The gospel is good news to all who hear it. That is known. Its relieving to hear that your sins, for example, are forgiven and that God remembers them no more because of what Jesus has done. But therein lies the problem–the human heart finds it so hard to believe the gospel, in fact the hardest thing to believe is whether this Good News is for me. “Is it really for me?”, “It sounds too good to be true but is it really true what you are saying?”,” Am I really saved, me?” Believing the gospel is a battle of the heart.
Charles Spurgeon, in one his sermons on the topic of assurance draws back on a discussion between a one John and his Pastor. This dialogue is helpful for all of us struggling to believe that the Good News of the gospel is really for us:
Pastor. He who believes in Jesus Christ, has eternal life. “John 3:36: do you know this declaration of the word of God? Very well, but you appear to think it obscure or equivocal.
John. Never, I am sure it is true. Yet all those who say—I believe in Jesus Christ, are not the elected of God, bought of the Lord, or saved by grace. All these are not chosen, for there are many hypocrites who dare say that they believe in the Son of God.
Pastor. You observe, that the word does not say, that those who say they believe, or pretend to believe, in Jesus Christ, or who imagine falsely that they believe, have eternal life; but this infallible word says, that those who believe in effect and really, have this life; so, then, the multitude in Christian nations who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, is not proof that they believe in effect; but if this multitude believe in effect on the Savior, certainly they will have eternal life.
John. Thus, then, sir, whoever is able to assure himself that he believes on the Savior, then he will be certain that he has actually the life eternal, and that he is also elected.—
(The minister took a little bit of paper and wrote upon it these words.) Whoever receives from my hand this paper, and this declaration, I hold him for my friend: (he put his name to these words, and presenting it to John, he said to him.) Receive this from my hand, and believe my testimony, for I am a creditable person:—
(John took the paper and read what the minister had written.)
Pastor. How am I to regard you, John, after this testimony that I have given you?
John. I have the minister for a friend.
Pastor. Is it from you to me that this friendship flows, or is it from me to you?
John. It is from you to me.
Pastor. Do you hesitate to say that I am your friend, and that you have become mine?
John. If I said I did not believe you, I should make you a liar.
Pastor. Do you, then, look with affection towards me, or is it I with affection towards you? for you are assured that I am your friend, and that I regard you as mine.
John. You, dear sir, love me, and care for me.
Pastor. And how are you assured that this good-will is addressed to you!
John. Because you have been pleased to say it, and I do not doubt your veracity.
Pastor. I am sure that I have not written your name, as my friend; why then do you know that I have mentioned you in particular?
John. You have written with your own hand, that whoever receives this paper, you shall have him for a friend; and because I have received this paper, and because I know that you are of good authority, I have no doubt at all upon the subject.
Pastor. That is, then, because you have been certain on the one hand of having received this paper from my hand, and on the other hand, that I am of good authority, that you are certain of possessing, at the present, my affection,
John. I do not think that I am able to speak with doubt upon this point, without insulting your veracity.”
“The substance of which is just this, that when you can take the Word, and find that you are the character there spoken of, it is as good as if out of heaven an angel should fly down to you, sitting in your pew now, and should say in your ear, in the presence of this congregation, “God is thy salvation.” Now, brethren, I know this day I have no other trust but in the cross of Christ; therefore I am saved; and you can say the same, each one of you, if you are resting in Christ alone, There is not an “if” or a “but” about it; you are saved. Oh! Do enjoy that thought, and go home and live upon it; it shall be marrow and fatness to your spirit.”
(This is an excerpt from a sermon delivered on Sunday Morning, April 28, 1861 by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington)