Monday, November 25, 2013

The themes of assurance & security in Daniel and 1 John

Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials

The theme of assurance and security in the book of Daniel
As you begin to read the Book of Daniel, you read a book that is partly historical, partly prophetic and also devotional. Like a three braided rope are these three themes weaving their way through Daniel book. In Daniel 1:1-2:18 we see Daniel as a 15 year-old lad, along with his friends, taken away into Exile in Babylon, some 800 miles from their Jewish homeland. 

We could say that is these verses, we see the devotional theme of Daniel persevering in the faith in how he and his friends: reject the world (1:1-21) and rely upon the word of God (2:1-20). Intermingled in this devotional theme is the prophetic dream of Nebuchadnezzar. God gives Daniel wisdom as he and his friends seek God in prayer over the dream's interpretation. We see in Daniel 2:19-23 the following comforts of God's Sovereignty: God reigns (2:19-21); God reveals (2:22) and God relates (2:23). 

As Daniel then stands before the King to give the interpretation of the grand colossus or statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

 We discover the prophetic history and destiny of history from Daniel's day to the end: the enormous Kingdom of Babylon is the head of gold(2:36-38); empire kingdoms of Persia, Greece and Rome, represented by the colossus' chest, belly and legs (2:39-40); an evil kingdom, the kingdom of the future anti-Christ, represented by the feet and toes (2:41-43) with a stone smashing the statue as representing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ conquering at His return in Daniel 2:44-45. 
Nebuchadnezzar's statue or colossus represents the system of unbelief and Satanically inspired, man-made rebellion called "the world".  Daniel's faith perseveres because he finds assurance in God's Sovereignty and retains the understanding of who he is in the Lord despite being in a foreign land. 

The theme of assurance and security in 1 John
Such assurance is not only found in Daniel, but is also focused upon in the book of 1 John. The book of 1 John is written to give assurance of salvation to those who have believed on Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (1 John 5:13) In 1 John 1, we see that God is the fountain of assurance (1:1-4); closeness to God clarifies assurance (1:5-7) and confession of sin restored assurance (1:8-10). What must be kept in view is that in the doctrine of perseverance, eternal security is based upon what Christ has done, whereas assurance is the believer's experience and internal awareness of their eternal security in Jesus. 

A Christian can never finally fall away from salvation, however their assurance can vary, depending on the trials, or level of fellowship they have with God. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 notes: "All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 1

To illustrate, my wife and I for instance are married till death do us part and our relationship is a lifetime commitment. However if she and I have a disagreement, I may feel or she may feel a lack of peace and experience a lack of close fellowship for a short time. However that does not mean the marriage relationship is over, only that the marriage fellowship is being affected, and that we want to get the fellowship back. Thus it is with John's point in 1 John. 

When we come to 1 John 2, we are reminded of the confidence believers have before God through their Advocate, their King - the Lord Jesus Christ. In the latter part of that chapter, Christians are told not to love the world which is composed of the lust of the eyes, the flesh and pride of life. Just like Daniel interpreted, this world system will be "smashed" and is passing away due to the soon coming of Jesus Christ, the "Rock" of salvation Whose Kingdom has no end. It is incumbent upon us as Christians to tell others of Him and that they by grace through faith can escape the wrath of God that is coming on this world. 

Make fellowship with God and His Son the priority, while leaning on the salvation of relationship He has secured eternally for you in His choice of you and in the giving of His Son. (John 15:16; 1 John 4:19) Like "Daniels" in a foreign land, Christians living in this 21st century world need to find their security of identity in God's Sovereignty operating in their lives and in His word.

1.  Please note the above quote under Article # V: God's Purpose of Grace, second paragraph. 

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