VII. Whether and whence may we be assured of everlasting life?

It is not only possible, but also our duty to assure ourselves of everlasting life; for it is given to all and only to such as believe. And not only so, but to believe in everlasting life is to be fully persuaded that not only shall others be made partakers of it, but that I am also a partaker of it, which we must observe, and hold fast to in opposition to the distrust and uncertainty of the Papists. We should be certain of our final perseverance; for it is said: “Being justified by faith we have peace with God.” “I give unto them eternal life,” which could not be said if there were any doubt or uncertainty in regard to it, so that it might be lost. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hands.” “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (Rom. 5:1. John 10:28 Rom. 11:20. Phil. 1:6. 2 Tim. 1:12.) He that believes knows that he does believe, which assurance is based upon these solid arguments:

1. God, who is the author of everlasting life is unchangeable.

2. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” (2 Tim. 2:19.)

3. Christ is heard in all those things, which he asks of the Father. Now one thing for which he prays, is that the Father would keep all those whom he has given Him.

4. God will not have us to ask of him those things necessary for our salvation condition ally, but positively, because he has promised it. Hence to doubt in regard to our perseverance, and the consummation of eternal life is to overthrow the truth of God, and to make the intercession of Christ unavailing.

But whence may we be assured of the consummation of everlasting life? We reply from the fact that we have already the beginning of it: for to him that hath shall be given. The gifts of God are without repentance. God is faithful: and therefore he will perfect that which he has commenced. We are assured of the beginning of eternal life from the presence of a true faith, which, whilst it resists the doubts, and temptations of the devil, exclaims, “Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24.) The same assurance is also obtained by the peace of conscience which we have with God, being justified by faith: and from the true repentance and sincere purpose of heart which we have to obey all the commandments of God: for faith cannot be without true repentance. “Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Heb. 3:6, 14.)

That which has now been spoken concerning this article explains sufficiently, what it is to believe, the life everlasting; which may be said to include a firm persuasion,
1. That after this life, there will be another life in which the church shall be glorified, and God praised for ever.
2. That I am also a member of this church, and shall for this reason be made a partaker of everlasting life.
3. That I also in this life have the beginning of everlasting life.