Are you a Christian? Are you going to heaven one day? Are you saved? How do you answer these questions? Most people, when asked one of these questions will respond: “I think so,” or “I hope so,” or simply “I don’t know.” Many who “think so” or “hope so” are not saved, because they have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Yet, many who have trusted Christ as Savior have no real assurance of their salvation.
Is it possible to truly know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are saved from your sins? The answer is “Yes!” Let’s look at three things the Scriptures teach that assure us of our personal salvation.
The Word of God
God has promised us eternal life in His Word, and He has provided this wonderful life through His Son.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” (John 3:36)
The promise is that whoever believes in the Son “has everlasting life.” Notice that it doesn’t say that the person who believes may one day obtain everlasting life, but that the person “has” everlasting life, the very moment they believe in Him. The gospel of John repeats this wonderful promise many times. This is the very reason why the book of John was written, “…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
In keeping with this purpose, John records Jesus’ use of the expression “most assuredly” (“verily, verily” in the KJV) twenty five times. In the Greek it is “amen amen.” The word “amen” comes from a root word which means “firm.” It could be translated “surely” or “truly.” It is closely akin to the Hebrew word for “believe” or “faithful.” When the word “amen” is repeated, it becomes an expression of absolute trust and confidence. Jesus used this expression in John 5:24to assure us of God’s promise.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
We know that God’s Word is true, therefore it gives us assurance. Titus 1:2 tells us that we have the “hope (confidence, assurance) of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.” The 119th Psalm, which is a testimony to God’s Word, says, “The entirety of Your Word is true, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (verse 160).
The Bible is God’s testimony to us, written that we may know that we are saved.
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, …” (1 John 5:13)
Many people today are listening to the traditions and teachings of men or religious organizations instead of listening to the testimony of God’s Word. The only source of absolute truth is the Word of God. Be assured—we can know that we are saved because God’s Word promises eternal life to those who believe in the finished work of His Son.
The Work of Christ
Many of the doubts and fears that people have about their salvation are due to the mistaken idea that they must do something in order to be saved: good works, attending church, keeping the ordinances, etc. When we come to understand that salvation is by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary, we can be assured of our salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
This verse of Scripture makes it clear that salvation is not because of us or because of our works. It is a gift from God. Titus 3:5 declares that salvation is “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Our salvation is based on the finished work which the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us on Calvary. Just before Jesus died, He cried with a loud voice, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). When Jesus died on that cross, He finished the work the Father had sent Him to do; He “paid in full” the price for our sins. The word “finished” is in the perfect tense which means that the work was finished in time past and remains finished with continuing results. The work of Christ is the only work required for our salvation. Nothing needs to be added to what He has done. We are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).
“Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25)
Only the Lord Jesus Christ has the power to save a person from their sins. We are powerless to do anything to save ourselves (Rom. 5:6-8). When Jesus saves us, He saves “to the uttermost.” He provides perfect, complete salvation to all who come to God “through Him.” God’s promise of eternal life is “in His Son,” and “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20).
Those who are depending on their own goodness or good works for salvation, don’t understand what it means to “trust” in Christ as Savior. Be assured—Jesus Christ has done all the work necessary to accomplish your salvation. He alone has the power to save, and He saves completely all who simply trust in and rely upon Him.
The Witness of the Spirit
“In Him (Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:12-13)
Salvation comes through hearing the word of truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and trusting in Him as Savior. The very moment we believe (which is what the expression “having believed” means) we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. This sealing identifies the believer as a child of God, protects and secures the believer in Christ, and guarantees to the believer that God will faithfully carry out His promise of eternal life.
The Holy Spirit Himself is the guarantee (Eph. 1:14). He comes to dwell within the heart of each believer (Rom. 8:9,14-15) and will remain until the day of redemption; the day when Christ will come to catch His church up into glory (Eph. 4:30).
Many people rely too much on their feelings or emotions to determine whether they are saved or not. Feelings can often mislead us. Just because we are feeling down or even depressed does not mean we are not saved. As the Holy Spirit indwells us, He “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” This is more than just a feeling or a fleeting emotion. The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit through the Word of God and assures us that our salvation is based on the facts of God’s Word and our faith in Him rather than upon mere feelings.
The Holy Spirit also produces fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). These are more than just simple human emotions. Love is the God-given ability to unselfishly care for another person. Joy is the deep and lasting delight and gladness that only comes from knowing the Lord, as opposed to happiness, which comes and goes depending on our circumstances. True peace of heart and mind is experienced only as the Holy Spirit assures us that we have peace with God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
If you have experienced questions, doubts, or fears about whether you are saved or not, I hope these thoughts have helped you see that you can know and be assured of your salvation. We have the testimony of all three persons of the Godhead. God’s Word clearly promises us eternal life in His Son. Christ’s finished work on the cross is the sole basis for this wonderful life to all those who simply trust in Him. When we trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and, through the Word of God, bears witness with our spirits that we are God’s children.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thess. 2:16-17)