Assurance of Salvation Introduction
There’s an interesting story told about the construction of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. During the first part of the construction, no safety nets were used to protect the men from falling to their deaths in the freezing waters below. As a result, 23 men fell to their deaths. In an effort to ensure the safety of the men, a large safety net was hung directly below the work area. For the rest of the construction, only a few men fell off the bridge into the safety net below. In addition, the men began to work at a much greater speed and with more confidence. Because the men were assured of their safety, they experienced much less stress and became much more effective on their jobs. In the same way, a Christian who is assured of his salvation is able to experience the confidence and joy that God intends for every believer.
(Please read the lesson carefully. When a scripture reference is given, please read it from your Bible. (We use the King James Version.) As you read the lesson, take the self-test.
According to the Bible, you can be absolutely, positively, 100% sure that you have eternal life. I John 5:13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” God wants His children to know, without a doubt, that they have eternal life. The Bible makes it clear that every person on earth falls into one of two categories. I John 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Dear friend, either you do have the Son and you have life, or you do not have the Son and therefore, you do not have life. Which category are you in today? In II Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul warns us, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves.” If you were to die today, do you have the wonderful assurance that you would spend eternity with Jesus Christ? Do you experience Christ’s power and presence in your life, or are you just pretending to be a believer in Christ? How can you and I examine ourselves and know for sure that we are children of God? We need to test ourselves in light of God’s Holy Word, the Bible.
False Tests of Salvation
Many people are deceived by false tests of salvation. In the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, He made it very clear that there would be those that would misunderstand true salvation. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many WONDERFUL WORKS? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” In this passage, Jesus is revealing that many people, not just a few, have a FALSE hope or understanding of what true salvation is. There are a lot of people that live good, moral lives. They give to the poor, help the needy, go to church faithfully several times a week, and have even been baptized, yet Jesus will declare to them, “I NEVER KNEW YOU.” In addition, there are many people who know the facts of the gospel very well. They believe that Jesus lived on this earth, that He was the Son of God, that He died on the cross, that He was resurrected; but to them, it is simply a knowledge of facts. James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils ALSO believe, and tremble.” Just because a person knows the facts of the gospel does not guarantee that person a home in heaven or a relationship with Jesus Christ. As you can see by in the above Bible verse, even the devils believe. They believe so much, that they tremble at the thought of standing before a holy and righteous God on judgment day.
True Self Test of Salvation
It’s shocking to realize that there are many people who read their Bibles, earnestly pray, and faithfully attend church, and yet they live defeated lives because they DOUBT their salvation. They’ve never learned from God’s Word that if they truly have been BORN AGAIN, they can be 100% SURE based on God’s Word and His Word alone.
The assurance of salvation is one of God’s beautiful gifts, which He gives to every BORN AGAIN believer. The Bible gives us several verses that will enable us to stand strong in Christian assurance; and it lets us know for SURE that we have ETERNAL life.
Have YOU trusted Christ as your personal Saviour? This is the first and foundational test that a person must ask. I did NOT say, “Do you believe certain facts about Jesus Christ? Have you prayed the sinner’s prayer?” Instead, I asked you, “Have you put your complete trust and faith in Christ, and Christ alone?” There is nothing we can possibly DO to earn our salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” What is God saying? He simply wants us to know that none of us is GOOD enough to get to heaven, that NONE of us is rich enough to get to heaven, and that NONE of us is smart enough to get to heaven by our own devices or manmade religions. The ONE and ONLY way of salvation has been completely provided for us in Jesus Christ. True saving faith is when we take God at His Word and claim His PROMISE for salvation. Romans 10:9-11 declares, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” It does not matter how many sins we have committed or how evil we have lived; we have God’s wonderful promise in Romans 10:13, “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED.” Friend, this could mean you. If you’ve done this, the Bible assures in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Sensitivity to Sin
I John 1:5-10 says, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, WE LIE, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” The Bible is clear that every true believer will SOMETIMES stumble and fall into sin, but sin will not be a continual pattern in his life. And when he does sin, the Holy Spirit will convict him of his sin until he repents of it and confesses it to God. If you do not feel bad and your conscience is not pricked when you willfully sin, then you better think twice about whether you belong to God or not, because Hebrews 12:6-8 states, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, [punishes or disciplines] and scourgeth [spiritual whipping] EVERY SON whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be WITHOUT chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye BASTARDS, and not sons.” A spiritual bastard is someone who has never trusted Christ as their Saviour, so God is not their true heavenly Father. God is saying that you have been born as a slave to sin and unless you are BORN AGAIN of the Spirit you are NOT one of His. Surely we can understand this truth if we compare the relationship between an earthly father and his son. We expect the father to punish and discipline his son when there is disobedience or rebellion. But that father does not punish the other boys on the block. Why? Because they do not BELONG to him. Do you belong to God? If so, do you realize that you cannot walk in darkness and claim to have fellowship (a right relationship) with God? I Peter 2:9 tells us that we have been called “…OUT of darkness into his marvelous light.” Do you know when you have sinned, and do you regularly confess it?
Obedience to God
Another important test is found in I John 2:3-6, “And hereby we do KNOW that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not [disobeys or disregards] his commandments is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are IN him. He that saith he abideth [remains] in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Do you obey God’s commandments? Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This means they are not oppressive or hard to bear. His commandments give light and life. They bring joy and peace WHEN OBEYED. You might fail several times throughout your Christian life, but your desire should not fail to want to PLEASE God. This is a good indicator that you have been saved, and that you have a heart filled with gratitude if you want to please God, which means obedience to His commandments.
Reject the World
You and I are vulnerable to be lured and destroyed by the world’s evil system. Satan is an expert fisherman and he searches until he finds out what bait will snare us. I John 2:15 & 16 warn us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the LUST of the FLESH, and the lust of the EYES, and the PRIDE of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Do you love the world or do you reject it? The “world” is a system that includes ungodly entertainment, fashion, false religion, crime, immorality and materialism (always wanting more things for prestige). When you become a believer, these things should no longer attract you like they did before you got saved. The ATTITUDES we project also tell people whether we have sold ourselves to God or to the Devil. We should find ourselves WANTING to reject the world and its false promises and evil desires. This is also an indication of our NEW life in Christ. (II Corinthians 5:17)
Love for the Believers
I John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” Do you love and care about other believers? It’s not just some type of feeling or emotion we have; it is action and sacrificial service for other people. Notice I John 3:17, which says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Are you meeting the needs of other believers? Do you look forward to worshiping and fellowshipping with them during the church services? If you have little or no desire to attend church services and activities, it is a strong indication of a cold and indifferent heart toward God.
In addition, there are many who confess Christ, yet have bitterness and resentment toward a brother or sister in Christ. Remember the words of Christ in Matthew 5:22, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Look for ways to demonstrate your love for others, perhaps by being a friend to a lonely person or writing a letter for someone who cannot write. Study and memorize I Corinthians 13, the great love chapter; it will change your life.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The final test we want to look at is: Do you experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life? I John 5:10 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” In Romans 8:16 we read, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” The Holy Spirit agrees with our spirit if we are true children of God. The Bible plainly teaches that every believer has the Holy Spirit living inside of him. What an incredible truth! When the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, He wants to dwell in a CLEAN HOUSE. We must allow Him to rid our life of anything that does not bring honor and glory to God. The Holy Spirit’s presence in all lives produces the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Is this fruit a regular part of your life? Do you have the witness of the Holy Spirit in yourself that confirms that you are a child of God?
Dear friend, pray over each of these evidences of salvation and ask the Lord to make this matter PERFECTLY CLEAR in your heart and mind.
As you take this self test, read each Scripture reference carefully. Check each item as you understand the truth presented. Pray to your Heavenly Father and He will help you to understand and put these items into practice. But remember this, you must take God at His Word by faith!
- Have you examined yourself to see if you are in the faith? II Corinthians 13:5
- Are you saved by grace through faith? Ephesians 2:8-10
- Do you realize that you can know that you have eternal life? I John 5:13
- Is your faith totally in Jesus Christ and in Him alone? Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9,13
- Do you realize the truth of John 5:24?
- Read I John 1:5-10. Does the Holy Spirit convict you when you do wrong?
- Have you been called out of darkness into His marvelous light? I Peter 2:9
- Do you strive to obey God? I John 2:3-6; John 14:15
- Do you desire to reject the world’s evils and false promises? I John 2:15
- Do you love and care about other believers? I John 3:14; John 13:35
- Do you experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life? Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:16
Pray this prayer: “Father, thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for your love and grace to me. I now take you at your Word; I am saved and know it. Praise your wonderful name. Amen.”
If you do not have assurance of salvation, you can have it right here and now. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus gives us this promise, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”Are you willing to open the door of your life, repent (turn from your sin) and invite Jesus Christ to come in and take control of your life? Are you willing to place all your trust and confidence in Him? If so, pray and ask the Lord to cleanse and forgive all of your sin. Here is a suggested prayer: “Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and unable to save myself. I believe that you love me so much that you sent your Son, Jesus to die on the cross for my sins; and that you raised Him from the grave after three days. Right now, please forgive me of all my sins, come into my heart, and take full control of my life. Thank you, dear Lord, for hearing and answering my prayer, and for your free gift of eternal life. Amen.”
My prayer is that you will be absolutely, positively, 100% sure of your salvation. There’s a beautiful old hymn that says:
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, O, what a fore taste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His Blood.”
Do you have any questions? We will try to answer them, but we will not get into a debate or argue Scripture. YOU must take God at His Word.
Thank you for studying the Word. Our prayer for you is that you will allow God’s Word to be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. (Psalm 119:105).