Am I truly saved? This is a question that most Christians ask of themselves periodically. Asking this question does not mean that there is doubt about the work of Christ, but our proper response to the work of Christ. Assurance is not a feeling, but it is something that the Lord wants his people to have. It is for this reason that the Lord has laid out a way for assurance to be found in His Word.
In Gospel Assurance and Warnings, Paul Washer walks through the book of 1 John in order to give true assurance of salvation. He also shows the warnings from God’s Word to those who have false assurance of salvation. The book of 1 John was written, “that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). Assurance of salvation is the intent of the Apostle John. In each chapter of Part 1, Washer walks through each test of assurance found in 1 John. Washer warns the believer not seek assurance hastily, for true assurance comes through a lifetime of walking with Jesus. A person can not determine assurance based on one event of one’s life for it could be an inaccurate picture. As we walk with Jesus, we are to prayerfully examine ourselves to see if we are of the faith. Tests of assurance include: walking in the light, confession, repentance, holiness, and obedience to Christ. Each of these tests requires lifelong examination.
Whereas the Lord provides tests of true assurance for self-examination, he also gives stern warnings to those who have false assurance. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, ESV). This warning is given to people who had false assurance in prophecy, miracles, and might works. Paul Washer reminds his readers that the way of salvation is narrow and the gate is small. There are many people who have false assurance of salvation that is not based on God’s Word.
Gospel Assurance and Warnings is a great tool to begin the process of self-examination in order to find true assurance through God’s Word. The book also serves as a wakeup call to those who have false assurance based on an event from the past. It has been said that genuine saving faith is a testimony of faith that is active this very day (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology). Active faith seeks assurance by self-examination through God’s Word.
(I received this book through the Cross Focused Reviews program in exchange for an honest review of the work.)