Reference: Romans 8:16-17
It is not uncommon for a pastor to have someone come to them with a problem that goes something like this: “Pastor, I believe the Bible, I confess my sins, I look to Jesus, and I believe in the doctrine of election. But I’m just not able to be sure that I am one of the elect.”
Satan works hard at troubling believers in their faith by sowing seeds of doubt. We are dealing with questions of faith and of assurance concerning that faith. How can I be sure? In this earthly life, temptations will always exist. Persistent questions and doubts may plague Christians for years.
But here’s the real question: are you attempting to find the answer to your questions within yourself? Are you looking for something you have discovered or accomplished that enables you to say, “Now that tells me I am saved”? If so, you are looking in the wrong place, and an honest look will certainly cause you to doubt. Who we are, what we think, and what we have done will always fall short and give us cause for doubt.
That is exactly where the Heidelberg Catechism is so precious. In this first question and answer, we have been presented with a clear, Scripture-based explanation that our salvation is all accomplished by God. That’s our comfort.
But it gets even better. We receive even more comfort, because God accomplishes more than just the act of salvation. Our trust and faith in that salvation–what you believe about your salvation–is also fully accomplished by God.
We have noted the gift of the Holy Spirit. As we go on to note what the Holy Spirit does specifically, we come to these words: “He also assures me of eternal life.”
It’s what we believe and what we confess: the Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life.
The work of faith by the Holy Spirit
We are discussing faith. Faith is believing in the hope of the Gospel. Faith has to do with the message revealed; what we believe is important. There exists a connection with hearing and learning the word of God. Faith also involves an expression of belief. Heidelberg Catechism Q&A #21 puts it this way: faith means we have “a hearty trust.” Faith means conviction lives in your heart.
How does anyone get to that conviction? Indeed, some claim you cannot have conviction.
Next week: The Holy Spirit’s Involvement
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.