Thursday, May 17, 2012
The Vision (5/17/12): Am I really a Christian? (Continued)
Am I really a Christian? Answering Eight Doubts (Continued)
Simplified and Abridged from Thomas Boston
Note: In his spiritual classic “Human Nature In Its Fourfold State,” the Scottish minister Thomas Boston (1676-1732) lists eight “cases” where a true Christian might have spiritual doubts about the authenticity of his faith. Here is the eighth and final of the eight doubts:
Eighth Doubt: The struggles I have are strange or unusual. I doubt that a child of God has ever faced the kind of providential trials I am facing.
Answer: Much of what was previously said (see Doubt Seven) applies here also. Holy Job was assaulted with this temptation (see Job 5:1), but he rejected it and held fast. The apostle Peter says that Christians may be tempted “to think it strange concerning the fiery trial” (1 Peter 4:12).
Sometimes we travel on paths where we can see the footprints of neither man nor beast. We cannot conclude from this, however, that no one has ever gone this way before us. Though you cannot see the footsteps of the flock in the way of your affliction, you must not conclude that you are the first to ever walk that road. But what if you were the first to walk that way? Some saint or other must be first in drinking from each bitter cup. Who are we to question the providential circumstances God has given us? “Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in great waters; and thy footsteps are not known” (Psalm 77:19). If the Lord should carry you to heaven by some remote road, so to speak, you would have no reason to complain. We must learn to allow proper latitude for God’s sovereignty. Do your duty. Do not let any difficulty you face hide from you the fact that you are in a state of grace. As Solomon said, “no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them” (Ecclesiastes 9:1).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle