Can I really know if I’m saved?
In the wonderful ministry that the Lord Jesus has called me to, I have been afforded the privilege to hear the joys and struggles of so many people – most of whom are Christ followers. While everyone’s life-story is unique, many of us have spiritual struggles that are very similar. Probably more than any other personal spiritual concern, I have repeatedly listened to believers who are struggling with the assurance of their own salvation. Their barrage of questions forced me to dive into God’s word to see if He even promises that confidence, what He says is missing when we are not assured, and what it takes to stay convinced. The best news is that God not only WANTS you to be confident, He gives us a solid prescription for that outcome. How do we know that God wants us assured? There are several passages that speak to this, but none more than the rich little letter called 1 John. Literally, every one of the five chapters addresses what we can KNOW as believers in Jesus Christ. But the climax is this…
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
— 1 John 5:13
The answer to the question…Can I really KNOW I am saved… is a resounding YES!!!!! There is a way to walk through life where you’re not just hoping that in the end, God is more pleased than disappointed with you and allows you into Heaven. That’s just not how it works!!! Even a cursory reading of 1 John reveals that there are some things that you can most certainly know….most importantly, whether you truly are a believer. I grieve with the precious soul that struggles with his/her faith because obviously there is no peace there. You can’t be ready to live until you are ready to die, and you aren’t ready to die unless you have a settled conviction that the best is yet to come for you. But beyond our longing for peace, another huge issue is…you will not even try to share what you are not confident you have yourself. A lack of assurance hamstrings your efforts to live out the clarion call of the Lord to take His gospel to your world.
Assurance, in part, comes from belief in the promises of Christ like…
37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
— John 6:37
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
— John 6:40
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
— John 10:28-29
These verses affirm that the soul who has surrendered to Christ never has to worry about being turned away or losing their salvation, but millions of people who have read those verses myriad of times continue to struggle with confidence. Why? Because we are basing our opinions of whether we are saved, not on scripture, but on what we think scripture says. Let me explain. I believe the VAST majority of church goers would say that the level of morality your life displays speaks to true salvation. Here and abroad, I have heard from countless people who are confident they are saved because they’ve never cheated on their spouse or their taxes. So MANY times I have heard at funerals the sentiment expressed, “We know they are in a better place because there never has walked a nicer man, a more honest woman.” Many of us equate salvation with perceived behavior. It’s a dangerous assumption.
What about this one — an intellectual understanding of the bible’s principles? I am a living testimony to the fact that you can know all the stories of the bible and not personally have committed your life to the God of it. Even the demons know the gospel, but they surely aren’t saved. Additionally, I’ve talked to people who are relying on their long hours in the church in tedious service to the Lord to boost their confidence. Next, some of us are drawing assurance from the guilt that we feel when we sin, convincing ourselves that we wouldn’t feel that way were it not for the indwelling Holy Spirit; although Scripture is plain that God has given every person a conscience and an awareness of right and wrong. But most often, in our “cultural Christianity” what strugglers are holding onto is some past “conversion experience” where they can recount even what they were wearing when they “walked the aisle.”
What’s my point? Too many of us are leaning too hard on ourselves (religious activity, guilt complex, biblical knowledge) for our assurance, when in reality, the bedrock of our confidence can only be Jesus. Our feelings are subjective and born out of hearts that God calls deceived and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). My FEELINGS have nothing to do with my salvation but so often, they are the hinge on which my confidence swings. The key to having assurance is to rest your confidence completely in Christ’s finished work on the cross for you.
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,…
— 1 John 5:1
So, ask yourself….Am I believing in Christ alone for my salvation?
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
— 1 John 4:15
There is a sharing of life with the Father and the Son. It’s not a one-time event…it’s a daily fellowship. Do you walk with Him in fellowship? Assurance comes from the daily intimacy that is to be your life’s reality. The assurance of your salvation is not based on your work for Christ…it’s based on His work in you. So ask yourself…do I obey what Christ commands? Listen to how John explains this…
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7
Obviously, being a Christian does not mean we live sinlessly perfect, that we ALWAYS obey His commands. That won’t happen this side of Heaven. But scripture is replete with promises that assure us that sin no longer has dominion over the true believer and when you see yourself having victory over sin (whether it’s choosing to obey His commands or choosing not to disobey), you are reminded that you are His!!!! Obedience brings assurance. Disobedience brings doubt.
24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 3:24
The Holy Spirit is active continually in the lives of believers. When we neglect Him and grieve Him with persistent sin, we undermine assurance because we undermine the One who is there in our spirits to give us assurance. I can tell you from personal experience, the more you surrender your life to Him, the more assurance you will have.
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
— Jude 24
If you have surrendered your life to Him, you are secure forever, and He wants you to KNOW it and live in it. Let’s walk confidently in the love of God who saves and keeps us!
- Author Tollie Meggs
- Date September 24, 2015