Dealing Responsibly With Anxious Souls-#8

29 10 2007
To some of the Lord’s redeemed children it has been granted to live with reoccurring doubts about their salvation.

Still others–who are not truly the Lord’s–have been enabled to coast through life with a firm confidence that their day of reckoning will prove favorable in His presence, when in fact, that day will be horrifically the opposite.

Why, then, does the spectrum of soul-confidence yield such disparity? And where must we turn to find a responsible soul-physician to diagnose the real problem and prescribe the right solution?

Last night I did something I’ve never done before; I listened to two different TV preachers deliver their ‘sermon.’ In separate broadcasts, both men successfully provided terribly unbiblical and destructive soul-care to his hearers (what’s new?).

The blame for their heresy will one day soon be laid at each’s doorstep.

The first, a white guy (from Houston), recounted “God’s blessing” to his church–because of his faith–that came by way of Bank of America loaning $65 million to his congregation so they could “finish” their meeting-facility “the right way.” The first bank (which had little faith) from which he sought the loan wouldn’t even come off of $25 million, excuse me, “just 25 million.

As this ‘preacher’ continued to emphasize, we too should have a “fatted calf” mentality rather than a “starving calf” mentality. The first bank, he said, “Had a calf that hadn’t eaten in six months” [insert big smile here]. But I, on the other hand, should expect God’s material blessings becauseGod is waiting to pour out His blessings on me if I will but trust Him.” [insert even larger smile here]. Therefore, I should stop saying, “I can’t afford it,” but should start saying, “I can’t afford it…right now.”

Implication: Go take out a loan from whatever bank will give it to you for whatever you really really really want to have…because God wants you to have it too. This is salvation.

The second TV ‘preacher,’ a swole African American guy who could easily kick my tail, challenged his hearers to be like the lame man to took up his pallet and walked. His invitation admonished his hearers to be like the healed lame man who was the only one in the room with Jesus who had enough self-will to change himself. [insert long sigh here].

Implication: If you want spiritual healing, you will have to muster up the determination to heal yourself and Jesus will be happy with you for doing so. This is salvation.

After that, I couldn’t handle it any more. I turned the TV off and went to bed. As I lay there, I thought about and prayed for the people of Grace Church. “Are we giving the gospel to them?” “Who’s right? The TV guy, or the things we’re teaching at Grace?” “How can we know?” “Are any of our people feeding on the sort of mess I heard on TV?” “Do any of them have a false confidence about their salvation?” “Do I?

Then, the Lord brought to mind three of the sources for false assurance mentioned in the Bible. Do any of the following fit you?

1. Knowing the Bible may give an unbeliever a false assurance of his salvation.

The end of John 5 unfolds an encounter between Jesus and the Jews. The Jews wrongly believed that their diligent “searching of the Scriptures” would grant to them eternal life. And search they did! We would be hard-pressed to find someone in our day more familiar with the Old Testament than a 1st century Jew–especially the Pharisees. However, the Jew’s false-confidence of their salvation was stemming from their knowledge of the Bible.

2. Supernatural spiritual experiences may give an unbeliever a false assurance of his salvation.

Jesus told us that “many” will recount to Him, on the day of their judgment, the supernatural spiritual experiences they have enjoyed as reason for their acceptance with God. Even though meaningful spiritual experiences happen to us, it is not reason enough to believe we are the Lord’s. (Receiving material blessings would fit into this category).

3. A reformed spiritual life may give an unbeliever a false assurance of his salvation.

For many, the alteration of lifestyle, the turning over of a new leaf, or the success of oath-keeping (“God, I promise I will never again…“) gives to some an assurance of their salvation that is faulty. The bible has something to say about this sort of person (see here also). Like the second TV preacher taught, this would be the category that a person with a great deal of “self-will” could find a false assurance of his salvation.

Lord willing, the next post in this series will seek to highlight to the Bible’s remedy for soul-anxiety, by pointing to the Bible’s only ground for legitimate assurance of salvation.

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