Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Are you sure you are saved? – Signs of nothing – Part 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 8:55 am on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

After establishing the correct relationship between religion and emotions (see my previous post), Edwards moves onto the meat of the book – signs that determine whether you are saved or not. But prior to providing the positive signs, Edwards mentions twelve “Signs of nothing”, i.e. signs that are often attributed to salvation but don’t actually prove anything. Below I mention a few of them that I thought were the most relevant.

(1) The affections themselves are not a proof, only a sign. This means their absence proves that person is not saved, while their presence may or may not result from Spirit’s saving work. The Israelites at the Red Sea sang God’s praises only to forget his mighty works soon. People who shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna!” at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, soon replaced this cry with “Crucify! Crucify!”.

(2) For the same reason, fainting or shaking does not proof anything. Mind and body are connected – intense emotions, which don’t prove anything, will have some effect on the body.

(3) Inclination to talk about God does not prove anything. It is natural that someone who is deeply affected by something will often speak of it, yet the scripture is full of example of eloquent Pharisees.

(4) A scripture reference suddenly coming to mind does not prove anything. There is simply no proof of this in the Bible. People tend to think that since Bible is pure and true, any affections arising in conjunction with it must be from God. Yet Bible talks of Satan using scripture verses to tempt Jesus. Why can’t he do that to you?

(5) Well, how about this one? Having a deep and profound assurance that one is saved proves … nothing. The Bible is full of Pharisees who were very sure of their special relationship with God but were actually not saved. True believers embrace assurance of salvation with humility and caution.

Jesus makes it clear that we are to judge the sincerity of one’s belief by the quality of its fruit. But if the presence of the fruit does not prove anything anything, what does? According to Edwards, it is the perseverance of the fruit. But more on signs of true affections in my future posts.

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