Having been in a discussion about election and assurance on another forum, I thought I’d post an edited version here of what I wrote there.

First, we cannot know we are elect until we have come to Jesus as He is offered in the Gospel, that is, as our Lord and Savior. The only right order is to be persuaded you are a Christian because you have sincerely come to Christ. Then, and only then, can you conclude you are elect.  We will spare ourselves a lot of sorrow if we do not start with what ought to be the conclusion (election).

Second, to have assurance we must focus on the Lord Jesus and the promises surrounding him.  As we walk with Christ day by day, looking to his promises, based on his cross& resurrection, for the pardon of our daily sins, we find our faith becoming stronger.  As we experience trust in him, our confidence grows into a more and more settled assurance.  It is hard to argue that I do not know someone, if I am in his company on a regular basis.

Third, we must also examine ourselves to see if we are sincere (not perfect) in our love for him. We must be sincere. It ought to be obvious that hypocrites will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. One can be a sincere person who acts hypocritically, just as a hypocrite can appear to act sincerely. A believer’s inconsistencies and sin do not PROVE he is insincere. We must learn the difference between sincerity and perfection if we want to have any peace.  Here the much maligned Puritans are invaluable.  It is clear from James and from our Lord that not everyone who claims saving faith in Christ really has true, Holy Spirit-wrought saving faith.  It is sincerity in life, along with daily communion with God through Christ that protects us from self-deception.  There are those who engage in daily acts of piety and assume they are good Christians, who yet, prove themselves insincere by their life.  Let me say again, one must know how to evaluate one’s life in order to determine if there is sincerity or not.  It may be that those who object to including conduct in the equation for assurance are presently unable to discriminate between the sins of the wicked and the sins of the righteous.  Manton, Burroughs and John Preston are just a few who have written explicitly on the nature of Gospel sincerity.

Fourth, it is always right to put one’s trust in God’s promises which are ‘YES!!!!!” in Christ. No matter what one has done, he may come to Christ for cleansing.  If one is not persuaded that he has been sincere, let him go to Christ now as Savior and Lord based on Christ’s invitation in the gospel.  One caution, however, start with faith before trying to repent & reform. They all go together, but the order is crucial.  Believe the promises that God has generously given to those who will cast themselves upon Christ’s all-sufficiency.  William Romaine’s ‘The Life, Walk and Triumph of Faith’ on Googlebooks.com is an excellent  help to understanding the importance of keeping things in proper order.  I heartily recommend it to everyone.

Caveat lector!

JOB

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