Blessed Assurance: How to Know That You Are Saved
Publisher (Date): Eric Douglas (2014)
Length: 52 pages
I was given a copy of this book by the author free of charge in return for an honest review. I figured I’d put that out there first to be entirely upright and transparent. Now, on to the content.
This is a simple book. Eric has a very simple thesis. Because so many people wonder what it means to be truly saved, he wants to lay it out for all of us. He wants to use Biblical proof mainly through the book of 1 John to demonstrate that there are three main evidences of salvation.
- The Upward Test
- The Outward Test
- The Inward Test
The Upward Test refers to our faith. Basically, Douglas sums this one up as taking God at His word. Do we really believe that God will come through? Do we really trust Him? Being an apologist, Douglas does not encourage a blind faith, but he makes the point that we should focus on the nature of God, the promise of God and the work of God. The three things can help confirm our faith in God and help establish the basis of why we have that faith. The faith does need to be there though. That is step one.
The Outward Test refers to how we are new creations in Christ. This is obviously a controversial one because it can often times feel an awful lot like works-based salvation. Douglas is very careful to differentiate that our works should come as a result of our salvation; they do not bring about our salvation. That might seem subtle and insignificant, but it is a very theologically important point. He acknowledges that we might still sin, but through the grace of God, we should begin to see our character transform and become more like Jesus Christ. Perfection is impossible, but improvement is certainly to be expected.
Finally, there is The Inward Test. This one is perhaps the most personal and most difficult to objectively evaluate. Through having the Holy Spirit within us, we should have some kind of confidence that we are saved. This is not to say that we will not doubt, but it does say that we will have some kind of internal connection with the Holy Spirit that might transcend understanding at times but is nevertheless something we can experience. In my opinion, this is kind of like having a relationship with another person. I cannot objectively tell you that our relationship is measurably strong, but I can tell that there is a friendship there. That is kind of what I feel like Douglas is getting at here.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. He made his points, backed them up with the Bible and stayed on topic which is critically important in such a short book. I also thought that is a very sensitive topic, and he discussed it thoughtfully. I know that some people could disagree with his conclusions on salvation and what is necessary for salvation, but he made a very strong case for his perspective. He bought everything back to the Bible which is how we ought to approach these topics.
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to think a little bit more deeply about this thing that we call salvation and how we can tell if we truly are saved.