There are a great many in this world who possess a faith which is so similar to a genuine saving faith that they themselves are deceived. Those around them may also consider this faith genuine even those who may have the gift of discernment. There was a man named Simon Magus.
"Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed." (Acts 8:13 NLT).
His faith expressed itself in such a way that is was mistaken by Philip who considered him to be a Christian. But subsequently the Apostle Peter said:
"You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God… for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin." (Acts 8:21, 23 NLT).
Arthur W. Pink, Practical Christianity (paraphrase mine)
We forget that we are the proud owners of a reprobate mind (Romans 1). We are fully capable of creating a false salvation in the power of the flesh. But the truth remains that our righteousness is but filthy rags. We have lost our ability to do anything that pleases the Lord except that which is done by faith. So faith is the organ that the Lord must grow in our bosom until the innermost man is strong and the outer man is weak.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6 NLT)
Another reason for lack of assurance is that we tend to trust our feelings rather than the Word of God. We somehow expect some kind of continuous emotional bliss. When this is missing the doubts begin to come. We have to be committed to Christ and His finished work at Calvary. The Apostle Paul told the Philippian church:
"And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6 The Good News Bible
For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced."
(Romans 10:10-11 NLT)
Since salvation is in Christ, the next logical progression of though ought to be whether or not He is sufficient to keep us. One might consider this a rhetorical question. However, this is a question that must be answered in your own mind lest you wander through life as a sheep without a shepherd. Prayerful consideration of the Word of God ought be your daily bread. As you eat you will find the assurance of things unseen.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)
No matter how you slice it, we have hope of the future when we shall be with Christ. Perhaps the New Living Translation, First Edition (NLT96) captures the language for modern thought. Deliverance received is hope now for our future estate. We see now (as through a dark glass) but a little light. However, the light of future glory is nevertheless seen. It is the lamp of hope burning in our hearts, a gift of God's presence.
It is the longing of my heart to be with Christ. This is an attitude shared among all those who have been redeemed by His blood. Is it not considered part of love to be with Him who first loved us? Though we now experience the foretaste of what is to come by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we long for the fruition of the promise and are assured our hope will not lead to disappointment.
What a sad state of affairs. The condition of everything is bondage and corruption. Could we not understand that the fall from the garden changed all. The future redemption will again be for all. Therefore, all groans. For us who belong to Christ we have our earnest expectation of His return and the new heave and new earth that will not be afflicted nor in need of groaning but rather praise to the glory of the Son.
From bondage to liberty. Herein lies the true concept of freedom. We often consider our freedom as an ability to do. But the Scriptural freedom is liberty, the deliverance from the oppression and bondage of corruption. The world system is a system held in corruption and it can and does entrap those who would hear the call her sirens. But the promise kept, the prayer answered, is that Christ in us is greater than the world and greater still than our fallen desires. This is not intestinal fortitude, nor anything else that can be conjured up from the flesh or the latent power of the soul. Rather it is the true and eternal God flowing like a river of living water through the valley of dry bones that moment by moment brings us back to life.
We must be mindful of the literal genesis of our current estate. When our parents fell from their paradisiacal estate, the whole creation became subject to the fall as well. We see in the Scriptural account a host of first words, "thorns, thistles, sweat, ect., that are indicative of the pain cause by sin and the judgment justly delivered. But we have hope that this will not remain forever but for a season. So let us be busy making sure that none should perish. Let us be swift of foot delivering the words of life by our words, by our actions and by the witness of our whole life. Lives that have been delivered from the marketplace of sin into the glorious resurrection light. Let us be the purveyors of this hope to a lost and dying world.
What is the gospel? I don't think most people know.
Some people may think most Americans have heard the gospel, but I beg to
differ. I don’t think they have. I have heard a lot of preachers talk about the
gospel and not give the gospel. We have to be very careful that we give an
accurate presentation. Otherwise, it could have a disastrous effect. We don’t
want to edit God’s Word. We don’t need to try to make it more appealing by
taking things out of it. Nor do we need to make it more complex by adding
things to it. We just need to declare it for what it is and let God do His
As much as possible, we should seek to build a
bridge and be tactful. Then, having established that, we need to share the
truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible warns of a
different gospel that people can believe. The apostle Paul wrote to the
Galatians, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you
in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Let’s make sure
we give out the true gospel.
Here is the problem: People are not going to fully
appreciate the good news until they first know the bad news. The bad news is
that we have all have sinned against God and have fallen short of His
standards. And if we don't turn from that sin, the Bible says that we will
spend eternity separated from God in hell.
Someone once asked C. H. Spurgeon to sum up the
Christian faith in a few words. C. H. Spurgeon did it in four: "Jesus died
for me." If you know that much, then you are ready to share the gospel.
I suppose it is a bit like the architect wanting to see the long awaited completion of an intricate project. But here it is the creation (project) itself that longs to see its destiny. We are that project that waits in hope for the day when we will see with our own eyes what the Lord of Glory has prepared for us because of His wondrous Grace. The very thought makes my heart flutter. So far above our current post paradisiacal estate where impurity, infirmity, and deformity rule the day and the headlines define the spot where even the saints have fallen into the ditch and sullied themselves by bathing in the filthy water of a lost and fallen world. All the while the creation itself groans to be delivered from the agony. Yet we in this modern age have little concept as to the great sufferings made manifest in ancient times where our forefathers in the faith were despised, rejected, counted as outcasts, and even slain (The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson, paraphrase mine). What then is the point to ponder? Is your heart all a flutter in earnest expectation? If not, confess your fallen estate (each day) and find your earnest expectation of glory awaiting you in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and friend.
To reckon or consider (logízomai) is the result of considered deliberation. When put in the balance scales what we suffer in this life is not worthy to be compared with the future glory to be revealed. Though the trials of life may seem all encompassing, they are temporary and do not last forever. However, the future glory is eternal.