19 JUNE 2017

BLESSED ASSURANCE

 

How confident are you? Do you feel capable of doing difficult tasks when asked? Are you confident enough to stand in front of a group to speak or to stand up for your beliefs even in the face of naysayers? What is confidence? A synonym for confidence is a lesser used term ‘assurance’, but the very definition of assurance is that it is a statement intended to instill confidence! Most would consider the ability to instill confidence would be a good thing, but there was a time when assurance had a negative implication of someone who was impudent or presumptuous! So, back to the original question – are you a confident person? What gives you confidence? Many will say that their confidence grows with dependability; as they see a trend of constant and continuously honest behaviors or words, confidence in the messenger grows! For the non-Christian, confidence often comes from a belief in oneself and one’s own abilities to accomplish something. Even Christians sometimes have a false belief that, if they do enough good works, they might win favor with the Lord. But the Bible clearly tells us that whatever actions taken should be the evidence of our faith; a familiar verse says that the fruit of faith gives evidence of Christianity to the world. Without that evidence, Christianity is just like every other religion – a nice way to find a peaceful existence without any substance. “For, my dear short-sighted man, can’t you see far enough to realise that faith without the right actions is dead and useless?” (James 2:20 PHILLIPS). The constancy of faith, the exercise of that faith in every activity undertaken, is what builds confidence in the heart of Christians and that confidence gives a peace that surpasses understanding. “The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” (Isaiah 32:17 NKJV).

 

For those of the JudaeoChristian faiths, confidence comes through the unwavering belief that God always tells the truth, that He actually cannot lie! “God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.” (Numbers 23:19 CEV). However, Christians take their source of confidence from another facet of their faith – Jesus. In the time of His ministry on earth, Jesus lived a constant, flawless example for His followers. It is through the conviction that He is God incarnate, which means that He is the physical, tangible evidence of the Almighty that we cannot see. Scriptures tell us: “Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 VOICE). For centuries before Jesus came to earth, the Lord had given promises through His prophets that the Messiah would come. The fact that God cared enough to have His son become human to pay our sin debt, gives us assurance that He will keep His other promises, especially that of eliminating sin and creating a new and sinless world. And because we believe His promises, we look for that day when we will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master!” (Matthew 25:21 ESV).

 

My heart song this morning is a favorite of many and another of the many written by Fanny Crosby. Although blind, she praised the Lord in her verses and her assurance in His promises never wavered.

 

“Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

 

REFRAIN:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

 

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

 

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

 

“Let us therefore come to worship, with a true heart, in complete assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22 NTE). Have a blessed day!