Saved? Are you sure?
In a world with so much change and instability, it’s sometimes difficult to have confidence in anything. Even in spiritual matters, our faith often fails to provide us with any real confidence in our eternity. The promise of salvation is certain and secure, but are you sure you’re saved? If you’re not sure, why not? If you are, how do you know?
In the Bible, the Lord is emphatic that we can be sure of our salvation and that we should be sure of our salvation! Our attitude does not have to be tepid, not wavering in anyway. When we look at some of the most preeminent people in the Bible, this is exactly what we find – real people with real confidence in the Lord’s grace. Consider some of the last recorded words of the Apostle Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Paul was sure. He was able to reflect on his life and say without doubting, without wondering, without any good reason to believe he might be mistaken, that he was saved. Other characters in the Bible shared in this conviction. Job said in Job 19:26: “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God…” David said in Psalm 118:14, “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” They understood their salvation to be secure, and we have every reason to believe that their persuasions were accurate. This is the nature of God’s people in the Bible – they are saved and the know it.
Evidences of our Salvation
These men in the Bible knew they were saved, but how? On what grounds can we also rest assured of our redemption? Unlike much of the teaching you’ll find in the religious world, the evidence of our salvation is not apparent through emotions, feelings, or a sensation of being saved. God’s not going to prove it through a vision or some supernatural experience. God tells how we know we’re saved and he describes it as plainly as possible in the Bible. The Scriptures offer a number of reasons why a Christian should have real confidence in his salvation. The evidence is built with several layers, each leading us towards the conclusion that we really are saved.
There is a God
First, to know that you’re saved you have to know that there is a God and he wants to save you – God has provided the evidence. The Lord has implanted in our hearts the knowledge of God and the need for something greater than ourselves. The Apostle Paul speaks on this very topic. Acts 17:25-27: “…He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, [Why?] 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…” God has arranged our world and this universe so that we might seek him and find him, realizing our need for his salvation. In another place, David says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). Similarly, Paul later says in Romans 1:19-20, “…what may be known of God is manifest… 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” God wants us to know him and so he makes himself known. He reveals himself in our hearts and in his creation.
God is Faithful
Just knowing there is a God is not enough to be fully persuaded. We have to also know that the God we see in our hearts and find in creation is the same God seeking to save our souls. We have to be convinced that we can trust in his plan of salvation. Again, God provides the evidence. Romans 15:8 is one of the most revealing passages on this subject. The writer says, “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers…” Our Lord’s life and death on the cross are crucial in many ways, but the issue addressed here is especially pertinent. Paul says that Christ became a servant to the Jews to prove the truth (or faithfulness) of God, confirming that God keeps his promises. The Lord provides the evidence that when he makes a promise it’s as good as done. For millennia he promised a Redeemer for the Jews. But not just that – he told us about his birth, about his life, and about this Savior’s death. He even explained when the Jews should have expected all these things to come to pass. And 2,000 years ago in perfect timing everything happened just like God said it would. No doubt, this God keeps his promises.
Last, we know we are saved when we choose to obey. John says in one of his letters to the churches, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:3-5). So how do we really know we’re saved? We look at our life and consider our character. We can know we are saved if in our decisions we work to serve God. We know we’re not perfect, but we can honestly say we are working diligently with a sincere conscience. Like Paul says, “…I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Know God, trust God, and obey God. Then you will be sure.
I am a member of the Riverside Road Church of Christ in Ozark, MO, where I share the responsibility of teaching and preaching with several other men. In my secular work, I am a professor at Cox College in Springfield, MO, in the department of radiologic sciences and imaging.