Feb 7, 2010

The Assurance of Faith by Robert Hawker

The Assurance of Faith by Robert Hawker
[the titles have been derived from the content]

We rejoice in hope of the glory of GOD
But we must not stop here. Paul saith also, that we rejoice in hope of the glory of GOD. This is a third blessed effect springing out of a justified state before GOD in CHRIST. And I beg the Reader to consider the vast importance of this high privilege. Paul himself elsewhere calls it blessed. Speaking to Titus, he saith, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great GOD, and our SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, Titus 2:13. But it could not be blessed if it was not sure. If any guilt remained on the conscience, fear would damp the hope. Hence the justification here described by the Apostle, is considered by him as full, perfect, and complete. We have peace with GOD. We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand. And in consequence we rejoice in hope of the glory of GOD, that glory which shall be revealed. When CHRIST, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory. See those scriptures, Leviticus 16:21; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 8:1-39; Daniel 9:24; 2 Thessalonians 1:10. [from his commentary on Romans 5]

Trusting in GOD the FATHER’S covenant-love
I beg the Reader to notice with me, what a sweet, and gracious frame of mind, the Apostle was in, when he wrote this Chapter. If it be asked, what gave it him? The answer is direct: none but GOD the SPIRIT, whose great work is consolation, could have imparted it. And in proof, let the Reader observe, how confidently the Apostle speaks, of having received mercy. It was not a matter of doubt or question with Paul, whether he stood before GOD in a justified state, or not. Had it been so, he would have fainted at times, as those men do, who make justification a variable, or uncertain thing. For, as long as this is questionable in the mind and conscience; there will be no settled, steady, firm state, of trusting in GOD the FATHER’S covenant-love, and CHRIST’S all-sufficient merit, blood, and righteousness. But when a soul is conscious he hath received mercy, all cause for fainting ceaseth.

As this point is of immense consequence, in the life of every truly regenerated child of GOD, I would beg the Reader's patient attention to it, while, from Paul's example, in this place I take occasion to shew, the ground-work, and assurance, on which it is founded. I am not to be told, that the great mass, even of those who profess all the leading truths of the Gospel, are but too much living in a state of doubt, and suspense, on this most sweet, and precious point of faith. But this is from the weakness, and deficiency of their faith; and not from any defect in the principle itself. The faith of GOD’S people is supposed by the Gospel, to be a life of trust, assurance, and confirmation. The Prophet, ages before the coming of CHRIST, declared, that the work of righteousness (CHRIST’S righteousness) shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever, Isaiah 32: l7. And to this purport, the promise runs along with it, and keeps pace together. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee, Isaiah 26:3. If, therefore, there remained any uncertainty, in respect to the justified state of a child of GOD, whom GOD by sovereign grace hath called, with an holy calling; those blessed Scriptures lose their power. That man cannot be said to have quietness, and assurance for ever, as an, effect of his interest in, and dependence upon, the righteousness of the LORD JESUS CHRIST; while the shadow of a doubt remains in his mind, whether he hath received pardon, mercy, and peace, in the blood of the cross, and is justified by faith, throughout [through the] LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Now the ground-work, on which the child of GOD, truly taught of GOD, rests his full assurance of faith, and which keeps him, as Paul saith he was kept, from fainting, is the heart-felt conviction, that CHRIST, when he stood forth the Surety of his Church and people, truly, as the Prophet said of him, finished the transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in an everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9:24. In all that high transaction, CHRIST acted as his peoples' Sponsor, and Surety; and therefore, not an atom of guilt, either original, or actual, was left unatoned, on his peoples' conscience. Now then, if I, or you, or any and every child of GOD, whom GOD hath effectually called by grace, believe the record, which GOD hath given of his dear SON, namely, that GOD hath given eternal life to his whole body the Church, in his dear SON; and that, by virtue of the infinite value and preciousness of his righteousness and blood-shedding, they are justified from all things; how is it possible that there can be any suspense, doubt, or misgiving, on this grand assurance, of the redeemed child of GOD’s hope? Reader! do look, again and again, at the blessed frame of mind Paul was in, and which wholly arose from this one cause: and recollect, that this high privilege, was not Paul's privilege only; but the whole Church of GOD are equally begotten to it, and equally entitled to it, with the Apostle; because it ariseth not from any merit, or services in Paul, but the sole gift of GOD in CHRIST. Oh! my Brother! if like the Apostle, you would faint not, at any, and all the exercises, to which the LORD shall be pleased to call you; see to it, that Paul's testimony is yours. As we have received mercy, we faint not. [from his commentary on 2 Corinthians 4]

I thank my GOD, he saith. Right and property in GOD, as a Covenant GOD in CHRIST, is the only solid foundation for the assurance of faith. [from his commentary on Philippians 1]

Oh! for grace, until this great day of my GOD shall come, to love thee, and to live to thee, and to hail thy wonderous name! LORD! be thou my portion day by day, that by faith in this blessed hope, I may now live, and at length, in the full assurance of glory, die, and be one with thee for ever! [from his commentary on Colossians 1]

Enjoying the love-tokens of GOD in CHRIST
If we believe not yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Reader! cherish the blessed assurance, for it is most blessed. GOD’S faithfulness doth not depend upon man's belief. His yea, and Amen, are founded in himself, and not in our improvement. It is indeed blessed-and refreshing to the soul, when a regenerated child of GOD enjoys those love-tokens of GOD in CHRIST, by the lively actings of faith upon him. But the LORD’S grace is not founded in human merit; and therefore depends not upon human improvement. Oh! the preciousness of an unchangeable GOD’s purposes in CHRIST. Jeremiah 32:40 Hebrews 6:16, to the end. [from his commentary on 2 Timothy 2]

Look to GOD the SPIRIT
Every one that is born again (and it is to such only that assurance is given) hath in him the testimony of GOD the FATHER’s electing love; CHRIST’S redeeming grace, and the HOLY GHOST's sovereign work upon their souls. And all that are thus born again, are infallibly secured from finally falling. And it is awful, in any one, to call it unscriptural, and highly dangerous, to question concerning such, their final perseverance, or to withhold from them the LORD’S assurance, when the LORD himself hath commanded concerning them saying; Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people, saith your GOD. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her: that her warfare is accomplished: that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand; (and so she hath, in the Personal sufferings, and death of her Head, and Husband, and Surety,) double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1,2. Reader! do you look to GOD the SPIRIT, for the testimonies and evidences, of the new-birth. And if through grace, you discern the precious marks, of the LORD the SPIRIT’S regenerating work, upon your soul; listen to the same Almighty Teacher's own witness, to your sonship in GOD, and your redemption by CHRIST, against an host of self-righteous, and self-taught men! Romans 8:16, 17. 2 Corinthians 5:5. [from his commentary on Titus 2]

When faith begins her triumphs
Let us observe what is first said: Wherein GOD willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsels, confirmed it by an oath. Pause, Reader! Think of GOD the FATHER'S love, in this gracious, wonderful condescension. Was it not enough, in our GOD and FATHER, to choose the Church in CHRIST before the foundation of the world, to be holy, and without blame before him in love; to adopt the several members of CHRIST’S body to himself, as children in CHRIST JESUS: Ephesians 1:4-6, to present them to CHRIST: John 7:2, to accept them in CHRIST: to redeem them by CHRIST: to regenerate them by his HOLY SPIRIT; and to give them the assurance of eternal life. I say, was it not enough for, that GOD, who cannot lie, to manifest, by such rich, free, and unmerited promises, his love of the Church in CHRIST; but as if consulting the weakness, and infirmity of our faith, hath confirmed the whole by an oath? Well may we exclaim with the Apostle: Behold! what manner of love the FATHER hath bestowed upon us? 1 John 3:1. Reader! do not overlook this fatherly love of GOD. Here it is at this great bottom, on which the whole super-structure of the Church in CHRIST rests; faith begins her triumphs! [from his commentary on Hebrews 6]

Look for him by faith in the full assurance of his salvation
Nothing can be more satisfactory than the conviction, that CHRIST, as our great Covenant Head and Surety, hath passed into heaven itself, and is there as our Representative. So that in fact, we are there with him. So saith the HOLY GHOST by Paul, Ephesians 2:5-6. And this entrance into heaven, and sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, not only manifests the everlasting safety of his people, but also proves the perfection of his obedience and sacrifice. He needed not as those high priests, a remembrance again of sin every year. CHRIST’S one offering of himself once offered, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. And it is this which every regenerated child of GOD is to plead before the throne continually; for it answers the whole demand of the law, silenceth all the accusations of Satan; is a satisfying reply to the alarms of conscience; and forms a full receipt to all the claims of justice. And what a blessed conclusion is made of the whole chapter. As death is the just sentence pronounced by the LORD on sin; and all men must partake of it naturally; so CHRIST by his death, took away the penal effects of death, in the spiritual and everlasting dominion of it, for all his people, and to them that look for him by faith in the full assurance of his salvation; he will assuredly appear again to call home his redeemed to himself; when he will personally come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all that believe! [From his commentary on Hebrews 9]

The enjoyment of our union in Christ
The personal enjoyment each child of GOD hath, of his union in CHRIST, and interest with CHRIST, becomes another testimony, in the experience of the faithful. For amidst all the coldness and weakness of the LORD’s people, in the present low estate of the Church; still the LORD hath not left himself without witness, that he hath a seed that serve him, and which are counted to the LORD for a generation. There are seasons, in which JESUS doth manifest himself to his people otherwise than he doth to the world. They see him in his suitableness, in his all-sufficiency. They have bread to eat, which the world knoweth not of. And the LORD sometimes comes so near in the manifestations of his love and favor, that they smell the sweet savor of his name, and feel a joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls. [from his commentary on Hebrews 11]

The Faith of God's people
The consciousness of the love of JESUS, and, as Paul saith, the assurance, that JESUS loved me, and gave himself for me, even when matters in ourselves are most dark, and discouraging; these lift up the souls of the faithful above, all the things of time and sense, and induce a wise indifference to the mere dying circumstances around, in the blessed prospect of that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD. Reader! Is this the faith of GOD'S people? And is it your faith also? [from his commentary on Hebrews 11]

And, dearest JESUS! may not all thy redeemed behold thee, waiting with delight for employment in that high character of thine, our Advocate, for all thy people, since thou hast already acted as their propitiation, and made complete satisfaction for them in thy blood? Do thou, LORD, then, take up every cause, and plead in thine own infinite merits, and death, for every one of thine, against all the accusations of Satan, the demands of GOD'S law and justice, and all the fears and misgivings of unbelief, and our own guilty consciences! Oh! the blessedness of the assurance, JESUS can and will save to the uttermost all that come to GOD by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them!

Hail! no less thou HOLY and Eternal SPIRIT! It is from thee cometh that unction, by which thy people know all things. Oh! for grace from GOD, to believe in GOD, and to continue in the FATHER, and in the SON, in the full assurance of the promise of eternal life! [from his commentary on 1 John 2]

Hence, whosoever hath these blessed views concerning CHRIST and his Church, and from the heart led by divine teaching is thus made acquainted with CHRIST, and believeth that JESUS is the CHRIST, this man hath the SPIRIT bearing witness with his spirit, that he is born of GOD. [from his commentary on 1 John 5]

Let no man take thy crown
For the LORD saith, let no man take thy crown. The heavenly crown cannot be supposed as meant, for who in heaven of the ungodly shall be there to take it. But it means the faith of assurance here below, Hold that fast, saith CHRIST, which thou hast; meaning your consciousness, that it is yours, in CHRIST. Faith gives present right, though not present possession. It becomes a reversionary interest, perfectly sure, and perfectly certain, after death, Faith, therefore, looks at it as such, and grasps it, as certain, as the heir of an inheritance, when he shall attain his majority, and is GOD out of his nonage. Reader! what saith your experience to these things? If the LORD the SPIRIT hath regenerated you from the Adam-nature of the fall, in that new birth; you are begotten to this lively hope by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead to this inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. The thing is certain, and the interpretation sure. Oh! the unspeakable mercy! There is no suspense, no doubt, no peradventures. A regenerated child of GOD, is in no uncertainty, as to the final issue. If CHRIST and his righteousness be mine now, it will be then, and then for ever! [from his commentary on Revelation 3]

Precious LORD JESUS! Give me with the eye of faith, unceasingly to behold thee, in this most blessed view, and let my soul be warmed continually, with the conscious assurance, that I have redemption in thy blood. Then shall I centre all my confidence in the LORD, who is in the centre of the throne for his people. [from his commentary on Revelation 5]

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