Assurance of Salvation, Do You Have It?
In other words, how to you know you are saved? Much confusion surrounds this issue, but you need to understand salvation and how to have assurance and peace in your heart.
Many who think they are saved, are not!
Many times, in my journey as a Bible teacher I’ve heard the question, “How can I tell if I am truly saved?” That is a great question deserving a thorough answer. We know from scripture that everyone who thinks they are saved are not. Let’s read what Jesus said.
“Not everyone 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.” – Matthew 7:21-23 KJV
This judgment scene is mind boggling. Imagine millions of people standing before the Lord Jesus believing they are saved. Proclaiming to the Lord all the wonderful things they did in his name. I believe that has some universal application to the church age. There are many today warming church pews, especially in America, that are playing church but not saved.
In the above verse, the Lord Jesus is not interested in all the good works they did in His name. He speaks to them, not about works, but about having a personal relationship with Him. Jesus commands them to “depart from me” because He never knew them. Does Jesus know you? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
It’s not about good works, but relationship.
They trusted in their good works, what they did for Jesus. Not realizing that to be saved you must have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s all about relationship. Yes, good works are important but not for salvation. Good works follow salvation as you walk with the Lord. But don’t make the same mistake as that crowd thinking your good works will save you, they will not!
You must believe.
To be saved you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or as the King James states, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some important verses.
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” – John 20:31 KJV
“And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” – Act 16:31 KJV
These are just two of the many verses that tell us salvation comes through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does it mean to “believe” in Jesus?
Is a simple acknowledgment of the historical facts about Jesus enough to save your soul? Facts like Jesus was a great teacher and moral example, he performed many miracles including raising some from the dead. That he died on the cross believing that he atoned for our sins. Is believing these and other facts about Jesus enough to save you? I think Not!
However, many today have fallen into this trap believing they are saved because they know something about the historical Jesus of Nazareth. The crucial factor here is not how much you know about Jesus, but do you know Jesus and does Jesus know you. An example might be that I know a lot of facts about the President but I do not know him personally and he does not know me. Just knowing the facts is not enough to have assurance of salvation.
What does it mean to believe for salvation? We know that believing just the facts is not enough. The Bible states that even the devils believe.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” – Jas 2:19 KJV
So, simple belief is not enough, although that is where we all must start. The devil has done an excellent job watering down the word “believe”. Let’s look at the 1828 Websters definition of “believe”.
“To credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of something upon the declaration of another, or upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by other circumstances, than personal knowledge. When we believe upon the authority of another, we always put confidence in his veracity.” Websters 1828 Dictionary.
To believe in Jesus is to be fully persuaded that He is the truth.
“To expect or hope with confidence; to trust. To believe in, is to hold as the object of faith. ‘Ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ John 14:1. To believe on, is to trust, to place full confidence in, to rest upon with faith. A yielding of the will and affections, accompanied with a humble reliance on Christ for salvation.” Websters 1828 Dictionary.
Webster goes on to say, “In popular use and familiar discourse, to believe often expresses an opinion in a vague manner, without a very exact estimate of evidence, noting a mere preponderance of opinion, and is nearly equivalent to think or suppose.”
Believe once meant to trust in, to place full confidence in and rest upon Jesus in faith. But the modern usage is very shallow and superficial. Exactly what we see in most modern churches in America.
Believe is often used interchangeably with trust. What does it mean to trust someone? If I were to say that I trust you with my wallet then how would I prove that statement? I would need to give you my wallet for a period of time trusting that you would take care of it and not take my money or use my credit cards for your own pleasure. To trust without the subsequent action is empty and meaningless.
How to we prove our belief and trust in Jesus?
When Jesus came the first time, He gave His life for us.
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” – Mat 20:28 KJV
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11 KJV
“As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. … Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” – John 10:15, 17 KJV
Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus gave His life for us. He died on the cross for our sins so through Him we can be saved and restored to fellowship with God the Father. If our salvation cost Jesus His life, then we show our trust in Him by giving our life to Him. We must completely surrender our life to Him. Have you given your life to Jesus. That is how you begin to know Him and He you. Your assurance of salvation comes through your relationship with Christ.
The Church Age
What must we believe and trust today during this present dispensation of grace? What is the true gospel for today? Paul states that clearly in 1st Corinthians.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” – 1Co 15:1-4 KJV
This is today’s gospel. Jesus died on the cross for our sin, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. That is what you must believe and trust in for salvation. You must entrust your life to Jesus in that His payment for sin on the cross was totally sufficient to cleanse you and restore you to fellowship with the Father. It is a matter of faith in Christ that He can and will save you from the fires of hell. It is not how much you know about Jesus, but have you trusted Him to save you?
Saved by Grace, not works or knowledge.
Salvation comes by the grace of God through your faith in Jesus Christ.
“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.” – Eph 2:8-9 KJV
Doing good works or deeds is a wonderful thing but that will not save your soul. As Paul states, you are not saved by works. Works are the keeping of the commandments of the law of Moses or simply honorable deeds and actions. Many people today claim that they are a “good person” and worthy of salvation based on their own merit.
Here are some passages about works or deeds:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. … Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” – Rom 3:20, 28 KJV
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” – Gal 2:16 KJV
Paul goes even further by stating that the law of Moses becomes a curse to those that try to keep it.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” – Gal 3:10 KJV
The law became a curse as no one except Jesus was able to keep the whole law. Everyone failed as we are plagued by our sin nature.
So, trying to do good works will not save you. Only by placing your faith and trust in Jesus can you be saved. It’s the same for knowledge. Knowledge is important and we need it but it alone will not save you. Knowing the details of the gospel of grace is only the beginning. If that knowledge is not followed by faith and trust in Jesus, then salvation is not gained.
The Gnostics of the late first century substituted knowledge for simple faith. One could come to “know” your way into the spiritual realm and salvation. A heretical blend of Judaism, Christianity and Greek philosophy claimed one could “know” your way to Christ. Your knowledge alone could save you. This is nothing more that another ploy by Satan to deceive people and keep them from true faith and salvation.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3 KJV
“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.” – 1 John 5:13 KJV
We that are truly saved can know we have eternal life. But, how do we know this other than the promise of the Word?
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” – Rom 8:16 KJV
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,” – Rom 9:1 KJV
As Christians, we have the internal witness of the Holy Spirit testifying to us that we are the children of God, we are saved and in right standing with the Lord. This is a real, tangible presence in your spirit and conscience that leads, convicts and grants peace and joy. We have the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Holy Spirit!
If you are saved, you are in Christ.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” – Rom 8:1 KJV
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Gal 3:28 KJV
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” – Eph 2:6 KJV
Christ in You
If you are saved, Jesus Christ is in you.
“To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” – Col 1:27 KJV
Faith in Jesus is our assurance of salvation.
Sealed by the Spirit
“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” – 2Co 1:22 KJV
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” – Eph 1:13 KJV
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Eph 4:30 KJV
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” – 1Co 6:19 KJV
So, as true Christians we are “in Christ” and Jesus Christ is in us. Also, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the Rapture and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
These are not a mere mystical presence, but a tangible spiritual presence that can be known, however slight the awareness and that still small voice. If you have the presence of the Holy Spirit, you can know it.
Sadly, most Americans are too busy with the affairs of this world to sense His presence as He is grieved by our affiliations with this world.
You can have the assurance of salvation via the indwelling Holy Spirit. He testifies with our spirit that we are saved and now children of God. Be still, search your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to witness with your spirit that you are saved. He will.
But if you lack the witness of the Holy Spirit then you need to check out your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Make sure it is based on faith and not intellectual knowledge only. Trust in Jesus to forgive your sin and give your life to Him for safekeeping from the fires of hell.
If you are concerned about the possibility of losing your salvation, visit my post here.