One should not seek assurance of election according to speculations about God’s hidden will but rather in the wounds of the Christ who as God reconciled the world to himself, as Luther found. That good news is proclaimed by word and sacrament, through which the Spirit creates and sustains saving faith in the same gospel. Faith in that good news includes confidence in one’s election.
These Reformed errors contradict that gospel:
1. The Calvinistic teaching that anyone who ever has saving faith can never cease to have such faith even if committing mortal sin.
2. The Arminian teaching that the human will is free to choose to exercise saving faith.
That is the gospel. Those who actually fall away and remain unrepentant instead need to hear the law: if they die in unbelief, they will be condemned.
Modified 2 January 2016.