CHRIST’S ‘WORK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS’ AND THE ASSURANCE THAT FOLLOWS
Oh what a trauma and struggle it can be to some of God’s children to struggle with the Assurance of salvation. We must all admit that we have had times when we have struggled with it. Even the ‘man after God’s own heart’ – the Psalmist David had his doubts, or he had not prayed – “say unto my soul, I am thy salvation!” [Psalm 35:3]
“What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening’s petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith.
If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts. The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when His love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast.
I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say unto my soul.” Lord, do Thou say it ! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian.
Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Lord, if Thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless Thou shouldst say it to ME. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou art mine.” – C.H. Spurgeon
It is truly a gift of God this ‘Assurance’. And God will not let His child struggle with these doubts for long. He WILL come and speak peace to their heart.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He WILL SPEAK PEACE UNTO HIS PEOPLE, and to his saints” [Psalm 85:8] THIS is a promise to EVERY child of God dearly Beloved . . . both for the ones who have always remained faithful and for those who have been big time Prodigals (like me)!
Our Master wrought a great work on that Cross! It is called the ‘work of righteousness’. It was a work which only HE could do! And He did it and cried out “IT IS FINISHED!” And ascended into heaven and SAT DOWN at the right hand of God as our mediator! Men generally ‘sit down’ only after their work is accomplished! And our Lord accomplished the great work on OUR BEHALF and sat down! Hallelujah!
And this ‘work of righteousness’ which He wrought has an EFFECT. And what is that effect?
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the EFFECT of righteousness QUIETNESS AND ASSURANCE FOR EVER.” [Isaiah 32:17]
It was THIS Assurance which made the Psalmist confess on his death-bed –
“Although my house be not so with God; yet HE hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ORDERED IN ALL THINGS, AND SURE: for THIS is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He make it not to grow!” [2Sam 23:5]
“That everlasting covenant is so “ordered” as to promote the glory of God, the honor of the Mediator, and the holiness and blessing of His people. It is “sure” because its promises are those of Him who cannot lie, because full provision is made in it for all the failures of believers, and because its administration is in the hands of Christ. “For this is all my salvation.” David rightly traced his salvation back to “the everlasting covenant”: alas that so many today are ignorant of this inexhaustible well of comfort.
It is not enough that we go back to the hour when we first believed, nor even to the Cross where the Savior paid the price of our redemption; to the everlasting covenant we must look, and see there God graciously planning to give Christ to die for His people and impart the Spirit to them for quickening and the communicating of faith. THIS is “all our salvation” for it entirely suffices, containing as it does a draft of all the salvation-acts of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It is the blessed privilege of the believer—no matter how great a failure he feels himself to be (provided he is sincere in mourning his failures and honest in his endeavors to please his Lord)— to remind himself that he is approaching One in covenant relationship with him, yea, to plead that covenant before Him. David—despite all his falls—acknowledged “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure” [2 Samuel 23:5], and so may the reader if he grieves over sins as David did, confesses them as contritely, and has the same pantings of heart after holiness.
It makes a world of difference in our praying when we can “take hold of God’s covenant,” assured of our personal interest in it. When we plead the fulfillment of covenant promises [Jeremiah 32:40, 41; Hebrews 10:16, 17], for example, we present a reason God will not reject, for He cannot deny Himself.”
– A.W. Pink