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In this brief clip from his teaching series Assurance of Faith, Joel Beeke describes how the Canons of Dort give Christians guidance on how to understand the relationship between conversion and assurance.
The Canons of Dort, head five, article 10, states specifically when targeting the Roman Catholic view as false, that, "We ought not to look for assurance from a peculiar revelation contrary to or independent of the Word of God" end quote. For them, you see, our Dortian fathers, the application of the plain Word of God by faith, which is the King's royal way to assurance that produces by the Spirit's grace the normal conversion experience, if I can use the word "normal," of God's children in terms of what the catechism calls "misery, deliverance and gratitude," or "sin, salvation, service."
In other words, the normal experience is that, I see my sinfulness, I flee to Christ, find everything in Him, and then I live a life of service, of gratitude, of sanctification to one degree or another. But you see that kind of normal conversion for some people is not enough for conversion. They're looking for something extraordinary; something unexplainable, extra biblical, mystical, special revelation, and the Reform said, "Don't do that, because you'll probably wait all your life and never get it." Yes, there are people of God who do have some very special experiences; we don't deny that. But that's like dessert after a meal. It's sweet, it's wonderful to have it, great intimacy with God, but the normal conversion, don't disparage that. Don't look for wrong kinds of experiences. Don't think that conversion requires a Damascus road voice from heaven type of experience like Paul had.