Wednesday, February 01, 2006

False Assurance

One of the blogs I regularly read is from the Christian musician Steve Camp. I've never heard his music, but he is thoroughly Reformed in his theology, and fills his posts with quotes from the Puritans, Spurgeon, and more recent Calvinist worthies. He also looks like a real nice fellow. In a recent post he includes A.W. Pink's list of seven marks of a true Christian. It is a helpful and penetrating description which should leave you feeling unsettled, and desirous of deep, confessional prayer. Here is Pink's list. By his photo you can tell he was a serious guy.

First by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced.

Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty and lost condition.

Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ.

Fifth, by the resistance the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces, and using all diligence to this end. Scripture encourages healthy self-scrutiny.

The danger of false assurance, which is the belief that you are a true Christian when in fact you are not, is so deadly and so prevalent that it ought to be more regularly addressed in the church. It is not meant to frighten God's people, or promote an unhealthy self-absorption, but serves as a self-diagnosis of one's spiritual condition. As Peter wrote, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble" (2 Peter 1:10).


Blogger RogueMonk said...

Memories. I used to listen to Steve Camp 15 years ago.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Rileysowner said...

I haven't listened to Steve Camp in a long time. I saw him once in concert at least 15 years back and enjoyed it a great deal. He has been blessed with talent.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Rileysowner said...

Oh, that list is wonderful.

11:04 AM  

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