“How can I know for sure that I’m saved?”
If you’ve ever asked this question, you’re not alone.
It’s not uncommon for people who have, at one time, made a profession of faith in Christ to need assurance of their salvation at some later point in their lives.
After all, we know how high the stakes are, don’t we?
And we also know there’s no margin for error.
Jesus Himself said:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
I sure don’t want to be one of the ones who have been so deceived about such a critical matter, and I’m guessing you don’t either.
So how can we know for sure?
Here are some steps to work through if you’re experiencing a season of doubt about your salvation.
How to Know for Sure That You’re Saved
1. Spend time in prayer.
God does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). So I know without a doubt that He doesn’t want earnestly seeking people to be deceived about the state of our hearts before Him. Ask Him to lead you through this process, and beckon His Spirit to either convict your heart that you’re not saved, or confirm that you are.
2. Study the biblical book of 1 John.
This little book almost at the very end of the Bible offers an invaluable description of what a Christ-follower’s life looks like. It’s not meant to be a “to-do list” for you and I to complete as a means of earning our salvation. Instead, it’s a vividly painted picture of what a Christian becomes by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
A word of caution: this book is an easy read. But while a quick read-through might help as an introduction to the book, I don’t recommend that you stop there.
Instead, take your time examining each verse. Pick up a spiral notebook and record in your own words every description you see of the Christian life. This may take several days or even weeks – that’s okay! The speed doesn’t matter one bit; it’s thoroughness and thoughtfulness that matters here.
For example, your entries for I John 1:6-8 might look like this:
1:6 – Christians do not walk in darkness.
1:7 – Christians walk in the light, have fellowship with other Christians, and are cleansed from their sin.
1:8 – Christians don’t deny their sins, but admit them.
When you finish this exercise for the entire book, go back through, and prayerfully consider each element. Compare your life to the one described in I John. What are the consistencies? What are the discrepancies? Take care of any unfinished business God reveals by His Spirit through His Word.
3. Stake your claim.
I said it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: God doesn’t want the state of your soul to be a mystery to you. In fact, He’s made many statements and promises about this very thing.
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. I John 5:12-13
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:14-17
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. John 10:27-30
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. John 6:47
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Acts 16:31
Are you convinced yet?
One of the most important things we can do to eliminate fear and doubt is to choose to believe God. His Word trumps your feelings. It trumps the lies touted by the world. It trumps the enemy’s voice whispering in your ear.
Romans 10:9 tells us that if we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.
I can’t explain it.
I can’t deserve it.
I can’t get over it.
But I absolutely believe it.
Because I believe Him.