This week my book for lay people on assurance of faith, called “Knowing and Growing in Assurance,” finally arrived from Christian Focus. I’ve studied, meditated, and spoken on this subject for 35 years. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on it for Westminster Seminary, and then another book, Quest for Full Assurance, and dozens of articles, but I’ve always wanted to do a book for typical church members—especially for those who struggle with realizing assurance. So, when Christian Focus from Scotland approached me to do just that, I immediately agreed to do so. In this book, after explaining why assurance of faith is important for Christians, and why many Christians lack assurance, I show that assurance is biblical and ought to be normative for Christians, at least to some degree, when they are not backsliding. I then go on to explain how the Holy spirit enables us to lay hold of assurance through God’s promises, inward evidences of grace, and the witnessing testimony of the Holy Spirit. After that, I look at how to cultivate assurance, as well as how we can both lose it and have it renewed. Finally, I take a closer look at the role of the Holy Spirit in assurance as Paul develops it for us in Romans 8 and then answer various questions that people have about assurance.
My prayer is that this book will impact people in a variety of ways: I pray that the strongly assured Christian will have his or her faith strengthened and will be more healthy, fruitful, and joyous, and will assist other Christians by speaking to them about the importance of obtaining assurance of faith. I pray that the weak Christian will cultivate assurance as a result of reading this book prayerfully and will experience that his or her assurance is greatly enlarged by the Spirit’s grace. I pray that nominal Christians and unbelievers will realize what they are missing and will flee to Christ alone for salvation, and learn to find all their righteousness, peace, and hope only in Him.
Since this subject has been so dear to my heart and I have also had the privilege of counseling many people about assurance for more than forty years, I rather nostalgically like to think that it is not by chance that this is also the 100th book I have written or co-authored. Ever since being a teenager I have often felt closest to God when I write, so yes, I am a compulsive writer—and I trust for the souls of others as well—hopefully including yours! Please read this book yourself and provide copies to any Christian you know who struggles with knowing and growing in personal assurance of faith. God bless you.