Why is Assurance Important? Is it Selfish?
Some thoughts from Miles J. Stanford:
The blessed assurance of salvation, and of justification in particular, is based squarely upon our position in the Lord Jesus as our righteousness. Being non-experiential, justification can never be founded upon our condition. Assurance of justification results when we realize what our Father has done and said; it is never based on feelings. Someone has said, “Because God has spoken, I am sure; because I am sure, I feel at rest.” “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2, NASB).
It is here that the first major mistake in our Christian life is often made. In taking the position of justification by faith in the Lord Jesus, this new standing of life began to make a marked difference in our state. Because of this, we shifted the basis of our assurance from eternal position to temporal condition. We looked, and felt, and sounded saved, hence we were assured of our salvation.But then, one morning came the dawn! We didn’t look very saved, we didn’t feel at all saved, and so we didn’t sound saved either. All day long everything and everybody went wrong, and by nightfall we found ourselves at the end of our assurance. Thoroughly shaken, we determined to rectify matters the next day. On that day we strove to look saved, to feel saved, and to sound saved. But, because we were centered in our condition, all was wretched failure. We even began to question our salvation. “…If the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us?” (Judges 6:13).
In the Lord’s time, the Comforter refocused our faith upon our position by means of the Word, and our assurance of salvation was again anchored upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. With this assurance reestablished, our condition began to improve as a result of the position in which we stood by faith. We had learned our first important lesson: the necessity of knowing and abiding in our position. Apart from this abiding, there is nothing but frustration and failure. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever” (Isa. 32:17).
-by Miles J. Stanford