Assurance - RR136C6

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Contents

Lesson

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Assurance
Course: Course - Salvation and Godly Rule
Subject: Subject:Doctrinal Studies
Lesson#: 6
Length: 0:51:20
TapeCode: RR136C6
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Salvation and Godly Rule.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission


{?} confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. Having these promises, let us draw near to the throne of grace with true hearts with full assurance of faith. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. Let us pray.

Glory be to thee, O God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, who hast called us to be thy people and blessed us above all the peoples of the earth. We thank thee that we are thine, that all thy promises to us in Jesus Christ are yea and amen. Empower us therefore, O Lord, by thy spirit and make us bold by thy word, that we may ever be more than conquerors through Him that loved us, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.

Our scripture lesson is Romans 8:14-17. Paul’s epistle to the Romans, the eighth chapter, verses 14-17, and our subject: Assurance. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

A few weeks ago, we considered the subject of insurance and salvation, and we saw that there is a very common confusion of the two ideas of salvation and insurance, that all too many people who call themselves Christian, go to church to buy, as it were, fire insurance. They treat God as a spare tire. As we pointed out at that time, a spare tire is something that is excellent insurance. We all feel much more secure if we have a spare tire in the trunk at all times. We can drive with a great deal of security, and many people treat God in the same way. He’s good to have on tap. It’s nice to have Him and the Bible as long as it doesn’t interfere with your life, as long as it’s back there in the trunk, for insurance policies in case you have a flat tire. Salvation definitely is not, as we saw, insurance, but salvation inescapably carries assurance, and the word is a radically different one from insurance. Salvation indeed is inseparable from assurance. [00:04:11]

Now three different Greek words in the new Testament

Now three different Greek words in the new Testament which mean assurance, and are so translated in our English Bible. The first is pistis, which is also translated as faith. In fact, most of the time, faith is a translation for pistis, but it can also mean guarantee or assurance, so that the faith which God, by His Spirit puts in our hearts is, in itself an assurance of the certainty of our salvation.

Then second, the Greek word klariphoria, meaning fullness, abundance, entire confidence, full fruitfulness, is also translated as assurance. Thus, those who are the Lord’s, and who, in terms of our Lord’s declaration “A good tree bringesth forth good fruit,” bring forth good fruit in their lives, who love and serve the Lord. They have assurance, entire confidence, fruitfulness.

The third, the Greek word hupostatis, a standing under, a support, a substance, a title deed, is also translated as assurance, so that we can speak of our faith, as Hebrews does, being a title deed of the things that are invisible, of our salvation, of our place in God’s kingdom and in heaven, in the new creation, in His purposes.

Thus, salvation is not only redemption from sin and death into the victory of God, but it is also the assurance thereof. The Westminster Confession declares the testimony of the spirit of adoption witnesses with our hearts, with our spirits, that we are the children of God. The larger catechism, in question 80 reads: “Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?

And the Answer: Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God's promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere there unto salvation. [00:07:54]

Now folks, this is what St

Now folks, this is what St. Paul is tell us in our text. He declares in Romans 8:14-17 that the Holy Spirit makes the sons of God conscious of their adoption. They know they are members of the household of faith, and the Holy Spirit cries out with them to God, their Father. Everything in them cries out for the living God. Their desire is godward. Even their doubts are inspired by their belonging, and their sense of their shortcoming, so their very doubts are geared to this assurance, this feeling of belonging.

St. Paul declared “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Now the Spirit of God leads us, day by day, into obedience to God, and to judging ourselves in terms of the word of God, so that the very fact that we are judging ourselves and very often feel, “Well, I’m not worthy,” and so on, which we are not, we stand not in our worth but by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Those very self-judgments are an evidence that we are led by the Spirit of God. It is He working in our hearts, constantly search our hearts, guiding up to hold ourselves up to the criterion of His word. This, in itself, is a witness that we are the Sons of God, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The redeemed of God serve God not in a spirit of bondage or slavery, but in a spirit of adoption, like children, and since the Holy Spirit day by day is doing in us that which adoption in human life cannot do, namely to remake us so that we are more and more in the image of our Father. The language of our heart is the language of citizenship. It reveals our nature, and more and more our hearts are governed by the things of God, and we desire them, so that while sin is still in us, for we are sinners and often discouraged, the Spirit testifies within us concerning the reality of our salvation. God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father. We know our family. [00:11:33]

Not too long ago, when I was at one place, someone

Not too long ago, when I was at one place, someone asked me about my family and I said, “Well, my daughter is here,” and they said, “Well, I’d like to meet her,” and a minute later they said, “Well, it isn’t necessary for you to point her out. I can see Joanna’s image and yours, that you’re father and daughter.” Now, this is the way with us and God. We are continually conformed by the Holy Spirit and remade, so that our image is progressively not the image of the fallen man, but of the man who is being sanctified, who is redeemed, justified by the saving act of God through Christ, and being sanctified, remolded, reshaped, so that the likeness grows progressively, so that we are discernable as the children of God, and the Holy Spirit within us cried out for our father. We want that closeness, and we hunger and thirst for it.

Moreover, the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Even as the Holy Spirit searches us, makes us mindful of our sins and our shortcomings. It makes us mindful that we are the children of God by telling us This is your destiny. This is the standard to which you must conform yourself. This is the way, walk ye in it, and it is witnessing to us what the way is. Children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. If it so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

This assurance is not only a son-ship, but an heirship, as joint heirs with Christ. We are heirs together with him in his sufferings, in his battle, and in his victory. This assurance has the witness of the Spirit. It has the witness of scripture. It has the witness of our Lord’s death and resurrection. It’s a beautiful doctrine. It’s a very comforting one, the doctrine of assurance. It tells us that the way we are going, the direction of our lives and our hearts is one established by God, and that direction gives us the assurance that we are saved, that it is an inescapable assurance, an infallible one. [00:14:55]

The world has always treated this doctrine with particular

The world has always treated this doctrine with particular scorn and savagery. The doctrine of predestination and the doctrine of assurances have alike been treated with bitter hostility, contempt, and resentment, and it is interesting that the critics of the faith, our Lord said the children of darkness are often wiser than the children of light, have seen the relationship because the two are related.

What is the offense? Critics have stated it very clearly over the years. Why should one man have something from God which is not given to all men? God, they hold, must be good to all, and give His predestinating grace and assurance to all men whether they want it or not, or else he’s unfair. Now, of course, the whole point of predestination and assurance is that it is a principle of differentiation. God, as absolute sovereign, has the right to make differences. As St. Paul said, “God is the potter and we are the clay, and shall the vessel say to the maker, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’” Now, predestination is an inescapable doctrine. Philosophically, it’s impossible to imagine a world without it, unless you say absolute chance, absolute meaningless, nothing is anything, and as I pointed out in another context, the issue today is not predestination or no predestination. It is whose predestination; predestination by the sovereign God or predestination by the total, planning socialist state. In other words, who makes the difference? And the humanist says differentiation must be man’s privilege and principle. Man must be allowed to say who is going to be the ditch digger, and who is the outlaw in terms of whatever law they pass, and who is the elite. Man must make every distinction, every differentiation. This cannot be allowed to God, and therefore, the idea that a group of us have an assurance that they do not have infuriates them. They call it a subjective feeling. They call it a delusion. They call is paranoia, megalomania. Just about every name that comes to their mind has been, at one time or another, applied to those who have an assurance of salvation. How dare we have anything which says that God makes the difference, not man, and as a result, it has been ridiculed. [00:18:56]

John Dewey called it the quest for certainty

John Dewey called it the quest for certainty. But the irony of it was that this did not mean that Dewey was opposed to the idea of anyone having a certain truth, a certain assurance. He was opposed to anyone having a certainty that came from God. The certainty that John Dewey wanted in man’s mind was that which came from the Great Society. Only the Great Society could give certainty, and if men tried to get it from anyplace else, then they were denying the autonomy of man, and the ultimacy of man’s mind. IN other words, they were challenging his premise that man is his own god, and they were affirming that God indeed is God, and from the point of view of John Dewey, the ultimate sin and total depravity is to say that God is God.

Now, the doctrine of assurance is thus as inseparable not only from the doctrine of salvation, but from predestination. Humanism wants a doctrine of assurance also, in fact it has one, but it is a shaky and a dubious one. Salvation is, for the humanist, one of independence from God, of being one’s own god, of being one’s own source of ultimate authority, law and determination. What the humanist has to say when he talks about certainty is “We will one day create a heaven on earth. We will destroy poverty and disease. We will eliminate war. We will eliminate death. We will conquer all these problems that beset man. This is what he tells himself, and his only assurance is to keep saying, “I am God, I am going to do these things. All possibilities are open to man. Therefore, we are going to accomplish this,” and of course, the evidence of history is so overwhelmingly against him.

One of the problems today is, of course, that the world increasingly sees the witness of what man is. This morning’s paper gave us the grim and ugly news concerning Bangladesh. They fought for independence, for freedom. What happened? It was a case of the same peoples, alike Muslims, fighting. The report now is that two million have already died of hunger and millions more could, that over two hundred thousand women were raped. Every man of any education all the East Pakistani doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers, virtually to the last man, were executed, and there was a similar horror in which several million died in Nigeria just a couple of years ago. Can we expect anything different from man? And anyone who knows Muslim history, and our books give us such sweetness and light pictures of Islam these days, of everything except Christian history, could we expect anything different from a Muslim culture? Everything in their history indicates that this is the way they live. This is the way they act. A people without anything we would call morality or decency, or mercy, and it’s becoming so routine. [00:23:45]

A few million died in Nigeria just a few years ago

A few million died in Nigeria just a few years ago, and just a month or so ago, the killing of a few million in the Sudan was finally, we are told, brought to a halt, and of course, the millions that have died in that country of our now good neighbor, Red China, as well as the Soviet Union, and yet these same humanists tell us that these people who have created more murders in this century than in all past history, they supposedly are going to bring about a heaven on earth, and abolish war, and man’s inhumanity to man. Not surprisingly, their own sons are despairing and have become drop-outs. [

The humanist faith has very little assurance. It cannot give assurance, and perhaps the most prominent living humanist, Jean Paul Sartre, the existentialist, concluded his major work by commenting on the futility of man. “Man,” he said, “is a futile passion.” They seek assurance. They seek assurance in their future dreams, and they fail. They seek assurance also in their social reference. If man is doing something for man, that gives him assurance that somehow the world is going to be filled with brotherhood, but perhaps the prized joke of last month was a book by a prostitute, very prominent in New York, who was interviewed on television and some of whose prominent patrons were very thinly disguised in her book, in which she, as a humanist, justifies herself. She is rendering a great service for humanity. Some psychiatrists are actually using her services, and not surprisingly after that, this month a high school in Rhode Island invited a prostitute to speak to the social studies class. The humanist doctrine of assurances, the future, a pipe dream, the present social service as an indication of brotherhood. Both are becoming a bad joke. As Isaiah declared, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. For wherein is he to be accounted of?” A valid doctrine of assurances must rest of valid foundations. [00:27:09]

There are two possibilities, therefore, for a doctrine

There are two possibilities, therefore, for a doctrine of assurances. First, man can have a valid assurance of salvation because scripture indeed is the word of God, and the sovereign triune God is faithful to His word, and not only redeems man, but gives him an assurance of his salvation and fulfills all his promises, or second, man can have a doctrine of assurances if man says he is his own god and he is able to save himself. A contemporary scientist, Gabor (no relationship to the young ladies of Hollywood), has said, “The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented. It was man’s ability to invest what has made society what it is,” and so, he says, “What we must do is to invent the future, and how do we invent the future? How do we make it? Why, total control. Like a valid scientific experiment, control all the factors so that you can predict everything. You’re going to steer it down the predestined channel.” And as a result, it winds up not as a doctrine of assurance, but a doctrine of slavery.

Paul Tilich, a great existentialist theologian who died just a couple of years ago, railed savagely against the doctrine of assurance, because, he said, the doctrine of assurance had to do with believing in absolutes, absolutes like God and the Ten Commandments, and he went on to say that the only kind of absolutes that a man can believe in are, “the structure of the mind that makes sense impressions possible, and the logical and semantic structure of the mind, the universals that make language possible, the categories and polarities that make understanding of reality possible.” Then he says that “to act against the commands from our true being is to violate ourselves. If the moral command, whatever its content is, comes from any other source than our true being, if it is imposed on us from the outside, if it comes from authorities of any kind, if it is not an unconditional command for us, then we can and must resist it because it denies our own dignity as persons.”

Nothing outside of man can command man, he said. The only assurance we can get is that we are ourselves, we have the courage to be, to use his expression, and we do what we please. We are our own god. The Marquis de Sade would have liked Paul Tilich, and no doubt they are having a warm reunion these days. [00:31:19]

Tilich went on to conclude

Tilich went on to conclude: “What commands us is our own essential nature, our unique and eternally significant true being. It speaks to us and demands of us that we do not waste and destroy it.” And this is the source of his doctrine of assurances, and Paul Tilich’s body now lies moldering in the grave, and none of his assurances have any significance in terms of what he is now and where he is. Assurance comes either from man or from God. If it comes from man, look to man and to the heart of man, and your assurance will evaporate, but if it comes from God, then study His word and obey it, and you shall grow in assurance, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our heart that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heir with Christ. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying Abba Father. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee that thou hast sent thy spirit into our hearts, and our hearts indeed hunger and thirst after righteousness. They cry out for the living God, and we thank thee, our Father, that thou art he who, day after day, dost sustain, feed, and nourish us. Thou has beset us before and behind with thy mercies. Thou hast given us our hunger and our thirst, and thou hast given us that which satisfied it, and so, our Father, we come into thy presence as thy children, rejoicing in thee, delighting in thy word, seeking the glory of thy kingdom, and rejoicing in one another, as members of thy family. Indeed, O Lord, our hearts cry out, that thy kingdom come and thy will be done. Use us, O Lord, to this purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

We have a very few minutes left for questions. If you have any questions now in our lesson, first of all. Yes?

[Audience] {?} [00:35:13]

[Rushdoony] Karl Barth, of course, was bitterly hostile

[Rushdoony] Karl Barth, of course, was bitterly hostile to the doctrine of assurances, and by attacking the idea of blessed possessors, he was attacking the doctrine of assurances. The whole concept of the blessed possessors meant those who had the assurance of salvation. Yes. Now, it’s a very interesting thing. The term “blesses possessors” comes out of the early Middle Ages when it was coined as an expression to set forth the doctrine of assurances, and the sad fact is that this doctrine today is considered a sin by Roman dogma and increasingly, in the liberal churches, because practically all the churches today are dominated by the theology of Karl Barth, the idea of being a blesses possessor is taboo. It’s regarded with disgust. Now, it’s very interesting to contemplate on this, and I mentioned Karl Marx, because the thought, you see, is this was what Marx was striving at. The opium of the masses. Their assurance.

Now, what happens when you strike at the doctrine of Christian assurance? You immediately strengthen the institution of the church. If the individual, in terms of his relationship to God, is not a blessed possessor, if he does not have Christian assurance, then he’s got to cling desperately to the institution that says, “Hold onto our hand. Somehow we’re going to weave you through this maze, and maybe we’ll get you there, but don’t you dare think during the process that you have any assurance, that you’re a blessed possessor. So, wherever the doctrine of assurances is at all undercut, the church emerges as the winner. It greatly enhances its power, and this is why today, you have very little Christian assurance abroad in the world, but you have a great many power church organizations that get wealthier every year, and very interesting, never in the history of the church, in modern times, has the church been more successful in getting endowments, and they are promoted today by all the churches as a way of telling people, “Now, you do this for the Lord.” It’s as it were a step to heaven. They don’t say it that baldly, but the implication is there. So, these various endowments by the churches are a substitute to people for the doctrine of assurances. Yes?

[Audience] {?} [00:38:48]

[Rushdoony] Yes...

[Rushdoony] Yes. Barry Graham, by his espousal of Karl Barth, as the greatest theologian of the century, is indicating very definitely where his heart is, because if he regards him as a theological treasure of our day, he doesn’t have much in the way of treasure. Yes?

[Audience] {?} What’s happening in your own lives {?} Some of us {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes. Now, the doctrine of baptism and its relation to salvation, with an adult, the doctrine of baptism is not to save you, but as a witness to the fact that God has saved you. It’s an outward sign of an inward grace. With children, the doctrine of baptism has this meaning, that they are born into the covenant of grace, into the household of faith, and they have a citizenship in the kingdom of God by birth, which however, they either confirm, as they come to maturity, or they deny, in which case they forsake their citizenship and are no longer in the household of faith, but it gives them an assurance and the parents assurance that the children are members of the household of faith, as 1 Corinthians 7:14 makes clear. Does that help? Yes. Any other questions?

Just briefly, I’d like to call your attention to the Christian End to{?} Communism Crusade report of February 15, which has a very good summary of a report in a book published in Britain on the moral situation in the Soviet Union. This is by Kusnivsov{?}, a Soviet writer who defected recently. [00:41:41]

He writes in part, ...

He writes in part, “After the October revolution of 1917, the Christian moral foundations of Russia in former times were destroyed by materialism, but it had nothing to oppose to Christianity but violence and the rosy fiction of communism, which quickly crumbled, leaving nothing but violence. The Soviet system of fear {?} and enunciation as warped and depraved whole generations. As for the system of concentration camps where people spend many years, or even their whole lives under inhuman conditions and where, incidentally men and women are isolated from each other, this system gives rise to bestial traits and to inconceivable mass perversions. In conjunction with the other consequences of dictatorship, all this has altered the face of the nation beyond recognition. Hidden behind the official fine words, cynicism both political and moral has become the dominant feature of the average Soviet citizen who no longer believes either in God or the Devil, or Lenin, or communism, or anything at all. His heart holds nothing but smoldering ruins. This explains the unprecedented prevalence of drunkenness, which like an epidemic, has enveloped the Soviet Union from top to bottom, but which is carefully concealed by statistics. Soviet statistics likewise conceal fact that the USSR has possibly the highest incidence of venereal disease in the world. Moscow and other cities literally swarm with prostitutes, homosexuals, lesbians, etc. The majority of them are either people who spent time in prisons and camps, or who grew up in state children’s homes, and in those concentration camps for children known as corrective labor colonies. There are tens of millions of people in the service of the KGB secret police, employed either exclusively or while holding other offices. This is the most cynical, sadistic and mentally abnormal environment of all. Meanwhile, however, the modest party press deliberates profoundly upon whether it is decorous for a woman to wear trousers, whether people should be allowed to dance the twist, and the holiday resort of Shoji girls are arrested in the street for venturing out in shorts above the knee. The obligatory references which a Soviet citizen must obtain from his place of study or employment, and without which he cannot take a single step, lest without fail include the phrase morally steadfast. Woe betide a man whose reference bears the words morally unsteadfast. This signifies not the communist type, but a degenerate, fully fledged enemy of the Soviet regime. To quote the words used in party propaganda, today a man drinks vodka and leads a dissolute life, tomorrow he will be enlisted by a foreign intelligent service. Indeed, on the one hand, the authorities are exporting embellished, sugary propaganda about the happy life in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, {?} protest materials are being secretly sent to the West. They are composed by heroic individuals, and it is to the West that they have ever more frequently appealed in more recent times. These are the two extremes. What lies between them? Between them lie the broad masses, many million strong, huddling together in small groups, beginning with a family of two people and ending with such a dangerously large company as the progressive political pornography. In these groups, people simply withdraw into their own world and escape from the lifeless reality which surrounds them. [00:45:48]

It is difficult for someone living in the West even

It is difficult for someone living in the West even to imagine the chronic, depressed state of his Soviet counterpart who has not master of his own life. He belongs to the party, the motherland, the camp of socialism, from cradle to grave, the word must is drummed into him. Neither at work, nor at rest, nor in the theatre, nor in the cinema, nor in the street can a man escape from the concrete walls of the dictatorship, its propaganda, its surveillance. It persecutes him everywhere. People mate in isolated apartments. This much still remains to them. An improbable amount of vodka is drunk and this helps. By drinking himself into a dead stupor, a man can discharge his nervous tension and gain a temporary release from the oppressive world outside. Such gatherings restrict themselves to getting blind drunk, while others go further. They read verses by underground poets, dance forbidden dances to pop music, and so on.

And he goes on to say that the whole thing at every hand, shows a total collapse of morale and morality, and we should not be surprised. This is the way, when men depart from God. “Except the lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” So, the rosy pictures are a myth, the reality is a moral disintegration.

Just before we finish, one brief thing more on a somewhat happier note, from this book by Janet Adam Smith, Life Among the Scots. She comments on Scottish prayer, how the Presbyterian tradition in Scotland has always been great for very homely touches in prayer, and he gives this example of one within living memory. [00:47:07]

To be on easy terms with God was a Presbyterian tradition

To be on easy terms with God was a Presbyterian tradition which has lasted to our own day encouraged by the Presbyterian emphasis on extempore prayer. “O Lord, we thank thee for thy bounteous harvest,” prayed one such minister within living memory before his Abrodonian congregation. “The earth has brought forth an hundred fold, nay, a thousand fold. All the earth is covered with thy golden bounty.” And here his tone became more practical than lofty, “With the exception of a few bare patches round about Stone Haven, scarcely worth mentioning, O Lord.” This you have to say for those Scotchmen and their long stories of their prayers along these lines. God is very real and very close to them.

A couple of announcements before we have our benediction. There will be a Chalcedon prayer meeting and Bible study held at the Rauol Gastr{?} home this coming Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. and those of you who do not know the way, please check with Rauol{?} or with the Gutierrez, or with the Thurstons, and they can give you the directions to get there. Then, one more announcement. It’s been our privilege this weekend to have Dr. and Mrs. Truman Davis with us. Those of you who heard him speak last night know what a privilege this has been for us. They will be taking the plane this afternoon, and we’re going to take them to lunch, to Bruno’s, I think it’s just beyond Culver City, is it not? And all of you who are free and would like to join us there (Dutch treat) for lunch, please feel free to do so. If you don’t know the way, let’s see, check with the Flannigans or the {?}, they know the way and they can tell you, and we’ll leave here after a few minutes and go there, and I promise you that Dorothy and I will not sit next to the Davis’s so that the rest of you can have a chance to visit with them. Let’s bow our heads now for the benediction.

And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:50:51]

End of tape

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