How Can We be Sure of Salvation?
Uncertainty. That is a word that has come to define our world in pandemic. We are all getting first-hand experience in learning to trust God, to walk by faith and not by sight. When asked about their salvation many people will tell you something like this: “I think I’m a Christian” or “I try to be a Christian” or “I hope I’m a Christian.” These statements demonstrate uncertainty. A lack of confidence will not serve to inspire others or encourage someone to consider faith in Christ. Why are we so hesitant? How do we get from mere “trying” and “hoping” to a sure and certain trust? Blessed assurance is the birthright of every Christian. No believer needs to live life doubting the love of God for them.
Assurance of salvation is given to us in the Bible, the word of God. Jesus gave us this promise: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-30) Assurance is a matter of taking this promise of Jesus and daring to believe it. Even when we have dark and lonely feelings we trust in the words of Jesus because he said them to us. It’s not our feelings we are counting on, it’s the integrity of his word. He intended this promise to be a source of confidence to his followers.
Assurance of salvation is given to us directly by the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:15-16) This is an intimate personal experience and it is available to all Christians. The Holy Spirit whispers in your heart, “You belong to Jesus and He belongs to you now.” I remember when I first felt this whisper at age 15. He had been there for a long while, I just wasn’t listening. But when I caught it, what a difference it made. I’ve learned to listen to his witness every morning for he scatters my doubts and disappointments. The Holy Spirit witness has become the firm foundation of my life.
Assurance of salvation is given in the evidence of our words and deeds. “Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:4) If you notice yourself thinking twice about your language, if you notice yourself really looking forward to Bible Study, if you notice your self wanting to meet the needs of people around you, these are encouraging signs that indeed you are being saved out of your old way of life.
Assurance of salvation is given in the fellowship of believers. Paul said it, “I am longing to see you…so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:11,12) Many times my doubts and despair have been cleared away just by spending time in the company of my church. God intended it this way. Often when he wants to speak to us, he sends another person into our lives. That’s a good reason to show up for Sunday services when quarantine is over!