Three Searching Questions

1 Corinthians 13:13

It is delightful to soar with Newton in that sweet song of assurance…

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me;

I once was lost, but now am found, 'Twas blind, but now I see!"

But every sober minded person realizes that multitudes have sung those lines with joy upon the earth, only to wake up in hell at last. They made lies their refuge. They made a covenant with death. They assured themselves that salvation was theirs. They went to hell singing…

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,

O what a foretaste of glory divine!”

Realizing that fact, and knowing something of the sin and deceitfulness of my own heart, I am often compelled to sing with Newton the bass notes of another hymn he wrote.

"'Tis a point I long to know, Oft it causes anxious thought;

Do I love the Lord, or no, Am I His, or am I not?"

I know that the vast majority of religious people in this world are lost. Many profess faith in Christ; but few possess faith (Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23; 22:14; Luke 13:23-24). Most have been deceived with human religion. They walk in that broad way which leads to destruction.

I am equally certain that many who profess and practice the same things I profess and practice are yet unconverted. They are conservative and orthodox; but they have missed Christ. They embrace the true doctrine of Christ, but not Christ himself. Their religious devotion is but a form of godliness, without the power of life. Mere orthodoxy is not Christianity.

I have seen many whom I esteemed stronger, wiser, more zealous, more devoted, and more useful than myself forsake Christ and his gospel altogether. They had assurance; but it was a false assurance. They had peace; but it was a false peace. Mere religious devotion and outward righteousness is not Christianity.

How then can anyone have real assurance that he is savingly united with Christ? It is needful for all who profess faith in Christ to examine themselves by the Word of God, honestly and sincerely asking God to show them whether they are in the way of life and eternal bliss, or in the way of death and eternal destruction (Psa. 139:23-24; 2 Cor. 13:5).

We must prove ourselves by Holy Scripture and make our calling and election sure. I cannot give you a certain formula by which assurance may be gained. However, I do know that there are three graces created in the heart of every true believer by God the Holy Spirit. If you and I possess these three graces, if they are really and truly created in us by the power and grace of God, we are born of God. If these three graces do not live in our hearts, we are yet under the wrath of God. God the Holy Spirit declares, "Now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love) (1 Cor. 13:13). Here are three questions by which you and I must examine ourselves before God. May God give us grace to do so, lest we miss Christ and perish.

1.       Do I have the faith of God’s elect?

2.       Do I have the hope of the gospel?

3.       Do I have the love of Christ in my heart?

Don Fortner