“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”John 20:27-28
Assent moves one step further than knowing. It receives and believes the truth revealed by God. For example, you might know you have sinned, but assent means admitting your sins to God. Knowledge results in conviction; assent in confession. Similarly, one can know that God is good, or sovereign, or generous, or altogether worthy. But assent offers words of joy in His goodness, prayer in His sovereignty, thanks for His generosity, and praise for His singular worth. True faith not only possesses knowledge about God, it acknowledges Him as God.
Two dangers exist here. 1) Faith does not seek union with God’s mind. Assent is not ascent, or a journey upward into the very thoughts of God. We cannot know what God knows in the way that He knows it. Faith knows God truly, but not fully. 2) Assent does not accent feeling, but agrees with the truth God reveals in Scripture. When faith becomes feeling, truth becomes subjective, and self replaces God. “Faith” becomes idolatry. Faith feels, but feelings never produce faith.
“The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.” (R. C. Sproul, 1960)
Bible In A Year
- Numbers 14-15
- Psalm 68
- John 9