Some of you may have read the article by Dr. R. C. Sproul which he published back in 1989 in Tabletalk. In it he said that he was uncertain about his salvation, but that he learned the lesson that the Apostle Peter learned as well: “being uncomfortable with Jesus [is] better than any other option.” The Ligonier.org website only has magazine articles back to 2006. If you’d like to see his article, you can see part of it in this 1997 article, “When Assurance Is Not Assurance,” by me.
The other day while putting the finishing touches on a new book on repentance I’m writing (34 years after I wrote my dissertation on repentance), I ran across an October 13, 1996 article at desiringGod.org by Dr. John Piper. The article is entitled “When Is Saving Repentance Impossible (Hebrews 6:4-8)?” You can read that article here.
Piper ends the article with a section entitled, “What Then Do These Verses Mean for Us?”
He starts out with these provocative words: “I’ll be very personal, to give its sharpest point. If in the coming years I commit apostasy and fall away from Christ, it will not be because I have not tasted of the word of God and the Spirit of God and the miracles of God.” Piper then says, “But if, over the next ten or twenty years, John Piper begins to cool off spiritually and lose interest in spiritual things and become more fascinated with making money and writing Christless books…then know that the truth is this: John Piper was mightily deceived in the first fifty years of his life.”
He concludes with this line: “If this possibility does not make me serious and vigilant in the pursuit of everlasting joy, what will?”
While I know that both Calvinists and Arminians believe there will be no kingdom access except for those who persevere in faith and good works, it is still shocking to see men like Piper concede that they might not be regenerate. Of course, as I read his closing personal remarks, I have the impression that he is very confident that he will indeed persevere. But how could he be sure he would persevere if even the Apostle Paul was not sure (1 Cor 9:27)? So, he expresses a high degree of confidence. But not certainty.
His remarks remind me of Sproul’s words “Peter…realized that being uncomfortable with Jesus was better than any other option.”
No. There is a better option. Certainty with Jesus is the best option. Don’t you agree? The Lord certainly did (cf. John 11:25-27 and Martha’s statement of certainty).