Assurance of our Salvation

You may be a Christian who has wondered or doubted about your salvation. Meaning you may have questioned whether or not you were really saved eternally. Without the real assurance of eternal salvation as a solid foundation, it is difficult for any Christian to grow and experience the deeper things of the Christian life. However the Bible says it is possible to know without any doubt that you are a saved person and have eternal life.

The scriptures that are found in 1 John give us that assurance. It is summed up with 1 John 5 v.13 when it states: “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.” Not that you think or feel, but that you may know.

If you ever asked yourself if your conversion experience is genuine, this test will help to answer that question. The letter of 1 John contains a very complete series of tests. The first covers the obedience to Christ and the second covers the belief in the truth.

Scriptures to determine if you are obedient to Christ (The following scriptures all come from 1 John)

  • If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 v.6-7)
  • By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (2 v.3-6)
  • The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (2 v.9-11)
  • The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (2 v.17)
  • If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. (2 v.29)
  • Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (2 v.29)
  • We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who does not love abides in death. (3 v.14)
  • Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. (3 v.19-20)
  • The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in Him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (3 v.24)
  • Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (4 v.7-8)
  • If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (4 v.12-13)
  • The one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him. (4 v.16)
  • If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. (4 v.20)
  • By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. (5 v.2)
  • 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. (5 v.13)

The scriptures clearly teach that it is possible to know whether you are saved or unsaved. The assurance of the believer is not based on feeling, (though the Christian may “feel” saved), but on the principles of God’s Word. We can know we are saved because Christ is in our hearts (Col. 1 v.27; 1 John 5 v.12), because of the witness of the Word of God (1 John 5 v.10-11), because of answered prayer (John 14 v.14; 1 John 5 v.14-15), because of our understanding of the Scriptures (1 John 5 v.20), because we keep His commandments (2 Cor. 5 v.17; 1 John 5 v.18), because we love the brethren (1 John 3 v.14), and because we have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8 v.16). Paul claimed to have this inner confidence and was fully persuaded concerning the keeping power of God in salvation (2 Tim 1 v.12).

As the first series of tests had to do with obedience to Christ, these have to do with belief in the truth.

The following scriptures all come from 1 John (except the last one)

  • If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 v.8-10)
  • Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (2 v.23)
  • We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit or error. (4 v.6)
  • Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (4 v.15)
  • Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and whoever loves the Father loves the one born from Him. (5 v.1)
  • The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (5 v.10-12)
  • Whosoever transgresseth, (sins) and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)

If you’re reading this and have once made a decision to become a Christian but are living a sinful life, you may have the feeling that you have lost your salvation. There are two things to consider:

God disciplines His children, and your desire as a person with a changed heart ought to be to follow Christ. If you are comfortable in your sin, if you do not long to return to a righteous life, or if you have never changed your behavior since you became a Christian, you were probably never saved. The solution then is simple, you must repent and believe.

Perhaps you surrendered your life to Christ and served Him faithfully for a while but then got lazy. You may have fallen into all kinds of sin since then. Now you are feeling guilty and something is drawing you back to God. This is evidence that you were genuinely saved, but it is not an excuse to stay in your sin!

When we were saved, not only did we receive something (eternal life), but we became something. We became children of God. A human father may be able to take back a gift he has given to his child, but he can never take back the human life that he gave. Although the child may misbehave, the child is still the father’s. In the same way we are God’s children. Even though we have weaknesses, and may require His discipline, our faults cannot change the fact that we are His children. God disciplines those that He loves. He is also a God who is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our faults and sins to Him. The life that we received from our second birth is eternal life, a life that through God will last forever. Once we are born again, we can never be “un-born”.



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