Of Faith and Assurance

From J. C. Ryle’s Holiness:

We should carefully note these simple distinctions between faith and assurance. It is all too easy to confuse the two. Faith, let us remember, is the root — and assurance is the flower. Doubtless you can never have the flower without the root; but it is no less certain you may have the root and not the flower.
Faith is that poor trembling woman who came behind Jesus in the press, and touched the hem of His garment (Mark 5:25). Assurance is Stephen standing calmly in the midst of his murderers and saying, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).
Faith is the penitent thief, crying, “Lord, remember me” (Luke 23:42). Assurance is Job, sitting in the dust, covered with sores, and saying, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). “Though He slays me — yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15).
Faith is Peter’s drowning cry, as he began to sink: “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30.) Assurance is that same Peter declaring before the council in after times, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
Faith is the anxious, trembling voice: “Lord, I believe — help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Assurance is the confident challenge: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Who is he who condemns?” (Romans 8:33, 34).
Faith is Saul praying in the house of Judas at Damascus, sorrowful, blind and alone (Acts 9:11). Assurance is Paul, the aged prisoner, looking calmly into the grave, and saying, “I know whom I have believed. There is a crown laid up for me” (2 Timothy 1:12; 4:8).

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