How Do We Know We Are Saved?
Do you know the reason the Apostle John wrote his first epistle? It was for the explicit purpose of explaining how we know for sure that we are children of God. I John 5:12 and 13 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 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.” Let me emphasize again, “... 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....” Let’s traverse through this book of assurance and discover just exactly how we may know we are saved.
1. We know we are saved because God does not lie.
God says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). This great salvation is determined by what God has done and what God has said. Salvation was purchased by the precious blood of Jesus. After He died He placed His own blood upon the altar in heaven paying the supreme price for our redemption. The Bible says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12, 14). God said He would be faithful and just to forgive us our sins. If we ask Him to forgive us our sins in the sincerity of our hearts, He must keep His word. The Bible declares God to be faithful, He doesn’t lie, He cannot lie. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie...” (Titus1:2); “...in which it was impossible for God to lie...” (Hebrews 6:18). Salvation is real and will last throughout the ceaseless, search-less ages of eternity because of God’s faithfulness, not ours.
2. We know we are saved because of an earnest longing to do right with a power to do so.
The Bible says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:3-6). For someone who is genuinely saved, doing right is second nature. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).
3. We know we are saved because we love God’s people.
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (I John 3:11-14). My dad received Christ when he was thirteen under a beautiful tree on the grounds of Liberty Baptist Church. Later when he was a young man he became part of Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. While serving in this capacity, he fell into the wrong company and became involved with those things in which a Christian had no business. He came back to old Liberty Church and met with his former Sunday School teacher who had won him to Christ those many years earlier and Dad inquired, “How could I be saved and have done the things I done?” His teacher asked, “Julian, where do you belong? Did you enjoy living the life out there in the world, going to bars and suchlike or did you know in your heart that you belonged here with God’s people? Julian, where do you want to be -- here in church with God’s people or out in the world with those who hate God and His people?” Dad quickly answered that he wanted to be in church with God’s people, not in the world. The teacher smiled and offered Dad his hand and while shaking Dad’s hand he said, “Congratulations, Julian, you’re saved!” The teacher then quoted I John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
4. We know we are saved because of the inward witness of the Holy Spirit.
“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (I John 3:24). “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (I John 4:13). “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself...” (I John 5:10). Imagine someone moving into your house named John Smith and he stays with you for three weeks. Whenever you eat, he is at the table with you. When you go to work he goes with you. When you go to bed he wishes you goodnight and goes to sleep in one of your bedrooms. Then early one morning you say to your wife, “Do really believe John Smith is real, that he exists and has been living in this house?” Your wife would say, “Dear, are you feeling alright? He has been here for three weeks; you never step outside this house without him in your shadow. We never eat a meal without John Smith. Are you serious? Of course he is here!” The real person of the Holy Spirit of God moves into your heart and life the moment you are saved. He is with you wherever you go and everywhere you go. When you do right, He gives you inward peace. When you do wrong, you grieve Him and He lets you know it and He makes you miserable until you get right.
5. We know we are saved because of a personal experience.
“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. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:13-15). We are certain that it is the will of God to save sinners, for He said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). Therefore, if you pray in honesty and repentance and ask the Lord to save you, you can be sure He will save you. Let me isolate this beautiful phrase for emphasis sake: “...whatsoever we ask, we know that we have….” Salvation is not real until it’s personal. When we ask Him to save us, it becomes personal and by faith, according to His promised Word, He saves us and it becomes real!
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