Chapter 18. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
Article 1. Although temporary believers and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish, yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
Article 2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded on a fallible hope, but a confident assurance of faith, founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ as revealed in the Gospel, the divine truth of the promises of salvation, and the inward evidence of those promised graces of the Spirit, the testimony of the Spirit witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God. A fruit of this assurance, the heart is kept both humble and holy.
Article 3. This assurance does not belong to the essence of faith; a true believer may wait long and confront many difficulties before he partakes of it. Yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him by God, he may attain to this assurance by the right use of means, without extraordinary revelation. Therefore, it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, so that his heart may thus be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance. This assurance is therefore far from inclining men to looseness.
Article 4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation shaken, diminished, and intermitted, as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit, by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light. Yet, they are never destitute of the life of faith, the love of Christ and the brethren, and the sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, through which this assurance may in due time be revived by the operation of the Spirit and by which they are preserved in the meantime from utter despair.