Assured By God: Living in the fullness of God’s grace
This Summer we have been looking deeper at what John Owen meant when he said we must diligently labor after full assurance of the faith (see the “Laboring After Assurance” posts). There is a biblical command that all professing Christians “be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities [faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love] you will never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10). Not only is this pursuit of assurance found all over the Reformed confessions but I have been arguing that it’s critical to understanding Puritan spirituality today.
Recently P&R published a compilation of essays by Christian leaders to further explain what it means to pursue this full assurance. Assured By God: Living in the fullness of God’s grace was written by men like R.C. Sproul, Philip Graham Ryken, Albert Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, John MacArthur and Jerry Bridges. The book does an excellent job expounding the biblical principles and the means of grace given to pursue this full assurance.
One of the strengths of this volume is how well Beeke reveals assurance in the Old Testament. Building from Hebrews 10:39-12:2 he says, “Though revelation and redemption are yet in preparatory stages in the Old Testament and assurance is somewhat more obscure than in the New Testament, the Old Testament believer’s assurance of the abiding covenant love of Yahweh differs little from our understanding today of assurance of faith being rooted in the character and promises of God” (114). This really helps me make sense of the Psalmist’s spiritual life as a pattern for the Christian life.
Beeke closes his chapter (ch. 6) with this summary: “Assurance is covenantally based, sealed with the blood of Christ, and grounded ultimately in eternal election. Though assurance remains incomplete in this life, varies in degree, and is often assaulted by affliction and doubt, its riches must never be taken for granted. It is both a gift, for it is always the gracious and sovereign gift of the Triune God, and a pursuit, for it must be sought diligently through the means of grace. It becomes well grounded only when it evidences fruits and marks of grace such as love to God and for his kingdom, filial obedience, godly repentance, hatred for sin, love for believers, and humble adoration. Assurance produces holy living marked by spiritual peace, joyful love, humble gratitude, and cheerful obedience” (123-124).
Unfortunately, pursuing assurance in the faith is not a popular message today and those who did labor after assurance — like the Puritans — seem to the modern reader to be very odd birds. But this pursuit of assurance is biblical and too much is at stake to neglect its pursuit. Added to its importance, the biblical doctrine of full assurance can be tricky and demands serious and focused study. If this pursuit after the assurance of faith is on your mind I would wholehearted recommend this book as a clear-minded and biblical guide to your grace-centered and Cross-centered labors.
Title: Assured By God: Living in the fullness of God’s grace
Editor: Burk Parsons
Authors: R.C. Sproul, Burk Parsons, Philip Graham Ryken, Albert Mohler, Richard Phillips, Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, John MacArthur, Keith Mathison and Jerry Bridges.
Reading level: 2.0/5.0 > popular level (easy read)
Boards: cloth (navy blue with silver embossing)
Dust jacket: yes
Binding: Smyth sewn
Topical index: yes
Scriptural index: yes
Text: perfect type
Price USD: $18.00/$11.70 from Monergism
ISBNs: 9781596380295, 1596380292