One of the great battles for many believers is the assurance of their salvation. The fluctuations of our feelings, the failures we see in our life, the all-too-often lack of passion for the things of God, the accusing voice of Satan all mingle together to confuse and confound the saint. Bunyan, who knew this battle for assurance intimately, dedicated a short passage of his famous â€œPilgrimâ€™s Progressâ€ to this battle.
I took notice that now poor Christian was so confounded, that he did not know his own voice; and thus I perceived it. Just when he was come over against the mouth of the burning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stepped up softly to him, and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind. This put Christian more to it than anything that he met with before, even to think that he should now blaspheme him that he loved so much before; yet, if he could have helped it, he would not have done it; but he had not the discretion either to stop his ears, or to know from whence these blasphemies came.
Often, the Enemy of our souls will whisper many blasphemous thoughts, and the Christian must recognize where such thoughts come from. Recently, Iâ€™ve been richly blessed by pondering this verse from 1 Peter 2:7 where it says, â€œUnto you therefore which believe He is precious.â€ What a trumpet blast of assurance this verse may be, and a boon of strength for those who feel weak in the fight for faith! The soul that truly believes, and therefore is saved, is a soul that counts Christ as precious.
Ask yourself if you find Christ precious. Now, you may reply, â€œNot as much as I should.â€ But even this is a proof of a heart that is alive by grace. The soul that treasures Christ and yet longs to treasure Him more, is a soul that proves that faith has been kindled within! When we believe upon the Lord Jesus, it is precisely because we know that there is no other fountain that saves from sin, and that our great crimes against God Almighty have been paid by the precious blood of Christ. Thus, when a soul truly believes, along with it comes a love for Christ, His people, and the things of Christ.
When you walk through valleys of doubt, fear, or temptation, remember to cling to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Treasure it. Consider how great a love the Father has lavished upon you. Remember what Spirit He has given you that, despite all your failures, cries out within you, â€œAbba, Father!â€ Remember that Jesus died to win thee!
Further, if Christ is indeed precious, will it not be shown in your life; in how you spend your time, money, energy; in what you think about, dream about, talk about? If we truly have believed upon Him, we will also count Him as precious, and therefore leave the trinkets of this world for the treasures of grace. When Christ is indeed precious to a soul, it points to the saving work of grace which the Spirit of God has done within that soul to give it the gift of faith! Believing upon Him and loving Him are not inseparable. They are like the heat and light of a match when it is first struck. The light of faith and the heat of affection for Christ go hand in hand.
So, if you feel your faith failing, ask whether Christ be precious to you. If He is not, think upon all He has done for you, what kindness He has shown you, what long-suffering and patience, and what a gift He offers to you by His work upon the cross to justify you and make you righteous in the sight of God. Oh, and in spite of all, cling to Christ as a Savior who can and does save such sinners!
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