Blessed assurance does not mean perfect assurance: Part III

Here’s the final post on what it should look like for us to live with a blessed assurance of salvation. Only someone else already did the hard work for me. Below is an excerpt from a Kevin DeYoung sermon. I don’t like everything this joker writes (though I did just order one of his books entitled Just Do Something), nor am I fond of the length of most of his posts. However he often helps balance me out, and I think this sermon finishes what I had already wanted to say. Again a lot longer, but in his defense, it is a sermon manuscript!
Here’s his take on Hebrews 2:1-4 and the book of Hebrews in general.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
This is one of five warning passages in Hebrews. These five passages are not teaching that genuine Christians can lose their salvation. What they are teaching is that some people with an external connection to Christianity will not in the end by saved. And further, these passages suggest that those who are saved at the end, will be saved by means of these warning. These passages are danger signs that keep the elect persevering to the end.

“We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard”–that’s the warning. Sit up straight. Put your feet on the floor. Shut your yap. And listen up. “Pay attention church people! You are in danger of drifting away.” Hebrews 6:19 says the promise of God is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” So we’ve got warnings to the drifters and promises to those who are anchored.
You can read the rest here.

Blessed assurance does not mean perfect assurance: Part II

My point in the last post was to discuss whether or not perfect assurance was possible. Now I want to argue that a blessed-although imperfect-assurance is actually better and honors Jesus even more.
Jesus reminds us in John 6:40 that “Everyone who looks on the Son, and believes in Him should have eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
No one who truly fears leaving the faith needs to fear leaving the faith. Jesus gives us all kinds of promises to hold on to along our spiritual journey. At a time when my assurance was threatened, perhaps due to spiritual attack, depression, faulty thinking, over-analyzation, trusting my heart, or a little of all of the above-I ran to and rested upon this verse time and time again until it eventually stuck. I love it. 
For the over-analytical folk like myself, it need not be over-analyzed. If you truly look to the Son, you’ll be raised up. Luke 7:36-50 gives us a perfect picture of what looking to the Son actually “looks” like: weeping, repenting, believing, rejoicing. 
But we have to continue to look to the Son everyday. Not to be saved from the punishment of of our sins (past tense-that’s ALREADY happened) but from the power of sin in our lives (present tense) and one day the presence of sin (future tense).
Remember Jesus says, “Follow me.” That’s quite different than trusting in a prayer you prayed once. Keep looking at Jesus. Keep trusting in Jesus. You’ll find that if you are truly afraid of walking away, and you come to Jesus and say, “Help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:23-24),” He’s going to answer it. In the end you’ll see that the work He started in you will be completed (Phil 1:6). And that’s actually the evidence that He did in fact start the work in the first place.
You need Jesus everyday. You need to trust in Him everyday. If you have a blessed assurance, instead of a perfect assurance, you still recognize that need. If you thought there were no way you could ever turn away, you’d become arrogant. You’d become self-dependent. You would be trusting in your own perseverance instead of Him who is at work in you, struggling for you (Col 1:29).
You would never sing anything like Rich Mullins once sang, “Hold me Jesus, because I’m shaking like a leaf.”

Jesus is more glorified by offering you the assurance that you need (which is real and actually even greater than the assurance we have in our car brakes-we don’t fear coming to a red light), so be sure to thank him for it. Keep looking to the Son even when you can’t “see” Him, because He sure can see you. Even when we are faithless, his eyes never leave His children.

Blessed assurance does not mean perfect assurance

I read a sad but intriguing interview the other day from Christianity Today. David Bazan, former front man for the band Pedro the Lion, discusses his loss of faith with the Drew Dyck, author of Why Young Adults are leaving the faith, and how to bring them back.
It is hard to hear stories like this, particularly because one of my former youth posted this article on his facebook. I fear an autobiographical motivation. While difficult to read, I think we have to be aware that people really do walk away from the faith. Sometimes they come back, and sometimes they don’t.
The question then remains, what about believers now? Will we still be believers then? How do you know that you will not walk away from the faith? Can you be 100% assured? I mean, surely someone told this guy at some point in his walk, that he could have 100% assurance of the blessings of heaven (this dude could still come back to believe-so I’m merely using his current state of disbelief for didactic purposes). 
I think this is a legitimate question to ask, and one that needs to be asked, provided it is not asked in irrational frantic fear (I’ve been there).
My seminary professor-actually by far my least favorite seminary professor-had a great take on assurance. While perfect assurance seems impossible because we just don’t know the future, we can still have real assurance. He gave the example of the possibility of his wife running off with one of his seminary students. Was it possible that something as crazy as that-on her end as well as ours-could happen? In theory, yes. But he was sure enough that it wouldn’t, and had no fear of such an incident.

So while we can’t have perfect assurance, we can still have blessed assurance. In the next post, I’ll argue why I think its better we have the latter.