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Assurance of Salvation

Assurance of Salvation

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Published by glennpease
By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D.


" Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." — Acts xvi. 30, 3 1,
By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D.


" Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." — Acts xvi. 30, 3 1,

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Published by: glennpease on May 07, 2014
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ASSURACE OF SALVATIO By Rev. Arthur F. Winnington Ingram, D.D. " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." — Acts xvi. 30, 3 1, WE are seeking to discover the elements of a joy which no man can take from us, and have already discovered two — first, the answer of a good conscience, and, secondly, the trust of a childlike heart. What is the third ? The third essential ele- ment of an unassailable joy begins to appear when we ask ourselves at what point the happiness of a man would break down if all he knew were that to be happy he must have a good conscience and a faith in God. Such happiness would break down in the impossible effort, first of all, to keep that conscience good in the midst of a staining and corrupting world, and, next, to maintain that 86 Assurance of Salvation faith in God clear and strong in the face of the crushing sorrows and inequalities of life. I. Picture a man honestly starting with the firm conviction that a good conscience is essential to happiness. He finds himself hampered both by the past and by the present. I. He is hampered by the 'past. He is trying to become a better man ; but the more his
 
conscience is enlightened by the light, the more heinous appear the lapses of his boyhood or his youth. He may have done this thing or that thing ignorantly or in unbelief, but he sees now that he ought to have known better, and he cannot undo what he did. The friend he injured is gone to another world now ; the mother he neglected lies cold in her grave ; the boy he misled has become a bitter cynic. It was all done in the days when he had given up prayer, and had drifted with the tide ; but there it all is, hanging round his neck like a millstone, and it robs him of his joy. More and more the thought returns to him, 'Mf I could only get rid of the past, if I could only turn the page and start again, it would be well with me ; but whatever I do now, there will always be the record of those years against me at the Judgment Day." 87 The Elements of Christian Joy 2. And, again, it is not only the past which hampers him, but also the present. He starts the week with a clear resolve : not to lose his temper ; to be strictly honourable in his dealings ; to keep his thoughts from dwelling on what is wrong ; to preserve his conscience void of offence. But what happens ? Some quite unexpected thing puts him out ; he has lost his temper before he knew what he was doing ; he is weak at the crucial moment, and so is involved in some doubtful transaction ; more and more he becomes conscious that there are within him two contending powers — one might almost say two contending selves. It is not merely a question of getting rid of the past ; it is a question of keeping a good conscience in the
 
present. In a multiplicity of ways his experience is exactly the experience of St. Paul : " The good that 1 would I do not : but the evil which 1 would not, that I do. ow if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man : but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members " (Rom. vii. 19-23). 88 Assurance of Salvation II. But if the preservation of an unsullied con- science seems impossible, it is no easier to main- tain the childlike faith. All goes well in the early years — ** Heaven lies about us in our infancy " — no troubles happen to us, no sorrows darken the horizon ; but then quite suddenly, perhaps, the little sister dies, and it awakes our question with a sudden shock ; or we are married, and the wife dies in the first year ; or the boys have gone to the front, and now there is " One of them shot by the sea in the East, And one of them shot in the West by the sea"; or a sudden panic occurs in the business world and we find ourselves penniless, and the children, whom we brought up so carefully, have scarcely bread to eat ; or we lie with broken limbs and decayed constitution, looking up into the face ot a Heaven which makes no reply and gives no ex- planation. I am not inventing these things, I have seen each one of them happen within the last two

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