The firm persuasion of being in a state of grace. The Council of Trent* anathematized the doctrine that a Christian may be sure of his salvation, but the Church of the Reformation upheld it. The Christian during his entire life will be cast about with many a doubt; he is to work out his salvation with fear and trembling. Yet he knows, being made divinely sure by the Holy Spirit, that He which hath begun a good work in him will perform it (Ph 1:6), the gift of the Spirit through the means of grace being an earnest of the inheritance laid up in heaven. By this assurance the Christian is upheld in tribulation and often rescued from utter despair. As Christians we have full assurance of understanding (Cl 2:2), that is, a perfect knowledge and entire persuasion of the truth of the doctrine of Christ. The assurance of faith, Heb 10:22, is trust in the sacrifice and priestly office of Christ. The assurance of hope, Heb 6:11, relates to the heavenly inheritance and implies a full persuasion that believers are the children of God and therefore heirs of His glory; from this passage it follows that such an assurance is what every Christian ought to aim at, and that it is attainable.
In a sense, assurance is the very essence of Christian faith. It expresses itself in such Scriptural terms as: There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:1); Being justified by faith, we have peace with God (Ro 5:1); Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father (Ro 8:15). Compare the many passages expressing the confidence and joy of Christians, their union with God, and their assurance that sins are forgiven and the ground of fear of future punishment taken away.
The Luth. Conf. throughout agree with FC SD IV 12: [Justifying] faith is a living bold [firm] trust in God's grace, so certain that a man would die a thousand times for it [rather than suffer this trust to be wrested from him].
See also Certainty, Religious.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
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