“Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you” (2 Peter 1:10).
A sad fact of contemporary Christianity is that many in the church greatly misunderstand what the Bible teaches about the assurance of one’s salvation. As a result many genuine believers struggle with doubts about the reality of their salvation, while many professing believers are confident they are saved when in truth they are headed for Hell.
Such a misunderstanding is unnecessary since Scripture makes it abundantly clear that believers should not only enjoy assurance of their salvation but cultivate it as well. That’s why the apostle Peter said, “Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you.”
Peter’s command establishes the need for self-examination. Only by testing one’s assurance by God’s Word can anyone know for sure if he is saved or not. Yet most preaching today minimizes or ignores assurance altogether, encouraging people to view any doubts about their salvation as attacks by the enemy. The unfortunate result is a false assurance that the Lord categorized as follows: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me’” (Matt. 7:21-23). What a terrifying and haunting pronouncement!
Because a clear understanding of one’s salvation is so vital, Scripture encourages true believers with the promise of full assurance, while making false professors uncomfortable by seeking to destroy their false sense of security. A true believer’s sense of assurance should not ebb and flow with the emotions; it is meant to be an anchor even in the midst of life’s storms. But a false professor has no right to assurance. For the next month, we’ll look at what God’s Word teaches about assurance and how you can have it.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.