God is very kind. In Jonah 1, His judgement upon Jonah’s rebellion isn’t also cast upon the pagan sailors. Instead the whole process has God’s hand over it – the wind (4), the lots (7), the raging waves (11, 13), and instead of sinking the ship and all its inhabitors, the LORD keeps safe the sailors. In fact, they turn from crying out ‘each to his god’ (5), to fearing the LORD ‘exceedingly’ (16, ESV), and making a sincere sacrifice and vows to Him. The Creator’s loving kindness!
This inner assurance of the grace of God is accompanied by outward indications such as gladly to hear, preach, praise, and to confess Christ, to do one’s duty in the station in which God has placed us, to aid the needy, and to comfort the sorrowing. These are affidavits of the Holy Spirit testifying to our favourable standing with God.
If we could be fully persuaded that we are in the good grace of God, that our sins are forgiven, that we have the Spirit of Christ, that we are the beloved children of God, we would be ever so happy and grateful to God. But because we often fear and doubt we cannot come to that happy certainty.
Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. Fight it without doubt. Gain assurance through the Word of God.
Martin Luther, from Commentary on Galatians
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