THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Assurance of Salvation
How do you know if you're saved?
By Joshua M. Spaulding
See Josh's blog at Eternal Answers
The topic of salvation has a tendency to cause division and strife like few other topics do within Christianity. Most people naturally tend to stay away from controversy, so they tend to speak very broadly about it. But what does the Bible say?
We read a discourse between the Lord Jesus and a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus in John 3 that gives us some insight. In verse three the Lord Jesus says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus seems to be surprised at Jesus' statement and asks, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" The Lord goes on to say, "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
Nicodemus, being a spiritual leader in Israel, should have seen the necessity of the rebirth in the Old Testament. Some of the specifics may not have been as clear, but salvation by grace, through faith, resulting in a changed heart should have been clear to those who read the Scriptures in humility with a softened heart.
Salvation could be seen in picture and prophesy in the Old Testament. We see pictures of Christ, and the salvation that He secured all those who trust in Him, in the substitutionary sacrifice of the ram caught in the thicket for Isaac (Genesis 22). We see salvation by grace through faith in the brazen serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness (Numbers 21:1-9). We see it in Naaman the leper who came to the prophet Elisha and after some complaining finally chose God's way and was cured of his leprosy (2 Kings 5). We see the necessity of salvation by grace, through faith all over the Scriptures.
The question, "Am I saved or not?" is one that we all need to have a settled answer on. The answer will determine whether we spend eternity with Christ in Heaven or away from Him in hell. We must get this right!
So, how do you know?
When it comes to salvation, the Word of God is where we need to go as our authority. Secondary to that, we can also look into the salvation testimonies of great Christians throughout history and compare theirs to our own.
The Word of God says in 1 John 1:6, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice 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."
We read in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..."
A heart that has been regenerated by God, through Christ, will produce fruit.
1 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
If you have been born again you are literally a new creature. You will hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). You will desire the things of God more and the things of the world less. There will be a moment in time, a day, when you were changed. When peace came into your heart...when something happened...when the Holy Spirit came into your heart.
There are three things that are consistent with all salvation testimonies:
1. A struggle with sin.
We are saved from the penalty of sin the moment we first believe. If we weren't struggling with sin, any day we think may have been our day of salvation, is not truly it.
2. Peace coming into the heart at a moment in time.
Salvation is not about the feeling, but there certainly is peace that comes into the heart when your sin is forgiven and the Holy Spirit takes up residence.
Charles Spurgeon described that moment like this:
That happy day, when I found the Saviour...I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of my spirit at that hour...I thought I could have sprung from the seat on which I sat, and have called out..."I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!" (C.H. Spurgeon's Autobiography; Public Domain)Charles Wesley speaks of this moment in an old hymn that goes like this:
Long my imprisoned sprit lay; fast bound in sin and nature's night; thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.John Wesley describes his moment like this:
Someone read from Luther's Preface to the Epistle to Romans. About 8:45 p.m. while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. (The Journal of John Wesley; Public Domain)3. Drastic change afterward.
The fruit of the Spirit is a direct result of this change within. Though a Christian is not perfect and will gradually grow over time after conversion, salvation in itself is not a gradual process. It is something that happens in a moment in time the moment you first believe. But "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17), and that new heart causes a person to love Christ more and more and to love sin and the world less and less.
So how do you know if you're saved? In short, if there was a day in your life when peace came into your heart during a struggle with sin and you have been a new creature ever since. If those two things are true for you, you should have confidence in your salvation.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Image used by permission
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life
comments powered by Disqus