The Three Legged Stool of Assurance


The death of Christ on the cross, and the fact that his tomb was empty come Easter Sunday morning, and that his dead and decaying body was never brought forward by any of his opponents is one of the best attested historical facts of the time. That Christ died, and was raised again gave hope to the scattered, dejected and demoralized apostles.

Because of the fact of the empty tomb, all but one of the apostles died horrific martyrs’ deaths for their faith. Even the Apostle Peter, who was so frightened he denounced Christ to a young a girl on the night of Christ’s betrayal, spent the rest of his life, after that tomb was empty, preaching Christ and him crucified until he too was crucified upside down.

The Apostles were nourished by their knowledge of Gospel, that Christ died for their sins. This same idea, remembering and proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returns, is what feeds us in the Lord’s supper.

The Christian doctrine of assurance is like a three legged stool. All three of the legs support the stool, and without even one, the stool cannot stand.

One of the legs of the stool is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. Romans 8:16 says, “16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” This is just like Galatians 4:6 wherein the Spirit cries out from within us, “Abba, father!”

The second leg is of the stool of assurance is evidence of spiritual fruit in the life of the believer. 1 John 2:3 says of this leg that, “3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” As we God transforms us to be more like Christ, we will keep more and more of his commands. Not because we have to, but out of our ever growing love and thankfulness for what we’ve been freed from.

Now, the third leg of the stool is the Gospel of Jesus and all of God’s promises related to it. John 1:12 says, “12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

And although the stool of assurance has three legs, and will not stand if even one of the legs are missing, the third leg is nothing like the other two. It is huge, it is solid, and it will not falter. If in your coming week you can’t find your inner witness, if God seems far from you, or you are truly depraved and find no spiritual fruit in yourself, think back to the Lord’s Supper. Think of what it represents. Remember that just a surely as you eat the bread and drink the cup, Christ died for sin, and through him you are right with God.

In Song of Solomon 4 verses 7, Christ says of his bride the church, and of you the believer:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

You are beautiful because of Christ, not because of who you are or what you do.