I've been doing some thinking and reading lately on the topic of assurance, related to WCF chapter 18 on the assurance of grace and salvation. In my reading (such as commentaries on the WCF, Joel Beeke, etc), I see that more is attributed to the term "assurance" than just simply "I am assured that I am saved" (which seems to be the common evangelical understanding of "assurance"). In an article by Joel Beeke (http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj5c.pdf), he says, "personal assurance of salvation is recognizable by its fruits: a close life of fellowship with God; a tender, filial relationship marked with childlike obedience; a thirsting after God and spiritual exercises that extol Him; a longing to glorify Him by the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Where assurance abounds, mission-mindedness prevails. Assured believers pray for and anticipate revival, view heaven as their home, and long for the Second Advent of Christ and their translation to glory (2 Tim 4:6-8). Assurance, like salvation, is double-sided. It is the summit of intimacy by which the believer both knows Christ and knows he is known by Him. Assurance is not a self-given persuasion, but a Spirit-applied certainty which moves the Christian God-ward through Christ." Basically, I'm going to be teaching a SS class on "assurance," and I know some in the class aren't very theologically-minded...and might be confused thinking, "Well, I have assurance I'm a Christian, so how would some of those things be the fruit of assurance if I already have assurance that I'm a Christian? Wouldn't I be manifesting more of that fruit since I do have assurance that I'm a Christian? How could I get more assurance than I already have as an assured Christian? How is this relevant to me as an assured Christian?" The way I'm thinking to answer, besides showing the importance that we not be resting our assurance in some dangerous ground, is that "assurance" is knowing Christ and knowing he knows us as being one of his people. Assurance involves primarily looking at and resting on Christ even more, and secondarily meditation and self-examination to see if I am walking as one who has fellowship with the Son and the Father....and the more I see these things growing in my life as I grow and mature as a believer, the greater joy that brings me. I don't know if my question is making sense. I'm basically asking what "assurance" means. How can I, by definition, explain that we can grow in assurance to people who think that assurance is just something you have that doesn't grow? I know it's more than simply "I'm assured that I'm saved," but what more is it? (I'll be developing some of these questions in teaching on the WCF, but I want a solid definition of "assurance" to start with) Later thought: Is it accurate to say the following: that assurance grows or can be hindered...and that we desire to have "maximal" assurance. Basically, a "maximal" assurance is directly related to Christian growth...it is being more assured of the promises of God and salvation...and experientially seeing more fruit of sanctification in our lives. So is to say we should "grow in assurance" and that it is our "duty" (WCF 18.3), to be somewhat saying the same thing as that we should grow in sanctification? I mean, I know the terms have different meaning, but is that nor more or less what we are doing?