SECRET DOUBTERS- helps for
In the matter of the knowledge of salvation, there are three great classes of religious doubters.
Those that think it right to be in uncertainty about their future.
Those who believe it is possible to be sure, yet confess openly that they have no assurance.
Those who have serious doubts about their acceptance, though they hide that from the view of others.
To the first class, that is, those who adopt uncertainty as part of their creed, we have little to say. That which God would make known to “every creature,” they would erringly seal up under the title of “unknowable.” This is being purposefully ignorant!
“Now for the Great Secret,” (referring to what comes after death) said a dying businessman with emptiness, to his sad family, as they stood round his bed. “Great Secret??!!” when God has plainly said “that ye may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). “Great Secret!” when “BE IT KNOWN unto you” (Acts 13:38) is heard ringing, clear and unmistakable, from the lips of an ambassador specially commissioned by the Lord of glory for this ministry!
Should such a doubting person read these pages, we would lovingly and strongly remind him that human opinions, when they contradict the word of God, are worse than nothing, and in the end will be exposed. Man is an important being in his own eyes; but death has to be faced, yet “in that very day his thoughts will perish.”
This perishing though, is not the case regarding the truth of the gospel. “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet. 2:25).
Between the next two classes there is one main difference. In the one case, the lack of the comfort of divine assurance is openly and unhesitatingly confessed. In the other, although the comfort is lacking, the lips are simply sealed. Such souls seem to consider it orthodox and right to say that they have a doubt. After all, if they ever confess that they are sure of salvation, what would their fellow-believers think if they later said otherwise?
Besides, they once had some plain verses of Scripture pointed out to them as the ground of their assurance; and, like a mollusk clings to the reef or to the rock, for dear life they tenaciously hold on to them. For example, they have the “SHALL NOT come into condemnation” of John 5:24; the “ARE justified from all things” of Acts 13:39; the “HATH everlasting life” of John 3:36: and we gratefully thank God with them that they have such unfailing assurance to fall back upon. But, at the same time, there is a good deal of inward struggle, which, if it were expressed on the lip, would certainly not sound like having the “full assurance of faith.” Such souls have almost to argue themselves into confessing that they are forgiven, because, in their honest judgment, they sense or feel most perplexing evidences to the contrary.
Now, the secret of all such inward restlessness lies in the lack of understanding by the soul (whatever the head may know about it) that salvation is entirely on the ground of GRACE. In multitudes of cases, there is a secret clinging to the thoughts and ideas of merit. Not natural merit, perhaps, but merit notwithstanding—merit produced in them by the Holy Spirit. If they could only discover in themselves such longed-for merit they would rest satisfied; not finding it, they are, at best, discomforted. What they see in the Scriptures would make them quite sure, if it were not that some lack in themselves makes them doubt.
Now, such souls have not yet fully seen that the believer's goodness, even if he could reach the standard he aims at, could not merit God's blessing nor standards.
On the other hand, all the discovered and confessed badness he may find in himself could not forfeit blessing either. If there were, that would mean there is a limit to the abounding grace of “the God of all grace,” ...ie....if my badness were so great as to shut me out of blessing.... it would not be grace at all, if my goodness could bring me into it. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). The apostle could say of himself, after speaking of his blasphemous, persecuting, overbearing, Christ-hating life, “But the grace of our Lord surpassingly over-abounded” (2 Tim. 1:14).
If it was my badness that made Christ's death an absolute necessity, it was by the grace of God He tasted that death for me (Heb. 2:9).
If, therefore, my badness has been the occasion for the expression of His grace through Christ, my badness cannot, at the same time, be the means of shutting me out of the blessing.
We would ask any secret doubter to consider, prayerfully, the two following questions:—
1st. Is God righteously satisfied with the giving up of the life of His own Son as a ransom?
2nd. Are you so satisfied with the work accomplished that you cannot help desiring as your Savior the blessed One who accomplished it?
Again we ask, Is not GOD satisfied? Never mind your own feelings about it—they are but of small account at best. Is GOD satisfied? Has He not raised and glorified Jesus on that very ground? He has, blessed be God, He has! Read the assurance of this in the words which fell from the Lord's own lips “ If God be glorified in him , God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him” (John 13:32).
All God's righteous requirements having been met, and, still more, His holy name glorified in the meeting of them (John 17:4), He is now, through the merit of Christ, free to gratify His own heart. He can bless the very chief of sinners and bless him righteously . Grace reigns, “ through righteousness .” That is, the sinner can be righteously blessed through grace, because grace has found One who was equal to the work of becoming righteously answerable for his sins.
Looking at Christ's cross, and at His crowns of glory, we can say, It is all of God's righteousness ; looking at ourselves, we can say, It is all of His grace .
“By grace are ye saved” (Eph. 2:8).
“We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ” (Eph. 1:7).
Nor has grace done with us when our souls are redeemed and our sins forgiven, for “in the ages to come” He will show “ the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
Can you not say, despite all your unworthiness and all Satan's schemes to hide the truth from you, that God is so satisfied with Christ that He has crowned Him with glory and honor; and you so need Him, that you could not do without Him?
1) A glorified Savior and 2) a heart that cannot do without Him, are arguments which utterly confound the foe, and drive him away without another word. May some troubled reader so learn to overcome.
George Cutting - public domain
(lightly edited gg)