom while knowing he had no strength within himself. He was King of Israel, yet he humbled himself, seeing his need of wisdom and knowledge. The result we see is that he pleased the Lord. He asked the Lord to sit upon the throne of his heart; he asked for wisdom to discern between good and evil. This is where we must begin.
Many souls are deceived by those who make great professions of faith while they continue in sin. 1PE 5:2-3 says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." We are not to act as if we are an authority; we exercise oversight by going forward to lead the flock, by being an example they can follow. If someone stands up to be a shepherd of a flock, they bring great deception in the church of Christ if they continue to walk in sin.
The bad example of professors becomes a stumblingblock to so many who are weak in the faith. 2CO 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" It is not wrong to examine ourselves; some people believe one should never question whether or not they are saved. That is false; we must constantly examine ourselves to be sure that the good work is there, and we must keep the heart sins out. Is the Lord Jesus Christ in you? That is the question we must answer through our self-examination lest we be reprobates. What is a reprobate? It is a person void of sound judgment.
Many unwittingly are saying by their actions that their priorities are found in other areas as we read in LUK 14:18-20. "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." We allow many things of this life, including our families, to come between us and the Lord. We must examine our hearts and lives to determine if we are really following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Has the good work been begun in you? Where are your priorities? Are you being excused from the Kings table because of other interests?
"I know my Redeemer liveth," was said in JOB 19:25 by the man of whom God had said, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" JOB 1:8. Do you see how God identified a perfect man? Fearing God means to hate evil and every evil way, to hate pride and sin. We have to examine our hearts to see whether or not that good work of grace has begun in our soul. Has the reigning power of sin been broken in our hearts?
Tens of thousands have been taught that it is wrong for a Christian to look within to examine his assurance; it is classified as unbelief. They are told not to question for they have accepted Jesus, and are eternally secure. Yet how can it be wrong to examine our heart to see if the "good work" spoken of in our text has been begun by the Holy Spirit? HEB 8:10 says, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; [Are we in the covenant? How do we get into the covenant?] I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Are we claiming covenant privileges and benefits yet know nothing of this covenant relationship with our God? If we are in the covenant of grace, then we have the law of love instilled in our hearts. It becomes our walk of life that can be read by all men. They will see that we are peace loving people; people who love their neighbors and practice self-denial. They will see Christ formed in us. Are we claiming to be partakers of the covenant of grace yet strangers to this? If so, we are contradicting the Word of God.
Should we not examine our lamps to see if there is any oil of the regenerating, sanctifying grace in them? Read MAT 25:4-8. "But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out." If we are not to examine ourselves to see whether or not the good work is formed in us, then why was the Lord Jesus teaching this parable? He is cautioning us to examine our hearts to see if there is oil in our lamps. Will our light go out? It is absolutely Scriptural that we constantly examine ourselves to judge where and what we are.
Are we not admonished to examine our hearts to see if we have the Spirit of Christ? Certainly. 1JO 3:24-4:1 says, "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. [What is that Spirit?] Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God [Does this say we are not to examine our own faith? No!]: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." We must examine the spirits to be sure it is the Spirit of Christ and not a false spirit. Do we think we are saved and have not the Spirit of Christ? Are we basing our belief of salvation on an experience while still living in bitterness and hatred? We must examine our hearts, try those spirits, because there are false prophets actively seeking to lead us.
How do we know a false prophet? We know them by their fruit. What is the fruit of their works? Do we see repentance, love, a Spirit of Christ? If we don't, we must raise the question of a false prophet. Jesus tells us we will know them by their fruits. It is by the fruit of their work. Many present themselves as ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, but the fruit of their work is bitterness, contention, and things that come against the Word of God. Their actions are in conflict with the Word of God.
We are told to try the spirits. Who is as competent to confirm the work of the Spirit in the heart as the Holy Spirit Himself? ROM 8:15-16 says, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Do you see the origin of the assurance of faith? The Holy Spirit bares witness with our spirit. Then we know we are the children of God.
The law of love is the most powerful witness of the Spirit in our heart. ROM 2:13-16 says, "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [Even by nature the Gentiles show love for each other, a law written in their hearts.] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." Take notice of the message contained in the above verses. We are to be not only hearers of the law but doers.
It is only when the Holy Spirit has begun "a good work in you," that you may know He will "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Then you can say with Paul in ACT 24:16, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men." That behavior becomes the exercise of our hearts. Our consciences will be void of offence if our hearts are truly tender before the Lord. If we say or do something that may offend someone, our consciences will immediately smite us. The Lord will then open a way to retract it and be forgiven before men and the Lord.
ROM 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Those are very solemn words. That is how we discern whether or not the good work of grace has been begun in our souls. Do we understand that Spirit of Christ? It doesn't mean that we walk in perfection; it means it is our hearts desire that the new man created within us longs, desires, and loves to do the will of God.
We read in 2CO 1:12, "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward." Our conversation in this world must be for the glory of God. That means our actions must show what is in our hearts. Our walk of life speaks much louder than our words.
Our text, PHI 1:6, says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." There is an assurance of faith. Some people believe they may never really dare claim they have salvation, but we may have confidence and assurance that a good work has been begun. The new desire and longing to do the will of God is the Spirit of Christ in you that He will carry to perfection until the day we are eternally one in Christ.
The Spirit of Christ is our most positive witness that we are the children of God. The Spirit of Christ formed in us is our assurance. 1JO 4:13 says, "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." Is there anything more positive than those words? Do we have His self-denying Spirit and a desire to do the will of God? Are we able to humble ourselves unto death of self, of sin, of worldliness? Are we able to humble ourselves unto the death of the cross, crucifying the old man of sin and self, that we might be raised again to a newness of life? That is our evidence; it is the Spirit of Christ formed in us. Amen.
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