How Do I Know That I Am Saved?
“How do I know if I am saved; can I know that I am going to go to Heaven when I die?” This is an age old question that both those who do and don't profess to be Christians frequently ask themselves and others, often in a great deal of distress and fear. There are a host of different answers that people give to others and themselves. There are often clergy (and others) who would point people to looking at the fruit of their lives for the answer to this question. They will ask them to look at things like how they typically react in a certain situation. Or perhaps ask them to look at what have they done for God. Perhaps they will ask them if they see any change in their life since their supposed salvation event. Perhaps in response they will ask the concerned person if they felt really, really sorry for their sins and repented of their sins hard enough when they said their sinner’s prayer. They may ask the questioning person if they have significantly stop sinning and stayed with it, no longer committing any of the “biggies,” as far as sins are concerned. They may ask if the person in question has given up a particular sin that they had notable trouble with before their supposed salvation event. They also may ask the person if they have completely surrendered and turned every single aspect of their life over service to God. They may ask if they are truly living in Holiness and/or obedience. This supposed “evidence” of salvation; “genuine repentance” for “true assurance” of salvation that are often tragically given to people, often from people in positions of church leadership. However, when looking closely at Scripture, no one could ever have assurance of salvation, if assurance of salvation were really based on such things, for a number of reasons. One reason I will point out for this is found in James 2:10, where James points out the fact that if we break one point of the Law, we are guilty of all of the Law.
In conveying the points that mentioned above, these folks often point to a model that can easily be summed as the C.O.P. “gospel.” The C.O.P. here is of course an acronym. The “C” is for commitment. The “O” is for obedience. The “P” is for perseverance. Folks ascribing to this sort of thinking will insist that evidence for salvation comes from commitment; nothing but total commitment. He or she will argue that if one is truly saved that their life will be one of total commitment to service for Christ. They will also argue that you will be living a life of total obedience to the teachings of Christ. They also will argue that you will be always persevering. Persevering, as in never giving up, or never having any sort of a possible low point in your Christian walk where you may feel far away from God, or you may temporarily fall into some sort of sinful behavior that you may have struggled with in the past, or maybe even pick up a new problem that you may have yet to deal with. Granted, a Christian should strive to live in commitment to Christ, in obedience to Christ, and should persevere. This is indeed the best way to live, without question, for numerous reasons. However if you will notice with everything that I've pointed here so far focuses on the person’s behavior, feelings, etc. In other words, all of these things are having you look at yourself for evidence of salvation, as opposed to looking at the FINISHED work of Jesus. The major problems with these proposed solutions is that you do not, and cannot save yourself and give yourself eternal life. Only Christ can save you and give you the GIFT of eternal life, which in no way, shape, or form can any man earn even a small part of. This is why it has to be a gift (see Romans 5:16-18 and Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8-9 for starters).
Evidence of salvation comes from, and is in the one who gives you salvation, who is NONE OTHER than Jesus Christ. That evidence is found in what Christ has put in his Holy Word for us. Scripture tells us in many places of the evidence that we have for our salvation. We will look at only a few of them in this article. If Christians were automatically going to live the kind of life that are that are exemplified in the C.O.P. gospel, the Epistles of Paul (the books of Romans through Philemon in the Bible) would never have been written, they would never have needed to be written, because Christians would automatically already be living perfectly and they would not need the instructions in order to do so. Paul wrote these epistles specifically to Christians.
There are a lot of people who supposedly know that they are saved (or at least that is what they will tell you), who are not saved, who are in for a very rude awakening, if they die in their current standing with the Lord. Jesus explains this very well and Matthew 7, verses 21 through 23.
Mat 7:21 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.
Mat 7:22 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?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
As we look at verse 21, it would seem to me that in order to have assurance of salvation; to know that we have eternal life in Christ, we had better figure out what the will of the Father is. It just so happens that the Bible is very clear about what that is. John 6:39-40 spell out the will of father.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
If you'll notice in verse 22 of our Matthew passage, these folks are boasting about what they have done for Jesus. They're even calling him Lord. Once again, they are looking at themselves for the reason that they should enter the kingdom of God, they are not looking at Jesus, who is the ONLY reason any man can be saved. Satan is very subtle in his trickery here. He does not care if you or I worship Jesus, serve Jesus, or follow Jesus, just as long as we never trust him. And in Nahum 1:7, God tells us that he knows those who TRUST him. Notice in verse 23 of our Matthew passage, he tells these people who are talking about themselves in verse 22 that He never knew them. They never trusted (believed on) Him, therefore He never knew them. John 6:40 very clearly spells out the will of the Father and makes it clear that those who have looked upon the Son (as in seeing Him for who He is; God the Son, the Lamb who was slain, the Alpha and the omega; the beginning and the end) and believed (fully trusted in) on Him may have (present tense) everlasting (never ending) life (not death).
So now back to initial question of this post; how do we know if we are saved? We know we are saved because of what Scripture tells us. For starters, if you look in the paragraph directly above (as well as the Romans passages mentioned further above), it is made pretty clear that salvation is a gift and that it is a done deal. Also, in Romans 11:29 we are told that God does not repent of (repent meaning to change His mind about) of His gifts and callings. Jesus also tells us in John 6:47:
Verily verily I say unto you he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
As in John 6:40, notice the present tense implied by “hath” in this verse. If the life that you have truly is everlasting, it means that it never ends and cannot be lost, otherwise it wouldn’t be everlasting. Jesus emphasizes this with “verily, verily,” which is the translation of a point being of extremely emphasized truth, as it is represented in the original language of the text. God doesn’t lie, He can’t lie. God is holy. One who is truly holy, as God is, cannot sin. Lying is a sin, God simply is incapable of sinning; making a mistake, because there are no mistakes in what is truly perfect, even unintentional mistakes. God is truly perfect. Also note in the Ephesians 1:13. The apostle Paul, speaking of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that when we believe the Gospel, that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. The language indicates that the Holy Spirit himself is the seal. That is not a seal is going to get broken. Also, notice it says promise. God doesn't break promises, breaking promises is a sin, and as pointed out already, God just cannot do that!
What is the Gospel? The Gospel is the good news. This message of good news is summarized very quickly and easily in 1st Corinthians 15 verses 1 through 4. It tells us that Christ died for our sins (paid for them) according to Scripture, that He was buried and rose again, according to the Scripture (defeating death). Do you believe on Jesus? Do you believe the Gospel? If so, you are saved. You are going to heaven whether you like it or not! Jesus tells I'll send John chapter 10 that no one will snatch us out of his hand. There are many more examples of scripture did make it clear that eternal life is received by believing on Jesus, and cannot be lost. Therefore, us, with our works, are not the evidence of our salvation. Jesus Himself, and His finished work (John 19:30) is the evidence of salvation for the believer. Should we be serving Jesus with all our heart soul and mind? Absolutely! However, we cannot do that at all, until we have unbreakable seal of the Holy Spirit, which sets us apart (or sanctifies us) for salvation.
Jesus tells us in John 10:28-29 that no man can pluck those who are His out of His hand (his sheep, those of us who have trusted in Him). That includes you. Again, if you have put your trust in Jesus, you are going to Heaven.
Jesus tells us that we find rest (Hebrews 4:3, Matthew 11:28-29) in Him. His yoke is easy his burden is light. He will also never leave us or forsake us. Our salvation is accomplished by Jesus alone. In Hebrews 1:3 it is made clear that Jesus purged our sins by Himself and then sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. If you have not done so, put your trust in Him right now, and receive this wonderful gift that God wants to give to you (2 Peter 3:9), that will not and cannot ever be taken away from you. He and His Word are how you know if you are saved. He, Himself seals the deal. God bless.
If you have more questions regarding this eternally important topic, PLEASE contact me. Also, this is dealt with additionally in Angles and Aspects of Salvation, here on this website.