One of the greatest works of the Holy Spirit in us is His gift of the assurance of our salvation. Like David, who cried out to the Lord from the depth of his own depravity, you and I cry out to God for the joy of His salvation (Psalm 51:12). Our souls long to KNOW that we truly belong to Christ. Somehow – and I can’t fully explain something as marvelous and wondrous as this – God’s Spirit accomplishes this “blessed assurance” in the hearts of those of us who are God’s children.
That is not to say that we will never again face a subtle, or even a momentarily paralyzing, doubt. But it is to say that we can live with an abiding assurance that we are in Christ. Safely in Christ. Eternally in Christ. Paul explained it to the church at Rome like this (Romans 8:16): The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
What happens when the Holy Spirit does this in us? We can’t know all of the particulars, of course, but we can observe some of the amazing results. For starters, there is a personal awareness of God’s presence and power, such as we have not known before. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote of being “carried not only from doubt to belief but to certainty, to awareness of the presence and the glory of God.”
It’s kind of like being married. If you were ever the bride or the groom, that was not an experience that escaped your attention. You were there. It was real. It was life-changing. It was powerful. Nothing would ever be exactly the same. What Dr. Lloyd-Jones was attempting to describe, in my estimation, was an awareness of Christ even more vivid and striking than every one of our lesser joys combined.
How wonderful it would be if First Baptist Paducah were known as a people who displayed such joy! And, as a result, such power! We should pray for nothing less, friends. Such gospel power will cause people around here to take notice, and then we can point them to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And to His empty tomb! There is rampant hopelessness all around us, so we want to exhibit a sincere and persevering hope in Christ.
Last night Randy Kent shared with us about life in France. In a post-Christian culture, where overt hostility to Christianity abounds, the only “success” of the church is in the demonstration of Christlike love. Why is that love so attractive in an era of agnosticism and atheism? Because life without God is life without hope.
Back on this side of the pond, our own culture is hardening quickly. We are following in Europe’s footsteps. But let’s lean into all of that materialism, worldliness, callousness, coldness, and spiritual hardness with the unmerited love of God (Romans 5:5) “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” As our own Paul and Tina reported, when they returned from ministry in the Pacific Northwest, the love of Christ is our only hope in a barren land.
I suppose that I’m asking you to pray with me for revival. A revival of hope, assurance, and power. The hope, assurance, and power of Christ. First in us. Then in others. Let’s pray for Spirit-generated revival among the peoples of every nation on Earth.
All for the glory of our great God. (Remember: The Spirit can do in an instant what we can’t do in a lifetime.)
And what is the result of such Spirit-empowering assurance? You and I can live without fear. Doesn’t that sound absolutely fantastic? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!