Perkins On Assurance as Belonging to the Essence of True Faith

True faith is both an infallible assurance, and a particular assurance of the remission of sins, and of life everlasting. And therefore by this faith, a man may be certainly and particularly assured of the remission of sins, and life everlasting...

Paul says of Abraham that he did not doubt the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, and gave glory to God being fully assured, that he which promised was able to do it, where I observe first that doubting is made a fruit of unbelief. Therefore, infallible certainty and assurance, being contrary to doubting, must proceed from true faith, considering that contrary effects come of contrary causes, and contrary causes produce contrary effects.

Second, I note, that the strength of Abraham's faith, did stand in fullness of assurance; for the text says, he was strengthened in the faith, being fully assured. And again, Heb 11:1, true saving faith is said to be the ground and substance of things hoped for, and the evidence or demonstration of thing that are not seen. But faith can be no ground or evidence of things, unless it be for nature certainty itself...

That saving faith is a particular assurance is proved by this, that the property of faith is to apprehend and apply the promise, and the thing promised, Christ with his benefits...In these words, to believe in Christ, and to receive Christ, are put for one and the same thing. Now to receive Christ, is to apprehend and apply him with all his benefits unto ourselves, as he is offered in the promises of the gospel. William Perkins, The Workes: A Reformed Catholike, Vol. I (John Legatt: London, 1616) 564.


  1. I think one of the most tragic things I have seen in reformed christians is when they, who of all people should know better, decide that its better to "err on the side of caution" when it comes to the matter of assurance. True story: One man told me that between being over-assured and under-assured of salvation, over-assurance was more dangerous.

    First of all, its a vague comparison if you don't describe what you mean. Second, some imply by that comparison that failure to find assurance is somehow "safe." And yet, does faith even exist if one fails to believe they can be assured of salvation.

    Yes, we've seen these people abstain from the Lord's Supper even after professing Christ and being warned against denying Him. Yet, they deny him and disassociate with him by these actions.

    I think I've ranted enough.

  2. Hi Mark, I have lots of thoughts on this. I've had the same experiences as you. I was just told by someone that gospel preaching should be rare to ensure that the new birth has "really" occured. In other words, the way to really have assurance is to punch so hard with the law to force some internal experience of regeneration, or to keep people from coming to Christ at all. When faith an assurance are divorced like this, you never really can be sure. You become so morbidly introspective that you forget God sent his son to do something apart from you to be saved from your sins. I think I've ranted enough too. Thanks for the comments.

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