The two powers I have in mind are at opposite ends of the compass (Psalm 103:12). One is the power of sin and of death and of Satan, and the other the power of God for salvation. These two powers are mutually exclusive, each working against the other. As believers, we have experienced the power of God for salvation, and we remain safe under that power. And yet, Christian teachers abound (some of them even claiming New Covenant Theology) who insist that believers are under both powers and that the power of sin and of death and of Satan is the power we are to use to guide our lives and accomplish our sanctification. I want to show you where the Bible speaks of these powers and how we cannot be under both.
A. In 1 Timothy 1:18-19, Paul wrote to Timothy, “This instruction I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you may wage the good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made a shipwreck concerning the faith.” How can some have thrust away their faith and good conscience to become shipwrecks at the same time that God is making sure that they persevere? Is the perseverance of the saints an unbiblical doctrine that gives us false hope?
This is taken from the Autobiography of George Müller: A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer published by Westminster Literature Resources. George Müller was an example to us all and one of the most admirable men in relatively recent history that I know of. I highly recommend the Autobiography, and you could probably profit from any book by or about him.—PD
A sister in the Lord in Ireland, who did not see her acceptance before God, and who was habitually without the assurance that she is a child of God, that she is born again, that her sins are forgiven, and that she will be saved, in her distress of mind wrote to me about this time. As her case is by no means a solitary one, but as there are so many children of God who do not know that they are children of God; as there are so many whose sins are forgiven who do not know that they are forgiven; and as there are so many who will be saved, who do not know that they will be saved, and who are continually afraid of what would become of them were they to be taken out of the world; I have thought it well to say something here on this most important subject.
A. This is a common question. Some other ways that it can be asked are, “How can I know that God has chosen me as one of His children?” and, “How can I be assured of God’s love for me?” It is, in fact, a question of what theologians call assurance.
I know people who have come up with all sorts of elaborate ways to answer this question. They tell people to look at themselves and see how they have changed since the time they think they became a Christian. They tell them to look at their love for others, their Christian works, their growth in Scriptural knowledge, their better morality, how much they love the law, and so on. Others will also advise people to wait for a vision, a voice, or a feeling to know they are saved.