Chapter 18, Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

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  1. Although temporary Believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal presumptions, of being in the favour of God, and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good Conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of Grace; and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God which hope shall never make them ashamed. (Job 8:13, 14; Matthew 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3; 1 John 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24; 1 John 5:13; Romans 5:2, 5)

Having concluded the ordo salutis in the Confession in chapters 10 to 17, we come to chapter 18, which will address assurance regarding the state of grace and salvation.  Assurance is a very practical and pastoral matter: has the redemption accomplished by Christ been applied to us by the Spirit?  How do we know that?  This chapter provides assistance to the believer in this critical area.  Unfortunately, errors abound—errors that were quite relevant to the reformers, and are still pertinent to us today.  So we will need to carefully attend to this chapter.

Let’s now move to the confessional wording itself. Although temporary Believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal presumptions, of being in the favour of God, and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish. We come again to the phrase “temporary believers.”  A temporary believer is one who believes or professes to believe in the gospel and Christ, but only for a time.  But it is not just temporary believers, who are addressed here, but also other unregenerate men, people who may not even profess to believe, but yet still think God favors them.  Both kinds of unregenerate people, vainly deceive themselves.  In other words, this deception is played on them, and the deception is vain because it has no value. It does not persuade God to show them favor simply because they think they have it.  It matters little what they think, but entirely matters what God thinks. God declares a person justified; no one else.  The basis of their self-deception is false hopes.  There are a whole host of false hopes unregenerate men and women have regarding God’s favor.  For instance, many believe themselves to be “good” people in the main; while they know they also do bad things, on the whole they figure they have more good than bad.  These falsely hope that God judges based on their subjective judgment of themselves, rather than by an objective standard of holiness and inflexible justice.

In addition to self-deception based on false hopes, they also deceive themselves with carnal presumptions. Carnal presumptions means fleshly presumption; these are presumptions flowing from the nature of a natural, non-spiritual man or woman.  These cannot discern spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14), for they are unspiritual or natural.  These fleshly presumptions are worldly and do not come from what God has said.  Some think that since life has been good for them, this reflects God’s favor on them.  That is partly why it is so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God; they assume that since God has blessed them here and now, his favor is upon them.  They fail to realize that God’s goodness to them is to bring them to repent, not go on living as they please.  Based on the theory of past continuance, they fail to see the need for present repentance.  Carnal presumption also abound in the earthiness and fleshliness Roman sacraments; sacraments upon which many vainly hope with false hope for salvation.  We may think of the Roman Eucharist, their indulgences, or even penance. All these things people hope against hope will bring favour with God.  One would think that with their soul at stake, they would not leave the state of their eternal souls pinned on vain hopes and fleshly ways of thinking.  The end of these false hopes and carnal presumptions is that they do not bring favor with God or salvation.  Thomas Watson asks: “What are the differences between true assurance and presumption?”  He answers:

“Divine assurance flows from humiliation for sin; I speak not of the measure of humiliation, but the truth. There are Palermo reeds growing, in which there is a sugared juice; a soul humbled for sin is the bruised reed, in which grows this sweet assurance.  God’s Spirit is a spirit of bondage before it is a spirit of adoption; but presumption arises without any humbling word of the Spirit. ‘How camest thou by the venison so soon?’ The plough goes before the seed is sown; the heart must be ploughed up by humiliation and repentance, before God sows the seed of assurance.”[1]

This vain hope of theirs shall perish. This is a citation from Job: So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish: 14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web” (Job 8:13-14 KJV). On that final day, when they face a holy God whose justice is inflexible, they will find that all their false hopes were in vain.  The only hope they ever had was in Christ alone, but since they rejected him in this life, in the next they shall also be without him.  “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:23 ESV).

The Confession now moves to address true hopes and well-founded assurance of God’s favor in the regenerate.  The Confession states: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. In contrast with false assurance, the Confession now speaks of who truly believe (15).  This true belief is in the Lord Jesus. Not only do these believe in Christ, but they demonstrate the fruit of true faith: they love him in sincerity.  Part of that sincere love for the Lord Jesus is demonstrated by their endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV). Scripture speaks often of walking before God with a clear conscience: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5 ESV).  Or, “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 24:16 ESV).

Those who demonstrate a true faith in these ways may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace. We note that this speaks of “this life.” In this life, they can with certainty be assured that they are in the state of grace.  Why is this so?  All the above things are evidences of the state of grace.  The “state of grace” was defined in 9:4: “When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good.  This is not possible for those who remain in a “state of sin” (9:3).  1 John promotes a proper basis for assurance of salvation: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him” (1 John 3:18-19 ESV).  “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21 ESV).  “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (1 John 3:24 ESV). “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14 ESV).  John sums up his letter this way: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 ESV).  The assurance of the true believer is not based on vain hope or fleshly presumption, but on the evidence that indeed God has translated them into a state of grace.

Based on a true belief in Christ, and all the accompanying evidences, their hope shall never make them ashamed. This is an allusion to Romans 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5 KJV).  In contrast to the well-founded assurance found here in 18:1b which shall never fail, the vain self-deception of the unregenerate in 18:1a “shall perish.”

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  1. This certainty is not a bare conjectural, and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the Blood and Righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and as a fruit thereof keeping the heart both humble and holy. (Hebrews 6:11, 19; Hebrews 6:17, 18; 2 Peter 1:4, 5, 10, 11; Romans 8:15, 16; 1 John 3:1-3)

 

This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith. David Dickson states: “Well then, do not the Papists and Arminians err who maintain that the assurance of salvation is only conjectural, or at the most only probable, which hath for its foundation a failing and fading faith?”[2] This certainty is not a bare conjecture; that is, it is not a baseless opinion; it is not bare, but clothed with evidence.  We will see what that evidence looks like in a moment.  The Confession makes a radical statement here: this assurance of faith is infallible.  What a contrast to the Roman Church!  Letham states: “Rome’s semi-Pelagian doctrine of salvation, together with its penitential system, cast a perpetual cloud of uncertainty over the believer’s status.”[3]  The view of infallible assurance is a substantial reform from Rome’s doctrine. In addition, given the Arminian view that perseverance depends upon the believer’s free will, the Arminian Remonstrance in the Netherlands suggested that having infallible assurance was doubtful.  Letham states: “In reply, the Synod of Dort affirmed emphatically that such assurance was to be expected, despite struggles that the Christian may undergo, since all God’s elect will persevere in faith to the very end.”[4]  The Reformed position is not only that assurance is infallible, but that each believer can have such assurance; and far from being harmful, it is beneficial.  After all, the Scripture is clear: “And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb. 6:11-12 ESV).  And, later in the same chapter of Hebrews we read: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20 ESV).  Each believer ought to seek assurance to avoid sluggishness and to encourage imitation of faith-full, persevering believers.

This infallible assurance of faith is founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel. This assurance of faith has an object upon which it rests—the perfect work of Christ (11:1b).  Assurance does not rest upon faith itself, as if we have faith in faith; rather, assurance rests securely upon Christ.  Assurance is also based also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made. Assurance also comes from inward evidence that the graces of the Spirit have been given.  These inward evidences may be such things as love, joy, peace, and the inward virtues which the Spirit works in us.  If these inward graces come with promises: “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11 ESV). In addition to the inward evidence that the Spirit has worked grace in us, assurance is also based on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God. Scripture states:For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15-16 ESV).  This is also an inward testimony by which the Spirit.  The Confession states that the fruit thereof, keeping the heart both humble and holy. In other words, the fruit of these things upon which assurance is based, give believers a humble and holy heart. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3 KJV).

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  1. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true Believer, may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may without extraordinary revelation in the right use of means attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one, to give all diligence to make their Calling and Election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this Assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness. (Isaiah 50:10; Psalms 88; Psalms 77:1-12; 1 John 4:13; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 5:1, 2, 5; Romans 14:17; Psalms 119:32; Romans 6:1,2; Titus 2:11, 12, 14)

 

The Confession states: Infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true Believer, may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it. Assurance is not inextricably connected with the essence of faith (i.e. the “nature” or “whatness” of faith).  If assurance were of the essence of faith, then a believer with no assurance would also have no faith, and thus no salvation.  Faith rests on Christ alone for salvation, not on assurance of salvation.  Therefore, a distinction is required between assurance and the essence of faith.   The Confession is saying that while one may have saving faith, they may not necessarily have the accompanying assurance equal with that saving faith. One should not assume that a lack of assurance is the same thing as a lack of saving faith.  A true believer may have to wait a long time and experience many conflicts and difficulties before he or she obtains infallible assurance.  As a result, the believer should not despair and assume he or she has no faith and remains unsaved just because he or she lacks assurance.  And at the same time, he or she should not assume that they will never obtain assurance of salvation.   Scripture admonishes us to seek assurance.  By way of application, Isaiah 50:10 encourages the believer with no assurance to trust in the Lord in the meantime: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10 ESV; see also Ps. 88; Ps. 77:1-12).

While some believers may not have assurance for some time, yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of means, attain thereunto.  The believer does not need extraordinary revelation to have infallible assurance.  Because the Spirit enables the believer to know the things that God freely gives him, special or extraordinary revelation is unnecessary.  Rather, by 1) the Spirit’s enablement (“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” 1 John 4:13 ESV), and by 2) the right use of means (“show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end” Heb. 6:11 ESV), the believer may attain to full or infallible assurance of salvation.  The Confession is in part refuting here the false teaching of the Roman Church which indicates that extraordinary revelation is required for one to have infallible assurance, and the Roman Church indicates such assurance is not to be expected by ordinary believers. Contrary to Rome, Scripture encourages each believer to attain to the full assurance of faith (Heb. 6:11-12; 2 Peter 1:10-11).  The Confession states that rather than the requirement of extraordinary revelation, assurance comes from the right use of means.  What are some of those means for obtaining assurance?  Those means of grace may consist of the following and more:  the Word of God, prayer, fellowship, church attendance, credo baptism, and the Lord’s Table.  The Confession mentions the right use of means.  Thus, we must approach these various means in the right way if we are to receive the graces which lead to assurance.

Because the Spirit enables the believer to know what God has given, and because the right use of means leads to assurance, the Confession says: therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure. This is a citation from Peter: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10-11 KJV).  Peter implies that we can be assured of our calling and election by attending to the faith and virtues in 1 Peter 1:3-7. Thus by diligently attending to those, we grow in those graces; that demonstrates that God has indeed called us and elected us.  John MacPherson states: “Not by prying into Divine secrets, but through attention to the duties of the practical Christian life, is the comfort of true assurance to be gained.”[5]

The Confession states that by the believer’s diligence to make his or her calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance. By showing diligence and thereby growing in assurance, we experience the fruits of this assurance.  Those proper fruits are:  1) his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5 ESV); “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 ESV); 2) in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience. “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart” (Psalms 119:32 ESV)!  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 ESV).

Based on Peter’s exhortation alone, the Confession can confidently assert of assurance: so far is it from inclining men to looseness. Clearly, since Scripture exhorts us to seek assurance, and since assurance comes in part from diligently attending to a holy life, there is no rational reason to suggest assurance promotes an antinomian and unholy life.  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14 ESV).

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  1. True Believers may have the assurance of their Salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special Sin, which woundeth the Conscience, and grieveth the Spirit, by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light; yet are they never destitute of the seed of God, and Life of Faith, that Love of Christ, and the brethren, that sincerity of Heart, and Conscience of duty, out of which by the operation of the Spirit, this Assurance may in due time be revived: and by the which in the mean time they are preserved from utter despair. (Canticles 5:2, 3, 6; Psalms 51:8, 12, 14; Psalms 116:11; Psalms 77:7, 8; Psalms 31:22; Psalms 30:7; 1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Psalms 42:5, 11; Lamentations 3:26-31)

Since this infallible assurance comes in great part by our attendance to various means of grace, the Confession states: True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted. Assurance though infallible, can ebb and flow at various times in the Christian life.  Thomas Watson writes of assurance: “though infallible, [it] is not perfect.  There will be sometimes trepidation, but he is safe amidst fears and doubts; as a ship lies safe at anchor, though shaken by the wind.”[6]  The Confession lists four reasons assurance can be shaken, diminished and intermitted (interrupted).

First, it may be adversely affected by negligence in preserving of it. If we neglect our attendance upon the various means of grace, which strengthen and maintain our walk, it only stands to reason that our assurance may fade in one degree or another.  This may come from the fading of external evidences of fruit, and/or from a failure to receive the needed internal encouragement and comfort from the Spirit.  R.C. Sproul wisely states: “We can be negligent in attending worship, in reading the Scriptures, and in prayer.  We can remove ourselves from those means of grace by which our assurance is strengthened daily.  If we get careless, there will be consequences.  The level of our assurance will begin to diminish and we will be “on again, off again.”[7]

Secondly, assurance can be adversely affected by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit. The Confession has already addressed on several occasions the consequences of great and grievous sin.  There is a progression here: 1) falling into some special sin, which 2a) wounds the conscience, and 2b) grieves the Spirit.  By special sin, the Confession likely means a particular sin that is great and grievous (15:2, 5; 17:3).  Paul speaks often about the perils of a wounded conscience and the need to not grieve the Spirit.  This double consequence of special sin (2a and 2b), may certainly affect our assurance.

Thirdly, our assurance may be adversely affected by some sudden or vehement temptation. Waldron states:  “By distinguishing this from the previous cause, the authors of the Confession apparently intend us to think here, not of giving into temptation and sinning, but of an overwhelming trial or solicitation to evil which for a time so shakes the believer’s emotional frame that he questions assurance.  The texts cited at this point in the 1689 Confession [Ps. 116:11] confirm this interpretation.”[8]  We see this experience of believers in Scripture: “I said in my alarm, ‘All mankind are liars’” (Psalms 116:11 ESV). “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time” (Psalms 77:7-8 ESV)? “I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help” (Psalms 31:22 ESV).

Fourthly, assurance can be adversely affected by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light. For various reasons, solely up to God, he may for a time take away the light of his countenance, that is, the sense of his favor and presence.  He may do so to those who are upright and blameless; Job is certainly one prominent example.  Without this light, we sense that we are walking in darkness and have no light. “By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed”   (Psalms 30:7 ESV).  Such seasons may shake, diminish or interrupt our assurance. But even though that sense of God’s favor and closeness may be absent, yet are they never destitute of the seed of God. Our Lord told us that he would never, no never, leave us or forsake us.  And so even when the heavens feel locked in silence, our God has not left us; if he did, then, we would be truly destitute.  This section very much overlaps with 17:1b regarding the perseverance of the saints.  Regardless of being insensible of God’s favor, the seal of the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:9) remains with the believer as a deposit or guarantee that of our future inheritance.  John Owen wrote: “So much as we have the Spirit, so much we have heaven.”[9]  God will not default on his deposit; he has fully purchased us, and he will return to claim his purchase. In these times when assurance is shaken, diminished or interrupted, nevertheless, the believer is never destitute of the life of faith. Though our assurance is negatively impacted, yet our faith still remains and cannot be moved off the foundation and rock of Christ Jesus (17:1).

In fact, because the seed of God abides in us—even through those dark times of fading assurance—that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are preserved from utter despair. In other words, due to the operations of the Spirit (since the Spirit ever abides in us as a seed or seal), we sincerely from the heart and out of awareness of our duty, persevere in our love of Christ and the love of his people.  By doing so, our assurance will be revived in due time.  And, in the meantime (during the time our assurance is shaken, diminished, and interrupted), we are preserved from utter despair.  Despair is one of those deep and dark experiences which would seem to destroy the very soul of a person, but God promises that though the believer may experience a certain level of despair due to a lack of assurance, it will not be utter despair; God is still with him, and will never, no never, forsake the believer.  “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation” (Psalms 42:5 ESV). “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalms 42:11 ESV). “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. 31 For the Lord will not cast off forever” (Lam. 3:26-31 ESV).

While the unregenerate may deceive himself or herself with false hopes and presumptions of God’s favor, yet those hopes will perish and be shown to be unfounded. On the other hand, the assurance of the true believer will not perish, but will show itself to be a well-founded. Such infallible assurance rests on Christ, the work of the Spirit evidencing graces in a person showing forth evidence that one is in the state of grace.  Since assurance is not the same things as saving faith, a lack of assurance is not equivalent with being unregenerate and unsaved.  Assurance comes not by extraordinary revelation that one is saved, but by the work of the Spirit and attendance upon our duties to grow in faith, virtues, and fruit.  Since assurance is not simply given by the Spirit, but also comes in part by our attending to various means of grace, our neglect of those means can affect our assurance.  Special sin, severe evil, and God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance upon us may also lead to a lack of assurance.  But if we persevere, we can expect that the assurance will return in time, and during the time of shaken assurance, God will preserve us from utter despair. This chapter indeed contains practical pastoral counsel based on the Word of God.  Let us end this chapter with these words from Pastor C.H. Spurgeon:

“Brethren, if you know that you have eternal life, you are prepared to live, and equally prepared to die. How frequently do I stand at the bedside of our dying members! I am every now and then saying to myself, “I shall certainly meet with some faint-hearted one. Surely I shall come across some child of God who is dying in the dark.” But I have not met with any such. Brethren, a child of God may die in the dark. One said to old Mr. Dodd, the quaint old Puritan—”How sad that our brother should have passed away in the darkness! Do you doubt his safety?” “No,” said old Mr. Dodd, “no more than I doubt the safety of him who said, when he was dying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”” Full assurance, as we have said before, is not of the essence of salvation. Still, I beg of you to note this, that all along through these many years, in each case, when I have gone to visit any of our brethren and our sisters at death, I have always found them departing in sure and certain hope of seeing the face of their Lord in glory. I have often marvelled that this should be without exception, and I glory in it. Often have they said to me, “We have fed on such good food that we may well be strong in the Lord.” God grant that you may have this assurance, all of you! May sinners begin to believe in Jesus, and saints believe more firmly, for Christ’s sake! Amen.”[10]

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[1] Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (1692, reprinted, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 251-2.

[2] David Dickson, Truth’s Victory Over Error: A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith (1684; reprint, Carlisle, Pa.:  The Banner of Truth Trust, 2007),  111.

[3] Robert Letham, The Westminster Assembly: Reading Its Theology in Historical Context (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2009),  284.

[4] Robert Letham, The Westminster Assembly: Reading Its Theology in Historical Context (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2009), 284.

[5] John MacPherson, The Westminster Confession of Faith (T & T Clark: Edinburgh, Scotland), 113.  Brackets mine.

[6] Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (1692, reprinted, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 251.

[7] R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess: A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith, vol. 2, Salvation and the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, Nj.: P&R Publishing, 2006 ), 243.

[8] Samuel Waldron, 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith: A Modern Exposition, 3rd ed. (Webster, Ny.: Evangelical Press, 1999), 231. Brackets mine.

[9] John Owen, Communion with God, in Works, 2:246. Cited in Beeke and Jones, A Puritan Theology (Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), Kindle location 4272.

[10] C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, The Blessings of Full Assurance (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2023.htm), Sermon No: 2023.

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