Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Friday, November 30, 2018
The Vision (11.30.18): The Practical Syllogism
Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 15:8-15. Herein is my Father
glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:8).
Here is a simple Biblical test of assurance: Am I bearing
spiritual fruit so that the Father is glorified in me? If I am bearing this
fruit and the Father is glorified in me, then I give evidence that I am truly
Some of the Reformation and Puritan Fathers used verses like
this in discussions related to assurance of salvation: How do I know that I’m a
They developed what is known as the syllogismus practicus or “practical syllogism,” based on the
logical deduction that a conclusion could be drawn from an action (see Joel R.
Beeke, The Quest for Full Assurance
[Banner of Truth, 1999]). So, the practical syllogism would go something like
Major premise: Only
those who do x are saved.
Minor premise: I do x.
I am saved.
Alongside this practical syllogism, some also developed what
was called the “mystical syllogism”:
Major premise: Those
who are saved have an inward confirmation of their salvation by the work of the
Minor premise: I have
this inward work confirmation of the Holy Spirit.
I am saved.
We see here in this verse and in some of the other teachings
in these upper room discourses the Biblical basis for the practical syllogism.
But we need to be careful, because we know that such tests can be wrongly used
to convey false assurance (cf. Matt 7:21-23). One can say, I must be a
Christian, because I pray, I attend services, I read the Bible, I serve others,
etc. And it can all be a load of false assurance and works righteousness.
The thing that cannot be overlooked is the stress on abiding
in Christ. How do we know we are truly in Christ? We abide or remain in him, because
without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). The Lord Jesus taught in Matthew
24:13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”