Why No Assurance?
It is the will of God that all believers know the security of their salvation (1 John 5:13). All, however, will struggle with doubts from time to time. Some doubts are the result of the human frailty of our faith. Others may stem from an inconsistent life. There is a connection between holiness and assurance.
I bless God that our salvation in no wise depends on our own works. By grace we are saved—not by works of righteousness—through faith—without the deeds of the law. But I never would have any believer for a moment forget that our sense of salvation depends much on the manner of our living. Inconsistency will dim our eyes, and bring clouds between us and the sun. The sun is the same behind the clouds, but you will not be able to see its brightness or enjoy its warmth, and your soul will be gloomy and cold. It is in the path of well doing that the day-spring of assurance will visit you, and shine down upon your heart.
. . .
Paul was a man who exercised himself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man (Acts 24:16). He could say with boldness, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.’ I do not therefore wonder that the Lord enabled him to add with confidence, ‘Henceforth there is a crown laid up for me, and the Lord shall give it me at that day.’
If any believer in the Lord Jesus desires assurance, and has not got it, let him think over this point also. Let him look at his own heart, look at his own conscience, look at his own life, look at his own ways, look at his own home. And perhaps when he has done that, he will be able to say, ‘There is a cause why I have no assured hope.’
—J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 162–163.
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