There’s No Simple Formula for Assurance

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Today’s post is by Andrew Hall. Andrew is the Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church in Ilderton, Ontario (a small community just outside of London). He and his wife, Melanie, have been married for over 13 years and have four kids. Andrew studied at Providence College University in Otterburne, MB and received my M.Div from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and blogs at cruciformity.com.


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. . . .Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:5-7, 10 ESV)

Paul had grown up in the church. He had heard all the stories, been at all the meetings, and served on various committees. But lately he was struggling – his church had been teaching that he should be prospering. Now, it didn’t feel like he was, and he was feeling blamed because he must not have enough faith.

When Burt stopped coming to church, everyone was shocked. A committed, solid Christian, he had suddenly disappeared off the church’s radar. He resisted visits from concerned friends, didn’t return calls or reply to emails and texts. Months later, his secret sins were exposed.

Janice had grown up in a pastor’s home. By all outward appearances, she was very Christian. She had grown up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school, learned Christian doctrine, even gone on mission trips. But when she began to be challenged by her atheistic co-workers, she didn’t have answers. She wasn’t certain that she had ever believed.

Geraldine was confident and assured. She had heard it over and over that once you were saved, you were always saved. She attended church, carried a Bible with her, and sang in the church choir. But that’s about where her “faith” ended. Religion and Jesus were a compartment in her life that didn’t seem to affect any other aspect of her life.

The Bible recognizes that we are complex creatures and that we struggle with assurance of salvation (or don’t!) for various reasons. For Paul, assurance lacked because of poor teaching. For Burt, his secret sins needed to be exposed and repented of before assurance would return. For Janice, her faith was now being tested and exposing her need to be diligent. And for Geraldine, her assurance was no evidence of a faith that worked.

Having assurance of salvation is no simple formula. Rather, assurance comes because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ alone and depend upon his perfect righteousness, not our own (2 Peter 1:2), and we depend upon Christ’s power to grow us into his likeness (2 Peter 1:4). Assurance comes by trusting in what Christ has done for us and growing in godliness. The “golden ladder” of 2 Peter 1:5-7 is the production of fruit from a life that abides in Christ. And faith produces the diligence of hard work to confirm that we belong to Him.

Wherever you are at, whatever you struggle with, remember these two truths: Christ died for you, and he has given all those who trust in him the power to grow. So be diligent! Know his great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4)! Don’t rely on spiritual experiences (2 Peter 1:16-18), but rely upon the more certain Word that you have heard (2 Peter 1:19-21). Believe, and know Christ has given you everything you need to live, obey, and grow!