“Every true Christian should enjoy the reality of his or her salvation. Not to have that assurance is to live in doubt, fear, and a unique form of misery and spiritual depression”
This weekend I’ll be preaching on Christian assurance of salvation. While reflecting on the topic, I remembered we had a copy of John MacArthur’s Saved Without a Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation tucked away somewhere (I think we had acquired it as an e-book a few years ago when it was being offered for free). This seemed like a good time to read it.
The book is comprised of nine chapters, divided into three parts.
Part 1 is called “Is it a done deal?” and deals with the lasting nature of salvation. Chapter 1 talks about how all three members of the Trinity are involved in salvation. Chapter 2 deals with “troubling passages” that seem to suggest you can lose your salvation. Chapter 3 is an exposition of Romans 5:1-11 laying out the security of salvation. Chapter 4 dwells on Romans 8:28-30 and the glory of God.
Part 2 asks the question “Is it real?”. Chapter 5 is the only chapter in this section, and lays out 11 “tests” that a believer can use to assure themselves of salvation. These 11 items are all drawn out of 1 John.
Part 3 asks “Is it something I can feel?” Chapter 6 deals with doubt and lays out eight reasons a Christian may lack assurance. Chapter 7 deals with the piling up of virtues, while working through parts of 2 Peter. Chapter 8 is on victory, and lays out practical steps for establishing a pattern of victory in your life (and thereby experiencing the resulting assurance). Chapter 9 is on perseverance.
The back of the book includes a discussion guide and study questions by chapter which can be used for a small group meeting/Bible study.
Impressions and Comments
The points made throughout the book rely heavily on Scripture, and all verses are quoted in full, making the book readable without having to stop and look things up every other sentence. There are a few personal anecdotes as well.
Greek words are occasionally mentioned and explained. I got the impression that the book was a compilation of sermons edited together (which isn’t a bad thing).
The book is written from a Calvinist perspective, so the author takes the stance that people who “fall away” didn’t really have saving faith to begin with.
I read this book as part of sermon preparation for a message on Christian Assurance. I had already covered many things he had mentioned, and was able to jot down several more Scripture references and few more ideas that I had missed. So over all, it was a helpful read, and I ended up feeling more assured of my salvation when I was done reading it!
I’m claiming this as a Christian Living/Ministry book for my 2017 reading goals.