>Blessed Assurance. Nine Marks of Assurance.

>Taken from this Tim Conway sermon Assurance and the Glory of Sonship.

1. A child of God experiences Spirit led triumph with sin.
This is not some do and some don’t. It’s not just the ideal, but nobody, or very few attain it. But rather it is all who are led by the Spirit are Sons of God.

Rom 8:14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” and the preceding verse: v13“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.Note: Die and Live here denotes eternal Hell, and eternal Life.
If you don’t put to death the deeds of the body you will be in Hell, if you do then it is evidence that you are led by the Spirit.

Children of God are led by the Spirit to the place where they do actually resist sin, detest sin, grieve over sin, fight with sin, and actually triumph over sin. Not just once or twice, but it is the ongoing experience of a true Christian.

If one of the main reasons you want to go to Heaven is because the thought of being rid of sin forever fills you with elation then you are my brother in Christ, you are a child of God.
Now if you only want Heaven, because you’re afraid of Hell, I’m afraid you’re going to Hell.

2. A child of God experiences what few others experiences.
Jesus said “narrow is the way that leads to life and there are few that find it.” When the Spirit of God leads God’s people into Holiness and Righteousness away from the muck and filth of sin, it results in experiences that the majority of people do not experience. You won’t be like everyone else. You will not even be like most professing Christians, because remember in that day many. And so what happens is when you are being led this way by the Spirit, you will have many others look at you and think that you are narrow, legalistic, overboard, excessive, strange, even cultic and a whole host of other choice descriptions. But you just remember this: only few are led this way, so you will be an oddity. Only ‘few’, so don’t be surprised if most others, even professing Christians aren’t overly infused about the path the Holy Spirit is leading you on. Beware when everyone applauds you. You are in a much safer position when they all look at you and say ‘you are strange’, ‘you’ve gone overboard,’ ‘you are cultic’.

Jesus said “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” If people don’t recognize that you are odd, then you should be afraid. When the world can look at you and say ‘you’re just like us,’ shake and tremble, because destruction is in front of you. The Spirit of God always makes those few on the way look bizarre and ridiculous to the rest of the world.

3. A Child of God experiences what he at one time did not experience.
This is key and really critical. Children of God were not always Children of God. Eph 2 says You were once children of wrath, but you’re not anymore. Peter said it like this “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;”. 1 Pet 2:10

Here’s the thing: If only the Children of God are led by the Spirit of God and one time I wasn’t a child of God, I was a child of wrath. Then it was true of my life when I was a child of wrath that the Spirit of God did not lead me out of sin. At one time as Eph 2 says “you were dead in trespasses and sins,” you wallowed in it, you drank it, but when you become a child of God, the Spirit of God leads you out of that.

Here’s the point: If you are a true child of God, you will have an experience in your life where at one time you were in sin, you looked to Christ, and you came away from that, now being led by the Spirit away from sin.This is so key because it’s Biblical. I can remember a conversation, with a man who told me “my brother was a crack addict, and he died of a crack overdose, but I know he was a Christian”. Somebody recently told me ‘I ran in sin as a teenager, but I know I was saved.’ I’ve had people look at me and say “I know the fruits of life are not in my life, but I know I’m a Christian’. How do you know? The very evidence isn’t there. If you do that you make yourself like those people who are going to find out “in that day”, that they’re not true.

Look! If you have just always been a good old boy, just a nice guy, nothings really ever changed in your life, then don’t assume you are saved, because the Christian life, is a life where we are saved from what we used to be. I realize it’s different with different people. The depth of sin children who are saved at a very young age are saved out of, will be shallower, just because of their shallow years. But I’m telling you this: Paul says this! If you are in Christ, you are a new creation in Christ. Old things are passed away, all things become new. Look if you don’t have a testimony in your life that says ‘I was like that. I looked at Christ and now the Spirit of God is leading me in a direction I did not go in before’, then you’re in trouble.

Don’t just believe you are a Christian because ‘something happened’, when that something didn’t involve a change in your relationship to sin.

4. Your Experience is totally contrary to the Romans 7 experience. See Romans 7 by Charles Leiter. and Romans 7- and the Dangerous ‘Wretched Christian’ View.

You need to see this, because Romans 7 is in context with Romans 8. It’s a whole argument. What these verses in Romans 8:14-17 are dealing with is assurance that you might know that glorification is yours and be certain that you’re going to persevere to the end. The indication is being led away from sin. The guy in Romans 7 is ‘of the flesh,’ ‘sold under sin’, and practicing the evil that he doesn’t want to do, and he is a ‘wretched man’. Our assurance does not come from that life, but when we see that by the Spirit, we are being led in a direction away from sin, killing sin, into Holiness, into righteousness. It is no wonder that in the circles where they most heavily press that that wretched man is a Christian, are the very circles where assurance is most lacking.

5. You experience this leading even when others aren’t watching.
Now this is critical because the Spirit of God leads his people all the time. Do you see the difference between the moral man and the Christian? Christ describes the ones who sought morality. They did things for others to see them. They prayed to be seen, they gave to be seen. If you’re led by the Spirit of God then you’re led when no one is watching. You’re led in the mind where no one can see. You’re led when no one can see. All I ask you is why do you do what you do? How is it with you and the Spirit in the lonely place?

6. You experience this with regards to every sin.
Again, this is where we can compare the moralist and the legalist with the true Christian. There are people who run around pretty outwardly moral, but that doesn’t mean they’re a Christian. Jesus Christ said, you’ve got to surrender all. He said “unless you forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciple.” The Spirit of God leads us into total submission to the Lordship of Christ. One thing you’ve got to look at in your life is, is it possible for you to harbour sin? Certain sins? Is that possible? Listen. It’s one thing to clean up your life in a few places, but let me ask you this: Have you experienced since you’ve professed to be a Christian, the fact that the Holy Spirit will never let you for long, hold dearly to an idol? Do you know the experience of Him coming on a regular basis and plucking those idols? Listen! If you can maintain some illicit relationship that you know Christ is not pleased with, though you come in the church, if you don’t lay everything down including your money, if you’ve got some little part of your life that you can keep reserved and away from the clutch of the Master, and the Spirit never comes around and lays you low for it then you’re not a child of God.

7. You experience this by way of the Word of God.
Jesus Christ said “You’ll know that you are My disciples if My Word abides in you.” How do I know the path of righteousness away from sin? How do I even know what sin is? I know it from the Word of God. The Spirit of God leads people in the Word of God, and Peter tells us that there will be a desire in every child of God for the Word of God. Now listen, if you are seldom in the Word of God, you have no desire to read it, you have to force yourself sometimes, it’s not very enjoyable, you don’t find it being your daily food, then it’s very suspect whether you are a Christian.

8. You experience this with joy.
Now that’s critical because in so much of the religious world you have people putting forth sweat to do the things they don’t like to do, and to resist doing the things that they really do want to do. 1 John says it is not grievous for the Christian to keep the Commandments. David delighted in them, not just reading them, but he did them. That’s the problem with the Romans 7 guy, he didn’t do them, he practiced evil all the time.

9. You experience this beholding Christ.
2 Cor 3:18 says that as we look at Christ, degree by degree we are conformed into His image. Is Christ constantly in your gaze? Do you long for Heaven as much because you’re going to be rid of sin, because Christ is going to be there. Look, if you’re not in the Word of God regularly and you’re not gazing upon Christ regularly, and that’s where the Spirit of God leads His people. If Christ isn’t regularly in your thoughts, in your mind, in your life then you’re in trouble. The Spirit of God came into this world to glorify Jesus Christ, and in this He leads us to gaze on the Glory of the Son of God. If He’s not leading you there regularly, constantly, frequently, daily, continuously, then go back and start your hunt for religion all over again. Go back there and gaze on Him until the assurance comes, until the assurance is given.

Listen to Tom Conway’s Four part Series on True Biblical Assurance:
(Click in blue links to play (or right-click/save-as to download mp3)
1. Six Questions Answered on Assurance -42 min
2. Assurance & the Evidence of Being Lead by the Spirit -53 min
3. Assurance and the Glory of Sonship -51 min
4. Four Reasons Assurance is Necessary -53 min