“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom. My beloved is mine, and I am His; He pastures his flock among the lilies.” vs15-16
We must have assurance to be all that we can be in Christ. This treasured jewel is given to God’s elect, as we look only to Christ, and the Spirit persuades us that we are His. Paul says, “The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs –heirs of God and coheirs with Christ–provided that we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him (Rom 8:16-17).” This heirship, being absolutely revealed to our heart, is the sweetness of gospel assurance, as we know God is ours and all that we have in Him. This leads to peace and a powerful life.
Brothers, guard this assurance wholeheartedly. She says, “Catch the foxes for us” (Song 2:15). We cannot assure ourselves or keep ourselves faithful. “The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards”, robbing this joy of assurance, “while our vineyards are in blossom (vs15).” Never let assurance go, and when gone, trust Him to give it back!
1 Do not live without assurance! This far off walk with Christ is dangerous and leads to falls! You CANNOT serve Him in your strength, so you need the joy of the Lord. You need to know that you have eternal life, so you can live up to your calling (Eph 4:1). People do NOT serve God by doubts, fears, and the whip of the law, but by the full assurance of grace in Christ.
Assurance is not yours because of works, but it is increased by works: We’re fully assured by believing, and then works of faith add more. 1 John 3:21-22, “Beloved, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands & do what is pleasing in His sight” We believe apart from works, then we work by faith, and the Spirit bears record that we’re His, so we have boldness before the throne because we know we’re His children, and He is faithful. Therefore, we’re able to ask boldly, like Samson, who said, “Let me die with the Philistines. He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders & all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life (Judges 16).”
2 This assurance is to be fought for and maintained by faith. She said, “Catch the foxes for us” (Song 2:15). This means that we’re incapable of keeping ourselves clean, and we must be recovered and protected.
Do not try to do anything yourself, as if you’ll fight off sin and present the finished product. No, without Him, you can do nothing. He says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, this one is bringing forth much fruit, because you are not able to do anything separate from Me (John 15:5).” We must admit our sins, confess our wanderings, and we must trust the Lord to sanctify us. It is not a matter of willpower, but of grace by the gospel and holiness through repentance. Confess your sins and your need. Confess how prone you are to wander. Tell Him how your flesh despises His holy commandments, and you need Him to restore your spirit. Lean on Him, not as a slave who must perform but as a child whom He loves. He’s covenanted to help in difficulty. He says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him (Ps 103:13).” He doesn’t want you doing it yourself; He wants the glory and joy of bearing fruit in you (John 15:8). He doesn’t want a co-Christ: He has One Son that stands for all.
3 You are not going to keep your assurance in the flesh. There is an intellectualism that knows all the doctrine and can argue over fine points, but it can’t produce holiness. Joy is lacking. It leaves you with the dry husks of religion, so that you have the form but none of the power: The creed is signed, but the Spirit’s abandoned you to your own strength, and Satan will wear you out.
Notice when He’s gone, therefore, and watch CAREFULLY over your soul! Has joy gone? Joel 1:12, “The vine dries up And the fig tree fails; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up. Indeed, rejoicing dries up from the sons of men.” Are you loving something else? Is something missing, even the overwhelming power of Christ Jesus, so that you say the words but He seems far away?
Get back to Christ, dear brothers, admit your need and seek a full restoration. Do not let sin hinder you but get grace to clean up your act. Do not say, “It’s fine. I’ll see Him later.” Instead, lean your whole soul on Him in desperation. Get back to where you were, even “I will not let You go unless You bless me (Gen 32:26).” He is honored when we must have Him as our First Love, and His power must be expressed in communion.
I saw a little child on the train. Her father was teasing her by putting her down, but she refused, lifted her legs, and whined aloud. Let this be us! “Oh Father, please do not leave me. Don’t put me down. I cannot function.” He will hear your prayer for Christ’s sake. She says, “Before the day breaks and the shadows flee,” before the end of time, “Turn to me, my Love, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of division (Song 2:17).” “I’ve got a divided heart – flesh and spirit, evil and good – but You overcome me and dwell with me!”
The grace of assurance is yours freely through believing, seeking, and asking Him to stay near.