– Stephen Charnock
The author of Hebrews wrote to the Jewish Christians, telling them “you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Hebrews 10:34), so “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). We have confidence in God, so we should have confidence in what He promised and that He will fulfill those great and precious promises someday.
The Bible says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not see” (Hebrews 11:1), and even by “faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Faith is not a hope-so belief; it is a know-so belief. Faith has assurance and a conviction that God’s Word is true, so “since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:21-22).
Some people claim to know God, but it’s critical that Jesus knows us on the day of His return. He says that many, not a few but many, will claim to know Him, but He says to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23), for “whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). So how can we know that we truly know God? The Apostle John writes that “by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). We know God if we obey God, but “everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).
When Paul preached the Gospel, “some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” (Acts 17:4). To be persuaded is to be certain about something, just like “David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul” (1 Samuel 24:7), even when they had evil King Saul trapped. Paul was certain that “if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5).
Do you believe Mr. Charnock when he wrote that “assurance is the fruit that grows out of the root of faith”? I do. I have confidence in our God; I have assurance in trusting Him; I know that if I obey God and love my brother, then I am His; and I know for certain that our bodies will be raised someday and that we will be “united with Him” someday (soon?).