Monday, April 15, 2019

Assured: A Book Review

Am I truly saved?

Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your SalvationWhen I was a child, I prayed "the sinner's prayer" many times wondering if it had really "worked". Truth be told, "Am I saved?" is a good question to ask. After all, Paul encourages his readers to:

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)

The author of Hebrews also warns his readers about falling away from the faith. It was this author who put the fear of God into me a little more than a decade ago as our pastors preached through that book. I was sure that I currently believed that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I wanted to follow him, but I wondered how I could be sure that I would continue to believe. How could I be sure I would never fall away like some of my other friends had over the years? The thought still brings tears to my eyes, but I have far greater assurance these days than I did when these questions first plagued me. Thankfully, my pastors wisely worked through my questions alongside me, directing me to the Word of God where I would find a rock solid foundation for my faith and for assurance of my salvation, but what about those who don't have this luxury?

Greg Gilbert's book, Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your Salvation, addresses some of the same questions that troubled me years ago and then some. Again and again, Gilbert demonstrates how the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the promises of God provide a firm foundation for Christian assurance, "fountainheads from which our sense of certainty of our salvation erupts" (20). Gilbert faithfully unpacks Scripture passages that reveal the role of good works with regard to assurance (including ways we might misuse this tool) and speaks of the witness of the Holy Spirit as the seal of a believer's salvation. Further, Gilbert discusses ways to strengthen assurance or regain it if it's been lost (19).

Truth be told, much of this ground has been covered in previously published titles, but Gilbert also includes a helpful chapter on lies we tend to believe that undermine assurance and another especially encouraging chapter on besetting sins which make this title a unique and valuable contribution to the discussion. Gilbert's writing is accessible, edifying, and utilizes memorable illustrations. I'm happy to commend it to any who find themselves wrestling with this subject or seeking to minister to others who are.

*Many thanks to Baker Books for sending me a complimentary copy of Assured! These are my honest thoughts. I'm praying Assured brings fresh warning and conviction where needed and lead to the peace the surpasses all understanding for those who are trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ for their salvation!

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