Church of England Diocese of Chester Burleydam

Blessed Assurance - Jesus is mine!

24 May 2020, 7 a.m.

<span style="font-size: 1rem;">While I was training to be a reader we were not supposed to use reference books over a certain age! Which at the time put most of my library way off limits for assignment purposes. I don’t think anyone had told Scripture Union this though, as 2 books which we have had on our shelves for years have been used in the references for this passage! The one is David Watson‘s Discipleship. This is a wonderful book which talks about living a Christian life and maturing in being a follower of Jesus. It is a book, as it says right up front, about becoming and growing as a disciple.</span>

The quote they use which leaps out to me again and again is ‘Christianity which does not begin with the individual, does not begin; but Christianity which ends with the individual, ends.

Witty little saying! But if we unpack it a bit it’s very profound.

Christianity isn’t a hobby, a pastime, merely a comfort when we are in distress (although of course it is a huge comfort in distress). Christianity is what it is because of Jesus Christ and what he did for humankind on the cross. This is what we are part of. This is why we bother with church and worship and fellowship and all the other things which come out of having faith. But we are not called to stand on the side lines and cheer on this ‘good idea’. We are called to be involved. We are called to make a personal response to what Jesus did on the cross. We are called to say a loud and hearty ‘me too’ to God. We have joined a life long journey with Jesus, accompanied by our fellow Christians, as we grow in knowledge and confidence of our faith, as we grow in love and commitment for God and humanity. We have not said ‘yes’ to a private idea, or an interesting theory. We have said ‘yes’ to something far bigger than ourselves, something dynamic, which will grow and impact everyone with whom we come into contact. It will transform our lives, and their lives too, if we let it. But we can’t start unless we truly buy-in to this being a personal faith, not just something we observe from afar. ‘…..Christianity which does not begin with the individual, does not begin;….’

And here’s the next big thing about Christianity….it’s isn’t just for me and you. It is the gift that only works when we give it away! It’s the gift which keeps on giving as we share it far and wide. No other person can tell any of us how we should do this ‘giving’ away of our faith. God will provide that answer when we ask him. But there will be a way, taylor-made to each of us, for us to share the gift of faith we have received. ‘…Christianity which ends with the individual, ends.’

Another quote used by Scripture Union for this passage is from a favourite hymn of Fanny Crosby: ‘Blessed Assurance’

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine

O what a foretaste of glory divine

Heir of salvation, purchase of God

Born of his spirit washed in his blood

This is my story, this is my song

Praising my Saviour all the day long

This is my story, this is my song

Praising my Saviour all the day long

Perfect submission, perfect delight

Visions of rapture now burst on my sight

Angels descending bring from above

Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

I can’t help feeling a surge of excitement when I sing this hymn. And then I feel, well , if this is how the knowledge of having salvation through Jesus makes me feel, how can I possibly not make sure other people know it too?

So, if we only want to stand on the side lines and watch, we have not really begun our Christian life, our discipleship. And if we want to try and put our faith in a compartment which is just for us, if we don’t want to let it overflow into our family life, our community life, our work life, well, it’s very likely to shrivel up and disappear, rather like any other unused gift.