As an old pilgrim in that way of life which is life indeed, I noted with interest the query of a correspondent--"1 would like to have assurance of being saved and from what?"
Now, for long years I did not myself realize the true import of salvation, and what it involved. Then, one or two expositions of Paul's letter to the Ephesians came my way, leading me into much light and truth. It dawned on me that here was revealed a perfect standing before God. That it was not so much my acceptance of Christ, but, as so well set forth, "He chooses us in Him." And, for the place of a son for Him through Christ Jesus.
We see, do we not, how absolutely and altogether, God comes in. In a timeless past we were chosen in Christ, that now, in this rare interlude of God's grace, we may to a marvelous extent, realize all that such a choice can mean. The apostle tells us that what Christ is should fill our hearts, and where He is our thought. He pictures, too, what God has made Him to be unto us, and what God has made us to be in Him.
What an outlook! How saved we are from introspection and from the many expressions of self which are not good for us, nor pleasing to God. As Paul says "Be carrying your own salvation into effect." And to what great effect this can be. A continuous operation, for God would have us saved from lots of things. He "rescues us out of the jurisdiction of darkness, and transports us into the kingdom of the Son of His love."
Out of an old order, and into a new. Then it is that we truly sound the depths of our acceptance in the Beloved, and realize assurance of being saved. But truth is so paradoxical. As we know, "there is no distinction, for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God." Yet again, how vital is the difference between one who has been brought to a saving knowledge of God, actually and deep down in heart and mind, and one to whom such realization has not come.
One discovers there is a new creation, which entails a newness of life, new impulses, motives, outlook and goal. And in all this is comprised what we are saved from. That is a good word of Paul's. "Having perceived, brethren beloved by God, your choice, for the evangel of our God did not come to you in word only, but in power also, and in holy spirit and much assurance, according as you are aware." (1 Thess 1:4,7).
Again, in a final thought, there is a profound expression of Paul's in his letter to Timothy. "We rely on the living God, who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of those who believe." Note how believers are singled out in that distinguishing word especially. In a potent, unique way, many exemplify the fine distinction made. They are the believers who here and now experience the high quality of salvation, and to us they seem all too few.
But what tuition is theirs. What knowledge of God's grace. And how worthwhile, come what may. God can teach us things we should never learn at school or university. And in all this, assurance is deepened, the while we increasingly perceive from how much of the self and the world we are saved. How wonderful that God should select us for such high blessedness!