Chapter 44 - Perseverance and Assurance
The new life the Spirit begins in us, He continues to eternity. John 6:39-40; 10:27-29 show the future and present reality of this new life, and that no one can take people out of God's hand. Romans 8 says nothing can separate us from God. Phil. 1:6; Eph. 1:13-14 and 1 Pet. 1:5 are also important assertions of this truth. Yet people do turn away from following Jesus (Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Cor. 11:15, 26; John 15:1-2, 6; Heb. 6:4-8). If they were true believers before, it would deny the truth of the verses above. No, perseverance is given those who possess faith, not to any who profess faith, while not having the real thing.
God wants us assured of our salvation, just as He wants us holy: we struggle to have it more or less in this life, and it won't be perfect until glory, but should strive for it now.
Westminster gives three grounds for our assurance:
- The objective promises of God found in Scripture for our salvation when we trust Christ.
- The inward evidence of change in us - not the removal of sin but fighting it &growing in grace.
- The testimony of the Spirit to us (Romans 8:16-17).
These three fit with our justification, sanctification, and adoption, and fit on Frame's tri-perspectival triangle in the normative, situational, and existential categories.
The confessions differ in relating assurance to faith. Heidelberg stresses that assurance is inherent to faith. If you trust Christ, by that very trust you are assured He will save. Westminster takes a different approach: perfect assurance isn't inherent to faith - you can have faith without perfect assurance. The main point: "If we believe in Christ we have assurance in our heart; but that assurance can be weakened by sin" (1007).
Chapter 45 - Glorification
We glorify God when we image His holiness and perfections in our lives.
It would seem we cannot add to God's glory since it is infinte, but God wants us to and we can.
In one sense, we have glory already (Psalm 8:5). 2 Cor. 3:18 connects the present glory with future glory.
Scripture talks much about our future glory, especially with resurrected bodies controlled by the Spirit. Also, a crown awaits us (1 Peter 5:4).
When 2 Peter 1:4 says we become partakers of the divine nature, this doesn't mean metaphysically joining with God, blurring the Creator-creature distinction, but sharing ethcially in God's holiness and glory.
The purpose of redemption is our fellowship and glory with God in Christ.
We'll talk more about this in the last section on heaven.