Audio Adrenaline, the Philokalia, and Assurance of Salvation

I am listening to some of my old CD’s to determine which ones I shall keep and which I shall pass on to the Salvation Army.  Currently, I’m chillin’ to Underdog by Audio Adrenaline, on which you will find the preferred version of the song “DC-10”.*

The song runs thus:

Do you know
Do you know
Do you know where you will go

If a DC-10 ever fell on your head and you’re
Laying in the ground all messy and dead
Or a Mack truck run over you
Or you suddenly die in your Sunday pew

Do you know where you’re gonna go

It can happen any day
It can happen anywhere
It can happen while you’re nappin’ in your easy chair
It can happen at home
It can happen at school
It can happen while you’re scattin’ like a scattin’ fool
Do you know where you’re gonna go

. . .
Straight to heaven
Or down the hole?

A 747 fell out of Heaven
Crashed through the roof of a 7-11
You’re working on a slurpee
Things get hazy
Rich for a twinkie now you’re pushing up daisies?
Do you know where you’re gonna go

This raises the question of the assurance of salvation.  Do you know where you’re gonna go?  Straight to Heaven or down the hole?

When I lived in Cyprus, I spent some time reading the Philokalia, and I found that there was often a fear of Hell amongst these Eastern ascetics, amongst men who lived lives of prayer and holiness, who truly trusted (ie. had faith) in the living Christ.

An example is Evagrios the Solitary, “Outline Teaching on Asceticism and Stillness in the Solitary Life,” who says that one must imagine Hell for fear that one shall, in fact, go there (trans. Palmer, Sherrard, Ware, 01 Philokalia, p. 36).  I believe that this fear of Hell, this belief that one may end up there despite a faith in Jesus, is the drive behind much ascetic practice.  By mortifying the flesh, by prayers, vigils, fasts, one draws nearer to God, and by this closeness escape the fires of Hell.

On the other hand, we have excessively assured Evangelicals who live by cheap grace, believing that grace will save them whether or not they sleep around, gossip, booze it up, etc.  Or those who simply believe that they will get into “heaven” because they once prayed a prayer at a Billy Graham Crusade.

The truth lies somewhere in between.  Faith produces good works.  It is the faith that saves, however.  Thus, Evagrios the Solitary need not spend his life with the image of Hell before himself for fear that this is his eternal destination.  However, the Evangelical can take a cue from Evagrios and seek to live a life of holiness.

This is the path of costly grace, the path of obedience to the One in Whom Christians claim to place their trust, their faith.  When we cast all our cares and fears upon Christ, when we start trusting in Him to save us and the world from utter ruin and destruction, then we can start living holy lives.  And then we can live with assurance.

Through faith alone do we know where we’re gonna go.  Trust in Jesus.  Obey His word.

*There is a not-preferred version on Live Bootleg.

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