“Am I saved?” you ask yourself. We’ve discussed in these blogs the idea of once saved always saved (OSAS). So now let’s look as the bigger question: can you know that you are saved. John put it this way:
1 John 5:13 (NET)
I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
“So that you may know,” John wrote. He tells us that we can know.
30 Then he brought them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.”
What must we do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus. That’s it. There is nothing about works (although they are important), nothing about repenting from sin (although that is important), nothing about keeping yourself saved (for you can’t; only Jesus can). The problem I think people have is that when they believe in the Lord Jesus, they just don’t feel like they are saved. (Another problem is people who think they are, but are not. I think that if you are reading this, then this parenthetical does not apply to you.). People who don’t think they are truly saved (when they actually are) will feel that God didn’t hear them, God didn’t forgive them or possibly that they have committed the unpardonable sin and thus God simply won’t forgive them.
You have to understand one thing: except for your free will acceptance of this free gift, you have nothing to do to secure your salvation. It is all about Jesus and what He did for you. Jesus died for you. Paid for your sins, took them upon Himself and carried them away. He now stands before the Father and answers to each and every accusation that Satan makes against you. Satan might say “look at that sin.” Jesus will respond “Father, look at my Blood; I paid for that one.” You see, God demands justice for sin. His wrath burns great against sin. And no one can clean this through works (of the law). Only Jesus Blood cleanses our sin; and all who believe in Him are declared righteous.
20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Justified by Grace through redemption. Justified. “Just as if I’d” never sinned. You are justified freely (v24). Freely. You didn’t earn it. You don’t continue to pay for it. You don’t perform works of repentance to continue to have it. It is free — by His Grace. Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath against the sin in you.
1 John 4:2-4
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Do you confess Jesus as the Christ? Verse 4: you are from God. Why? Not because of your own work, but because He who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior God was faithful to save you. And then you were regenerated, changed. You were robed in righteousness and don’t let anyone tell you that you can lose that. For once you are redeemed, God owns you and you are not your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
You were bought for a price (v20). You belong to God now. You are not your own. And you are not required to maintain your salvation: God will do this. You are in His hand now and He will keep you.
So, knowing that you are saved, as shown in 1 John 4 above is seen by your confessing and professing that Jesus is Lord and that He came to earth in the flesh to die on the cross for you. The demons know this, but cannot confess this. The lost know this but cannot confess this. They may be able to say words similar to this, but they do not mean it. If they meant it and understood it, and what such understanding does to their knowledge of their eternal future, they would not stay lost. They have an intellectual knowledge, perhaps, of the Gospel message, but they do not have it in their heart. They don’t believe fully in the message.
When you are saved the Holy Spirit comes to be your helper. He comes to live inside of you (your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 6:19). He guides you. When you choose to do something that is against the will of God, the Holy Spirit’s small still voice whispers to you to turn around and walk back to God — in other words: repent.
This act, though, is not salvific. That is, it has nothing to do with your salvation but rather has everything to do with your obedience.
Let me put it another way. Imagine a father with his two year old boy. The father tells the boy to come to him. The boy chooses to disobey and walk away from him. Does this act of defiance cause this young boy to not be the son of the father any longer? If the boy continues to disobey (after the father’s longsuffering patience) will the boy eventually not be the son of the father any longer? If the boy, when he grows up, decides to run away and choose to “disown” the father, does he then stop being the father’s boy? No, he does not. The father will be waiting for the boy to come to his senses and come home.
So back to you and your ability to know that you are saved. John shows us that we will want to do God’s will. We have been changed and are currently in a process called sanctification. This is an ongoing change in you as you grow stronger in God’s Word and His Will. Your desire to walk in God’s commands, His Will, the same way that Jesus’ did the Father’s will should be in you. John told us:
1 John 2:3-6
3 Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. 4 The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. 5 But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. 6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.
Now, understand that we are not under the law any longer. Paul tells us this (Romans 6:14). But when we speak of God’s commandments we are speaking of His eternal Will, which certainly went into making the law, but we do what God would have us do because we have been changed and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, choose to chase after God and His Will in our lives. If this is in you, then you can be assured that you are saved. If someone does not desire to do God’s Will, then they are not. Be careful judging people, though, for they may be going through a period of rebellion — like the two year old who wouldn’t listen to his father. If you find yourself rebelling, running away, but yet lay in bed, perhaps, at night having conversations with a God that you are sure you no longer believe in… well, guess what?
You see, in rebellion it was you who walked away from God. And it was God (the Holy Spirit) who went with you and never left you. David told us in the Psalms that he could make his bed in hell itself, and God would be right there with him. Think about that. God won’t leave you.
When your faith is true you will do what God wills. You will show His love through your actions, your works, and in your life. When you are saved you will walk in His love. You may rebel from time to time, but the Holy Spirit will lead you back. God has never left you.
Remember that once you accept the gift of salvation, your continued salvation is only dependent on Jesus Christ standing before the Father defending you. We have an advocate with the Father, and that is Christ Jesus. And because of your salvation, the Holy Spirit walks with you, guiding you and through Him you will see evidence in your life of His presence. In this you can be assured that you are saved.