Lord Assures

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
~ Luke 14:26

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
~ 1 John 3:20-21

So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.
~ Job 7:15-16

Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
~ Ecclesiastes 2:17-19

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
~ John 12:25

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 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. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
~ Romans 7:20, Romans 7:23-24

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
~ Galatians 5:16-18

My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
~ Psalm 6:3

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
~ Romans 5:3-5

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
~ 2 Timothy 1:12

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
~ Romans 8:18-19

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
~ Psalm 27:14

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
~ Job 42:6

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
~ Jude 1:24-25

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
~ Philippians 1:6

Abhorrency from Sin, the Nature of Assurance, and the Necessity of Waiting for Peace and Consolation from the Lord, by John Owen. The following contains an excerpt from his work, “The Forgiveness of Sin, A Practical Exposition Upon Psalm 130:4”.

“Search the Scriptures.”—John 5:39

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
~ Psalm 130:4

Rules to be observed by them who would come to stability in obedience.


Self-condemnation and abhorrency for sin consistent with gospel justification and peace—The nature of gospel assurance—What is consistent with it—What are the effects of it.

2. Evangelical assurance is not a thing that consisteth in any point, and so incapable of variation. It may be higher or lower, greater or less, obscure or attended with more evidence. It is not quite lost when it is not quite at its highest. God sometimes marvellously raiseth the souls of his saints with some close and near approaches unto them,—gives them a sense of his eternal love, a taste of the embraces of his Son and the inhabitation of the Spirit, without the least intervening disturbance; then this is their assurance. But this life is not a season to be always taking wages in; our work is not yet done; we are not always to abide in this mount; we must down again into the battle,—fight again, cry again, complain again. Shall the soul be thought now to have lost its assurance? Not at all. It had before assurance with joy, triumph, and exultation; it hath it now, or may have, with wrestling, cries, tears, and supplications. And a man’s assurance may be as good, as true, when he lies on the earth with a sense of sin, as when he is carried up to the third heaven with a sense of love and foretaste of glory. In brief, this assurance of salvation is such a gracious, evangelical persuasion of acceptance with God in Christ, and of an interest in the promises of preservation unto the end, wrought in believers by the Holy Ghost, in and through the exercise of faith, as for the most part produceth these effects following:—

(1.) It gives delight in obedience, and draws out love in the duties that unto God we do perform. So much assurance of a comfortable issue of their obedience, of a blessed end of their labours and duties, of their purifying their hearts, and pressing after universal renovation of mind and life, as may make them cheerful in them, as may give love and delight in the pursuit of what they are engaged in, is needful for the saints, and they do not often go without it; and where this is, there is gospel assurance. To run as men uncertain, to fight as those that beat the air, to travel as not any way persuaded of a comfortable entertainment or refreshment at the journey’s end, is a state and condition that God doth not frequently leave his people unto; and when he doth, it is a season wherein he receives very little of glory from them, and they very little increase of grace in themselves. Many things, as hath been showed, do interpose,—many doubts arise and entangling perplexities; but still there is a comfortable persuasion kept alive that there is a rest provided, which makes them willing unto, and cheerful in, their most difficult duties. This prevaileth in them, that their labour in the Lord, their watchings, praying, suffering, alms, mortification, fighting against temptation, crucifying the flesh with the lusts thereof, shall not be in vain. This gives them such a delight in their most difficult duties as men have in a hard journey towards a desirable home or a place of rest.(2.) It casts out fear, tormenting fear, such as fills the soul with perplexing uncertainties, hard thoughts of God, and dreadful apprehensions of wrath to come. There are three things spoken concerning that fear which is inconsistent with the assurance of forgiveness:—First, With respect unto its principle, it is from a “spirit of bondage:” Rom. 8:15, “We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.” It is not such a fear as makes an occasionad incursion upon the mind or soul, such as is excited and occasioned by incident darkness and temptation, such as the best, and persons of the highest assurance, are liable and obnoxious unto; but it is such as hath a complete abiding principle in the soul, even a “spirit of bondage,”—a prevailing frame constantly inclining it to fear, or dreadful apprehensions of God and its own condition. Secondly, That it tends to bondage. It brings the soul into bondage: Heb. 2:14, 15, he died “to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Fear of death as penal, as it lies in the curse, which is that fear that proceeds from a “spirit of bondage,” brings the persons in whom it is into bondage; that is, it adds weariness, trouble, and anxiety of mind unto fear, and puts them upon all ways and means imaginable, unduly and disorderly, to seek for a remedy or relief. Thirdly, It hath torment: “Fear hath torment,” 1 John 4:18. It gives no rest, no quietness, unto the mind. Now, this is so cast out by gospel assurance of forgiveness, that, though it may assault the soul, it shall not possess it; though it make incursions upon it, it shall not dwell, abide, and prevail in it.

(3.) It gives the soul a hope and expectation of “the glory that shall be revealed,” and secretly stirs it up and enlivens it unto a supportment in sufferings, trials, and temptations. This is the “hope which maketh not ashamed,” Rom. 5:5, and that because it will never expose the soul unto disappointment. Wherever there is the root of assurance, there will be this fruit of hope. The proper object of it is things absent, invisible, eternal,—the promised reward, in all the notions, respects, and concernments of it. This hope goes out unto, in distresses, temptations, failings, and under a sense of the guilt and power of sin. Hence ariseth a spring of secret relief in the soul, something that calms the heart and quiets the spirit in the midst of many a storm. Now, as, wherever assurance is, there will be this hope; so wherever this secret relieving hope is, it grows on no other root but a living persuasion of a personal interest in the things hoped for.

(4.) As it will do many other things, so, that I may give one comprehensive instance, it will carry them out, in whom it is, to die for Christ. Death, unto men who saw not one step beyond it, was esteemed of all things most terrible. The way and means of its approach add unto its terror. But this is nothing in comparison of what it is unto them who look through it as a passage into ensuing eternity. For a man, then, to choose death rather than life, in the most terrible manner of its approach, expecting an eternity to ensue, it argues a comfortable persuasion of a good state and condition after death. Now, I am persuaded that there are hundreds who, upon gospel, saving accounts, would embrace a stake for the testimony of Jesus, who yet know not at all that they have the assurance we speak of; and yet nothing else would enable them thereunto. But these things being beside the main of my intendment, I shall pursue them no farther; only, the rule is of use:—Let the soul be sure to be well acquainted with the nature of that which it seeks after, and confesseth a sense of the want of.


Continuance in waiting necessary unto peace and consolation.

Whatever your condition be, and your apprehension of it, yet continue waiting for a better issue, and give not over through weariness or impatience. This rule contains the sum of the great example given us in this psalm. Forgiveness in God being discovered, though no sense of a particular interest therein as yet obtained, that which the soul applies itself unto is diligent, careful, constant, persevering waiting; which is variously expressed in the fifth and sixth verses. The Holy Ghost tells us that “light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart,” Ps. 97:11. Light and gladness are the things now inquired after. Deliverance from darkness, misapprehensions of God, hard and misgiving thoughts of his own condition, is that which a soul in its depths reacheth towards. Now, saith the Holy Ghost, “These things are sown for the righteous.” Doth the husbandman, after he casts his seed into the earth, immediately the next day, the next week, expect that it will be harvest? doth he think to reap so soon as he hath sown? or doth he immediately say, “I have laboured in vain, here is no return; I will pull up the hedge of this field and lay it waste?” or, “I see a little grass in the blade, but no corn; I will give it to the beasts to devour it?” No; “his God,” as the prophet speaks, “doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him,”—namely, what he must do, and how he must look for things in their season. And shall not we be instructed by him? “Behold, the husbandman,” saith James, “waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain,” James 5:7. And is light sown for them that are in darkness, and shall they stifle the seed under the clods, or spoil the tender blade that is springing up, or refuse to wait for the watering of the Spirit, that may bring it forth to perfection? Waiting is the only way to establishment and assurance; we cannot speed by our haste; yea, nothing puts the end so far away as making too much haste and speed in our journey. The ground hereof is, that a sense of a special interest in forgiveness and acceptance is given in to the soul by a mere act of sovereignty. It is not, it will not be, obtained by or upon any rational conclusions or deductions that we can make. All that we can do is but to apply ourselves to the removal of hinderances, for the peace and rest sought for come from mere prerogative: “When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him?” Job 34:29. Now, what is the way to receive that which comes from mere sovereignty and prerogative? Doth not the nature of the thing require humble waiting? If, then, either impatience cast the soul into frowardness, or weariness make it slothful (which are the two ways whereby waiting is ruined), let not such a one expect any comfortable issue of his contending for deliverance out of his depths. And let not any think to make out their difficulties any other way: their own reasonings will not bring them to any establishing conclusion; for they may lay down propositions, and have no considerable objections to lie against either of them, and yet be far enough from that sweet consolation, joy, and assurance which is the product of the conclusion, when God is not pleased to give it in. Yea, a man may sometimes gather up consolation to himself upon such terms, but it will not abide. So did David, Ps. 30:6, 7. He thus argues with himself: “He whose mountain is made strong, to whom God is a defence, he shall never be moved nor be shaken; but I am thus settled of God: therefore I shall not be moved.” And therein he rejoiceth. It is an expression of exultation that he useth; but what is the issue of it? In the midst of these pleasing thoughts of his, “God hides his face,” and “he is troubled;” he cannot any longer draw out the sweetness of the conclusion mentioned. It was in him before from the shinings of God’s countenance, and not from any arguings of his own.

No disappointment, then, no tediousness or weariness, should make the soul leave waiting on God, if it intend to attain consolation and establishment. So dealeth the church, Lam. 3:21, “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.” What is that she calls to mind? This, that “it is of the LORD’S mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” verse 22;—”I will yet hope, I will yet continue in my expectation upon the account of neverfailing compassion, of endless mercies in him, whatever my present condition be.” And thence she makes a blessed conclusion, verse 26, “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” And this is our third rule:—It is good to hope and wait, whatever our present condition be, and not to give over, if we would not be sure to fail; whereunto I speak no more, because the close of this psalm insists wholly on this duty, which must be farther spoken unto.