Jay Adams: Certainty

JP: Worthwhile read by Jay Adams.



One word stood out among the writings of John Calvin. It was “certainty.” Today, we’d probably call it “assurance.” The Roman Catholic Church held out no certainty to its people. You could never be certain that you were saved, though you could almost be certain that you’d go to purgatory (after all, supposedly, there were Popes there who were still working their way out of that non-biblical half-way house) if you didn’t go to hell. Because salvation ultimately depended upon your works and the church’s ceremonies, rather than the finished work of Christ, everything was up in the air. Uncertainly prevailed.

Why wouldn’t we expect a good father, who (as Jesus said) would give his child an egg rather than a stone, to assure his children that they are truly members of His family? What cruelty to keep him dangling on a string, wondering whether or not he was a genuine child of God? No, God is no such Father. He is the One who taught us to pray with unbounded assurance, “Our Father, Who is in heaven . . .” Were we to be uncertain about our place in the heavenly family, He would have been teaching us to pray that which we had no right to pray. Indeed, the whole prayer would have been a farce, a terrible joke that He was playing upon His unsuspecting creatures.

But God was not joking when He said, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” He was not lying when He said that we can have “life abundantly,” here and now (John 10:10). He was not playing cat-and-mouse with us by assuring us of salvation on the one hand, and taking away that assurance on the other. He is a good God Who is reliable. His Word never fails. “He,” not “me” or “we” is the message of the Bible. Believe it, if you never have before, and you can have assurance that depends upon Him not upon yourself. That’s what makes it possible!

Comment: Image by Rajesh Setty

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