Old Mrs. Much Afraid

John 5:24; John 6:47; Romans 4:3, 21-25
       Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
       Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
      What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness…And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): It is a clear understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith only that should lead to an assurance of salvation. “Therefore,” says the Apostle in Romans 5:1, “being justified by faith,” or―having been justified by faith―“we have peace with God.”

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): A very large proportion of Christian people can only say of Christ that they hope they love Him; they trust they love Him; but this is a very poor and shallow experience which is content to stay there. It seems to me that no one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he feels quite sure about a matter of such vital importance. We are not content to have a hope of the love of our parents, or of our spouse, or of our children; we feel we must be certain there; and we ought not to be satisfied with a hope that Christ loves us, and with a bare trust that we love Him. The old saints did not generally speak with buts, and ifs, and hopes, and trusts, but they spoke positively and plainly. “I know whom I have believed,” saith Paul. “I know my Redeemer liveth,” saith Job. “He whom my soul loveth,” saith Solomon.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): Some think they have no faith at all because they have no full assurance, whereas the fairest fire that can be will have some smoke.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): It is no easy thing, when persons are pressed down by a sense of their vileness and imperfections, to keep them from fearing that they have no part nor lot in the matter, and that their hearts are not right in the sight of God. They are prone to judge of the truth of their grace by the degree of it and lose the comfort derivable from what they have, in thinking of what they have not.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: This happens generally because of defective teaching, or because the devil has persuaded us in some way or another to be looking too much inwardly at ourselves…We spend so much time in feeling our own pulse, taking our own spiritual temperature, considering our moods, and states, and fears.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The assurance of some of God’s dear children has been hindered by a defective ministry. They have sat under teaching which was too one-sided…They have been encouraged to be far more occupied with self than with Christ. Knowing that many are deceived, fearful lest they also should be, their main efforts are directed to self-examination. Disgusted too by the loud boastings of empty professors, perceiving the worthlessness of the carnal confidence voiced by the frothy religionists all around them, they hesitate to avow the assurance of salvation lest they be guilty of presumption or be puffed up by the Devil.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: They say, “Who am I to say that I am a child of God, and that I am saved? I am so unworthy, I am aware of so much blackness and evil in myself. Surely,” they say, “this is presumption.”

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): They seem to think it proper humility never to be confident and to live in a certain degree of doubt. This is to be regretted.

A. W. PINK: Yea, they have come to regard doubtings, fears, and uncertainty as the best evidence of spiritual humility.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I have known some very godly people, some of them very active workers in the Christian Church, who have been in this position. I have known devout Christians who regard the claim to assurance of salvation as the hall-mark of superficiality and ignorance of doctrine―I am not exaggerating―there have been sections of the Church that have been so much afraid of false joy that they have gone to the other extreme and, as I say—ridiculous though it is and sounds—they have a kind of contentment only when they have felt utterly miserable and complete failures.

C. H. SPURGEON: Among my early hearers at Waterbeach was one good old woman whom I called “Mrs. Much-afraid.” I feel quite sure she has been many years in heaven, but she was always fearing that she should never enter the gates of glory. She was very regular in her attendance at the house of God, and was a wonderfully good listener. She used to drink in the gospel; but, nevertheless, she was always doubting, and fearing, and trembling about her own spiritual condition. She was a believer in Christ, I should think, but for fifty years, yet she had always remained in that timid, fearful, anxious state.
      One day, when I was talking with her she told me that she had not any hope at all; she had no faith; she believed that she was a hypocrite. I said, “Then don’t come to the chapel any more; we don’t want hypocrites there. Why do you come?”
      She answered, “I come because I can’t stop. I love the people of God; I love the house of God; and I love to worship God.”
      “Well,” I said, “you are an odd sort of hypocrite; you are a queer kind of unconverted woman.”
      “Ah!” she sighed, “you may say what you please, but I have not any hope of being saved.”
      So I said to her, “Well, next Sunday, I will let you go into the pulpit, that you may tell the people that Jesus Christ is a liar, and that you cannot trust Him.”
      “Oh!” she cried, “I would be torn in pieces before I would say such a thing as that. Why, He cannot lie! Every word He says is true.”
      “Then,” I asked, “why do you not believe it?”
      She replied, “I do believe it; but, somehow, I do not believe it for myself; I am afraid whether it is for me.”
      “Have you not any hope at all?” I asked.
      “No,” she answered.
      So I pulled out my purse, and I said to her, “Now, I have got £5 here, it is all the money I have, but I will give you that £5 for your hope if you will sell it.”
      She looked at me, wondering what I meant. “Why!” she exclaimed, “I would not sell it for a thousand worlds.” She had just told me that she had not any hope of salvation, yet she would not sell it for a thousand worlds!
      I fully expect to see that good old soul when I get to Heaven, and I am certain she will say to me, “O dear sir, how foolish I was when I lived down there at Waterbeach! I went groaning all the way to glory when I might just as well have gone there singing. I was always troubled and afraid, but my dear Lord kept me by His grace, and brought me safely here.”

JOHN BERRIDGE (1716-1793): The Lord washed our hearts here, and He will wash our brains in heaven.


This entry was posted in Assurance & Communion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.