How Can I be Assured of My Salvation?

How can you be assured of your salvation? Should you look to a past event like walking an aisle, saying a prayer, or being baptized? Is it found in a hyper-spiritual activity such as speaking in tongues. How about church membership? Does it seal the deal when it comes to assurance of salvation?

While all the above can hint at one’s salvation, they don’t necessarily mean someone is saved. You can walk an aisle, say a prayer, be baptized, join a church, and even act as if you are speaking in tongues, and not be a Christian. I don’t believe, then, that any of the above provides the assurance many want and desire.

How Can I be Assured of My Salvation?

The Bible, however, doesn’t leave us high and dry when it comes to the question of assurance. While I can’t provide every biblical reference related to assurance in this post, here are a number of them paired with 7 questions to ask yourself. As you work through these questions, notice the continual nature of each question.

1. Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?

  • Colossians 1:23 —> Do I continue to trust that Jesus is my Savior who has repaired my relationship with the Father by dying in my place? See also Hebrews 3:14 and John 3:16 where “Believes” is continual, meaning you continue to believe.

“if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Col 1:23)

2. Is their evidence the Holy Spirit is at work in my life?

  • Galatians 5:22-23 —> Fruit of the Spirit. Do I sense these in myself? Can others see them?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Ga 5:22–23)

3. Do I continue to believe and accept sound doctrine?

  • 1 John 2:23-24 —> What you heard from the beginning is the teachings about Jesus, God, Sin, Man, and Salvation found in God’s Word.

“No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (1 Jn 2:23–24)

4. Do I continue to read and delight in God’s Word?

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 —> Does knowing that God’s Word provides everything you need for life and godliness regularly drive you to Scripture?

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Ti 3:16–17)

5. Do I continue to abide in Jesus?

  • John 15:4, 7 —> Abiding not only means that you continue to trust Jesus, but you fellowship with him regularly in prayer, worship, and Bible study.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me….If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:4,7)

6. Do I continually live in obedience to God’s Word?

  • 1 John 2:4-6; 3:9-10, 24; 5:18 —> You will never be perfect in this life, but do you strive to live for and like Christ?

“Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 Jn 2:4–6)

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 Jn 3:9–10)

“Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” (1 Jn 3:24)

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 Jn 5:18)

7. Do I continually love my neighbor?

  • 1 John 4:7-8 —> If you don’t love your neighbor, then you haven’t experienced God’s love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn 4:7–8)

Question for Reflection

  1. After working through these texts, do you have a greater sense of assurance?

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Christians Don’t Just Accept Truths About Jesus, They Have A Desire To Know Jesus

Every week I gather with a few faithful men to read and study God’s Word. We meet at a local IHOP, sit at the same table, and are served by the same waitress. While it is a routine meeting in a routine place, we have learned truths about God’s Word that have made our life anything but routine. It’s amazing how a simple study designed around the reading and studying of God’s Word can change your life. But it’s the Bible we are talking about, so that shouldn’t shock us too much.

Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer

As of late, we have been working through the book of John. Today we started working through Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in chapter 17. If there was ever a chapter that was packed full, it is this one. In fact, this chapter is a theological factory that’s doing no less than pumping out deep truths about Jesus, salvation, our mission, and eternal life.

Eternal Life and Being a Christian

I don’t know why, but verse three landed hard on me this morning. It really got the wheels turning. There Jesus tells us what it means to have eternal life. He says,

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3)

According to Jesus, eternal life involves us knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ.

Sadly, that truth is not emphasized by many preachers. Instead many teach a watered down gospel which involves nothing more than someone gaining their “fire insurance” by raising their hand, walking an aisle, filling out a card, or accepting some blanket truths about Jesus.

Sure, we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who has come on a rescue mission to seek and save the lost. We need to believe He died on the cross for our sins, resurrected on the third day, and will return to set things right. We need to admit we are sinners, repent of our sin, and turn to God. I don’t want to downplay any of those truths and actions. We need to believe and do those things in order to be a Christian. But that is just the beginning, not the end of our Christian walk. Those beliefs and actions serve to bring us into a relationship with God that should be continually nurtured and deepened.

Being a Christian, then, involves more than raising our hand, walking an aisle, being baptized, or even accepting some truths about Jesus. Being a Christian involves a desire to know God, to have a relationship with Him.

A Christian’s Desire

Pushing the envelope a bit further, we can also say that being blessed, experiencing joy, and seeing loved one’s in heaven is just a by-product of our relationship with God. If you have come to Christ out of a desire to gain those things instead of a desire to know God, you may need to ask yourself if you truly are saved.

You see, if you are a Christian you will have a desire for the things of God. You will  have a desire to fellowship with God’s people, to worship Him, to learn more about Him, to read His Word, and to pray to Him. In other words, you will have a desire to continually deepen your relationship with God and Jesus in an effort to get to know more about Him.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you have a desire to know more about God?
  2. Do you have a desire to deepen your relationship with Jesus?

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Can anyone, no matter how evil, be saved?

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Ti 1:15)

Calvin comments:

“He shews that it was profitable to the Church that he had been such a person as he actually was before he was called to the apostleship, because Christ, by giving him as a pledge, invited all sinners to the sure hope of obtaining pardon.

For when he, who had been a fierce and savage beast, was changed into a Pastor, Christ gave a remarkable display of his grace, from which all might be led to entertain a firm belief that no sinner, how heinous and aggravated soever might have been his transgressions, had the gate of salvation shut against him.”

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you believe that anyone, no matter how evil they are, can be saved?

Resources

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Quote from John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 38–39.