WCF: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

“This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.” (10.3)

Isaiah 50:10 is one of many verses that is abused in an effort to advance the Westminster Assembly’s self-righteous cause. The apostle Paul serves as an excellent example of one who continually trusted in the name of the Lord while walking in darkness:

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).

Romans 8:16 and Galatians 4:6 refute the heresy that a true believer can be in the dark about whether God is his Father or not. Once again, when we compare Scripture with Scripture we see that Scripture is being disrespected and twisted to serve an agenda. To “walk in darkness” is to be overwhelmed by a trying and painful circumstance or situation. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 gave us an illuminating example of this.

To assert assurance of justification by works is, ipso facto, to assert justification by works. How so? Because while this person SAYS he is justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, he simultaneously says that he can only obtain (or maintain, or regain) an actual assurance of this alleged justification by Christ’s righteousness alone by means of his works. So, he says that he has faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ alone while ALSO saying that he can only be sure that he actually has this alleged “faith” by means of his works. His assurance of his justification is found in his own works. He is ignorantly going about to establish his own righteousness in order that he may convince himself that he has truly submitted himself to the righteousness of God (cf. Romans 10:1-4). Clearly, it shows just the opposite -- he has NOT and is NOT submitted to the righteousness of Christ at all (Romans 10:1-4).

“True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.” (10.4)

The WCF rejects the Biblical truth that every true believer without exception by the Holy Spirit of God, continually cries Abba, Father:

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:4-7).

Micah 7:7-9 (WCF “proof text”) speaks of a believer saying he will bear the indignation of the Lord for sinning against Him. In light of the other passages pertaining to the Spirit’s assuring witness, this must be talking about enduring indignation that is intended by God as a loving chastisement for his sin (Hebrews 12:5-11). 

Those who doubt are “supported from utter despair” because they have NOT yet despaired of their own righteousness as the SOLE ground of acceptance before God. If they would despair of their own righteousness, and hope in the righteousness of Christ ALONE, they would never doubt, they would never be shaken, for they would have their foundation on the Rock of Jesus Christ:

“Only to God is my soul silent; from Him [comes] my salvation. He alone [is] my rock and my salvation, my strong tower; I shall not be greatly moved…Only be silent to God, O my soul, for my hope [comes] from Him. He alone [is] my rock and my salvation, my strong tower; I shall not be shaken. On God [is] my salvation and my glory; my strong rock, my refuge [is] in God” (Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7).

One’s assurance IS the ground of one’s salvation, and the ground of one’s salvation IS the ground of one’s assurance -- Jesus Christ ALONE! The Spirit of God does NOT operate a self-righteous assurance in any allegedly “spirit-wrought fruit,” since the Spirit convicts God’s people of the truth that Jesus Christ and His righteousness is the ONLY ground of salvation and hence their ONLY assurance and hope of salvation.

“And when the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, that One will witness concerning Me” (John 15:26).

“And having come, that One will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. Concerning sin, because they do not believe into Me; and concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father, and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16:8-11).

“But when that One comes, the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you into all Truth, for He will not speak from Himself, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will announce the coming things to you. That One will glorify Me, for He will receive from Mine and will announce to you” (John 16:13-14).

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).

“And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).


Faith Is Assurance 

Holy Spirit Conviction

The Wicked Westminster Confession