The Apostle John wrote his first epistle to Christians (“you who believe in the name of the Son of God”). And why did John write? “That you may know that you have eternal life” (I John 5:13). While God delights to grant assurance of salvation to His children, we’re also told that assurance is a blessing that each Christian is to earnestly seek (II Peter 1:10). And in thinking about assurance of salvation we must inevitably consider questions like:
Is certainty possible in this area? What does it mean to truly know God? Is it possible to be “sure” I know God, and yet be deceived? How does being saved by grace relate to doing good works?
What I found particularly helpful about Do I Know God? by Tullian Tchividjian (pastor of New City Presbyterian Church in south Florida) is that it powerfully addresses these questions in an engaging, relational tone (including apt illustrations from Tchividjian’s own life) while also explaining the gospel. All in a book that’s less than 200 pages long.
For example, Tchividjian walks us through his own conversion at the age of 19 and then later devotes a chapter to explaining the relationship between saving faith and good works. He helps the reader understand the crucial difference between working for salvation (trying to earn God’s favor by right living) and working out salvation (progressively, increasingly obeying God through faith as the necessary and inevitable outworking of having had our hearts transformed such that we’ve embraced Jesus Christ as our Savior, Lord, and Treasure). Consequently, it is the sort of book that is simultaneously useful for Christians and those still exploring the faith. In addressing assurance, Tchividjian does a good job balancing the importance of belief in God’s promises, internal evidence of salvation (affections for God), and external evidence (increasing obedience, i.e., progressive sanctification). He also explains how to maintain assurance when God seems most absent. In short, I commend this book, particularly to younger Christians or those who are investigating Christianity. Some of the blurbs:
“Tullian has written a good, simple, solid book on a crucial subject. Tullian wants you to know God and to know that you know God. Do you know God? This book can help you answer that most important of all questions. What better reason is there to spend money on buying a book–or time on reading it?”
-MARK E. DEVER, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
“This is a warm, personal book about assurance, about how we can know we have been redeemed by Christ. It is written with pastoral wisdom for a church often afflicted by deep currents of uncertainty and sometimes by faltering discipleship. It speaks to our time with biblical fidelity.”
-DAVID F. WELLS, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary