Declaration of Sentiments, 1608, VI The Assurance of Salvation "It is possible for him who believes in Jesus Christ to be certain and persuaded, and - if his heart condemn him not - he is now in reality assured, that he is a Son of God, and stands in the grace of Jesus Christ."
I then looked at Carl Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, Abingdon Press, 1971. He said "For Arminius a believer who ceases to trust God is no longer a believer" (Bangs p.349).
That is why it is "impossible for believers, as long as they remain believers, to decline from salvation" (p.349). "Election to salvation comprehends within its limits not only faith but likewise perseverance in faith" (p.349).
What does it mean to persevere in faith? So I went to Arminius' A Dissertation on the True and Genuine Sense of the Seventh Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans," 1612, The Writings of Arminius, (in English) Baker Book House, 1956, p.228.
"A regenerate man is he who has a mind freed from the darkness and vanity of the world, and illuminated with the true and saving knowledge of Christ, and with faith, who has affections that are mortified, and delivered from the dominion and slavery of sin, that are inflamed with such new desires as agree with the divine nature, and are prepared and fitted for newness of living, who has a will reduced to order, and conformed to the will of God, who has power and faculties able, through the Holy Spirit, to contend against sin, the world and Satan, and to gain the victory over them, and to bring forth fruit unto God, such as is meet for repentance - who actually fights against sin, and having obtained the victory over it, no longer does things which are pleasing to the flesh and to unlawful desires" (p.228).
Wow. That has to be the longest single sentence in Reformation theology.
Lose any of all that, and your assurance goes out of the window. Please don't call me an Arminian again. I used to say the truth lies in sailing right between Calvin and Arminius, but now I will give them both a wide berth and sail the gentle winds of grace.
Why not just say the Father loves us totally, the Lord will never leave
us or forsake us, and the Holy Spirit will always be there to give us all
we need. That assurance is all of grace, there are no ifs and buts, and
there is nothing we have to add to make it happen. Admittedly if someone
said "I don't want the Father's love, I don't like Jesus around at any
price, and the Holy Spirit is the prince of devils," then such a person
wouldn't want assurance of salvation.
So for me assurance has to be anchored in God alone. That is why I said our assurance is that "the Father loves us totally, the Lord will never leave us or forsake us, and the Holy Spirit will always be there to give us all we need. That assurance is all of grace, there are no ifs and buts, and there is nothing we have to add to make it happen."
So rather than question "Did I make the right decision? Is my faith
sufficient? Am I good enough? etc." all of which Satan can easily deny,
our assurance must be based on "The grace of the Lord Jesus the Messiah,
the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor.
13:13). That Satan cannot deny even when we are sick and scared and