Assurance of Salvation
believe the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only
ground for justification and salvation for all who believe and only those who
receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and thus become children of
earlier chapters we looked at mankind’s separation from God. We have examined
just how Jesus Christ came to earth to love us, and restore us to fellowship
with God. We now ask the questions, what must I do to be saved, and how will I
know that my personal salvation has been secured? This is where we get down to
the nitty-gritty. It’s now just you and God. Let the distractions of the world
drop away for awhile and seek to understand with your mind and heart the gift
that has been given to us.
in the twenty-seventh Psalm, spoke of his need for a secure relationship and
position with God. He speaks of God as being both his light and salvation. God
is able to provide both guidance and protection for us as well.
Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom shall I fear?
Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
evil men advance against me, to devour my flesh,
my enemies and my foes attack me they will stumble and fall.
an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
war break out against me, even then I will be confidant.
thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: That I may dwell
the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the
of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of
he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the
of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
will sing and make music to the Lord.
my voice when I call O Lord; be merciful and answer me.
heart says of you, “Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.
not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;
have been my helper. Do not reject
me or forsake me,
God my savior. Though my father and
mother forsake me, the Lord will
me. Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path
of my oppressors. Do not turn me
over to the desire of my
for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
am still confidant in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord
the land of the living.
for the Lord; be strong in heart and wait for the Lord.
are now, at this moment, existing in one of two states. You either are, or are
not a child of God. If you are, the following will bring you comfort and joy. If
you are not a child of God, and you have read the earlier chapters, you should
be worried, because you have a fundamental problem. Do not despair however, God
through the person of Jesus Christ has made provision for you, personally, to
approach Him with joy and gladness, and not fear.
can I be saved
look at some examples from the books of Luke and Acts. These accounts are
meaningful to us because they present the plan of salvation in a nutshell. From
them we see that God does not intend for us to jump through a lot of hoops to
receive salvation. Remember forgiveness from God and fellowship with Him are
gifts that he wants to give us. Jesus has come to earth as a man for the purpose
of enabling us to have peace with God our Father.
23:39–43 “. . . Then he said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your
kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with
me in paradise.”
2:37–42 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to
Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter
replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus
Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far
off; for all whom the Lord may call.” With many other words he warned them;
and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted the message were baptized, and about three thousand were
added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
16:30–34 He then brought them out and asked, “Men what must I do to be
saved?” They replied, “Believe
in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved; you and your household.”
Then they spoke the words of the Lord to him and to all the others in the
house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds;
then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them
into his house and set a meal before them, and the whole family was filled with
joy because they had come to believe in God.
will discuss these events two times. First, using everyday language, and then
using some of the terms used by Christians to more fully describe the processes
of being saved.
thief on the cross had nothing to recommend him for salvation or a heavenly
reward. He had waited till the last
possible moment to contemplate his life. He recognized his guilt and had faith
in Jesus’ holiness and His place as King. All he had was faith and Jesus
granted salvation to him. He became
fit to live in heaven that very day.
we look at the crowd, and the jailer and his family. Before they were able to be
saved, they had to be exposed to the word of God. This took the action of God on
their behalf. Suppose that some of
the people in the crowd had missed the bus (chariot) that day and didn’t make
it to the town square? Suppose that the apostles had said “those guys are
laughing at us, this crowd may turn ugly, let’s get out of here”. Suppose
Paul and Silas had said “Throw us in jail will ya, well you can roast as far
as we are concerned.”
this didn’t happen to these people. They heard the truth and were moved to
action by it. They also recognized that they had a fundamental problem in
regards to a holy and just God. They
took immediate steps to assure their salvation. They repented of their sins and
people, upon hearing the word of God, accepted that they were in need of God’s
help. They believed that God had sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for them
personally. Remember that all of us have two things in common with the people in
the passages above. We are sinners, and we have heard the truth, God’s good
news to us.
your car starts to make a funny noise and you choose to ignore it. Your ignoring
the problem does not make it go away, or get it to the garage. In the same way,
hearing the Gospel needs to move us to action. The Holy Spirit will help you in
this by preparing you for the message but still you must make a conscious
action. You must repent of your sins and ask God for forgiveness from your
heart. No one else, not your family, or your church, or me, can do this for you.
You must ask for forgiveness for yourself, by yourself, with God’s help.
basic steps to eternal life and peace with God are.
Hear the Gospel (Good News).
Admit that you are a sinner.
Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
Through the help of the Holy Spirit and your conscious decision repent of your
sins and ask for forgiveness in Jesus’ name and welcome Him into your heart.
You do this through prayer.
you have any doubt of your salvation there is no reason to postpone it. If you
are unsure about your relationship with God and would like to have the security
of His promise to you then pray the prayer below now from your heart.
know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness.
I believe that Christ died for my sin.
I am willing to turn from my sins. I
now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.
I am willing, by God’s grace, to follow and obey Christ as the Lord of
10:13 says “For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.” Don’t go by your feelings but take God at His word. If you have
truly called upon God for forgiveness in your heart you have peace with God.
do you now, as of this moment have? 1 John 5:12–13 says “He that has the Son
has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I
written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know
that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of
God.” See John 10:28–29
knows your heart (in these contexts your heart is your conscious will and
personality) and will dwell there with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 3:16–17,
Romans 8:11, Galatians 4:6, and 2 Corinthians 1:21–22) He will guide you and
give you help and wisdom to live the Christian life now and forever.
use some technical terms to define the events and processes that together
describe the change a Christian experiences when becoming a child of God. Care
must be taken that we don’t get too excited about the terms, or the order, or
the steps. These terms are to be understood together as a unit and not
separately and out of context.
The word used for repentance in the Old Testament means to turn or return.
In the New Testament the word means a change of mind in relation to sin
and God. God sent John the Baptist before Christ in a call for repentance
(Matthew 3:2) and Jesus began His ministry in the same way (Matthew 4:17).
Repentance means that we realize both the holiness of God’s law and our
inability to keep it. Our deep emotions are involved in repentance, 2
Corinthians 7:8–11 tells us that “Godly sorrow brings repentance”.
Repentance is a deliberate, willful turning away from sin and following after
God. True repentance always leads to a change in conduct or attitude.
When we think of the word conversion we may think of things such as a conversion
van. As in the case of the aforementioned van, the process of conversion has
aspects of change and a new existence in the same shell or body. Conversion is a
change or a turning point in the life of the believer. “If anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things
have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
conversion we walk according to our own will and wisdom. After
conversion we follow the will of our Lord Jesus and defer to His wisdom.
Conversion means commitment to God in response to mercy from God, and consists
of repentance and faith.
It need not be dramatically sudden or emotional, nor does one have to be fully
aware of what is happening, although a conscious conversion usually proves to be
a blessing to the believer.
God sent Paul to convert the Gentiles He told Paul to “turn them from darkness
to light” (Acts 26:18). God is
still sending His messengers today to provide the light of the gospel to a world
in darkness. When we witness the truth of the gospel, it is to be in the aim of
helping them become a new person in Christ. When we have been turned towards the
light it is as if a veil or screen is removed from before our face, now we can
see clearly. (2 Corinthians 3)
Faith (or saving faith) is not the same as belief. In James 2:19 it says
“Even the devils believe that—and shudder”. Certainly Satan recognizes the
reality of, or in other words believes in, Christ but does not live by faith in
Christ. In the same way many people will make an outward profession of belief in
Christ but show no evidence of living by faith. True faith in the believer is
produced by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
a person can intelligently believe in Christ he must be aware of the guilt of
his sin. He must also know that God is righteous and judges sin. Since all of
mankind are sinners it brings the realization that there is no gift or act that
we can do to earn our salvation. (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8–9)
Therefore, salvation is by faith alone. Faith
that the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection are God’s final
judgment of the sin of the world. As we enter into salvation through faith in
Jesus Christ He becomes our sin bearer. John
1:29 states that Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of
faith is trusting Jesus Christ alone for salvation. It means resting upon Christ
alone and on what He has done rather than what I have done to get me to heaven.
This is the divine side of our change of heart. From the human side we call it
conversion. God takes the initiative in regeneration or rebirth, but we must
respond in faith. Read 1 John 5:12–13, and Ephesians 2:4–5. The concept here
is that as natural man we cannot understand or enter the spiritual kingdom of
heaven. What needs to happen is that we become born from above, or born again.
The term “born again” sometimes causes confusion. What it loosely means is
that God works a fundamental change in the state and condition of our human
essence. This new position is as a member of His family, He becomes our Father.
Our nature is changed so that we now desire to follow His lead and live
according to His precepts. The change is so profound that it is as if we were
born new and different from our original nature or “born again”.
Grace as it relates to salvation speaks of kindness bestowed on one who does not
deserve it. In grace the question is not whether or not a person deserves favor
or blessing, but only whether he has been judged to qualify for such a favor. In
Romans 3:24 Paul says that Christians “are justified freely by His grace
through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.”
In every instance where grace is mentioned it is entirely due to God’s
favor not human works. See also
Election has to do with certain persons or groups of people receiving God’s
grace. This choice is based on God’s sovereign pleasure and not on the value,
goodness, or disposition of those chosen. In the Old Testament God chose Abraham
and his descendants. In the New Testament 1 Timothy 2:3–4 states “. . . God
our savior, who wants all men to be saved. . .”. We know that “God so loved
the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall
not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We know that Christ’s death
was sufficient for all man’s sin, for all time (1 Peter 3:18).
and Foreknowledge. These are very difficult aspects of election to understand.
God, existing in eternally, is fundamentally different from us, who live in
time. We are used to a sequential existence of cause and effect. God is
omniscient, He is aware of all things at all times, from all times.
way to think of foreknowledge is in terms of a horse race. Suppose we were to
pick up today’s paper and find out which horse won yesterday’s race. We now
know that Beetlebaum won the 2:00 race, this is a fact that cannot be changed.
However knowing that does not in any way take away the need for Beetlebaum to
show up and run fast to win the race. In the same way God’s knowledge from the
beginning of time that you will, or will not, become a Christian does not take
away from the importance of your making your own decision.
do not understand why you have had the privilege of hearing the good news of the
Gospel while some others have not. We don’t know why some people suffer the
effects of war, or poverty, or disease while others do not. But the purpose of
the Bible’s teaching on election and predestination is for us to come to see
that salvation is all of God and not of ourselves. This should inspire devotion
and love to Christ in gratitude for God’s unfathomable love.
will happen to me when I’m saved
that this division is arbitrary, your salvation is a process and the new you is
not a paint by number drawing that starts in one spot and proceeds to the next
until you appear as a new Christian. Rather, the new person is created by the
act of God and illuminated for all to see by the power of the Holy Spirit.
are commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. There is a great deal
of conflict and difference of opinion on when and even how this is to be done.
We will look extensively at baptism in chapter 11. It is important to note
however that in almost all cases in the New Testament, acceptance of a belief in
and the sufficiency of Christ to save are followed by the believers’ baptism.
receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit acts as our counselor and guide. The
Holy Spirit makes plain what otherwise would be beyond our understanding. The
Holy Spirit equips us to do the work of God. We will study the Holy Spirit in
the next chapter (chapter 7).
become justified. Justification means that no sin remains charged to our
account. Christ took the punishment for all of our sin, not just for that up to
the point of when we became a Christian. We cannot be more or less justified,
but either are, or are not. Guilt is totally gone from the Christian, and gone
forever. Therefore, for the Christian, justification is past.
are sanctified. The Greek word is hagiasmos which is translated as
sanctification or holiness in the King James. Sanctification is the present
portion of salvation. This means that we are set apart from the world, and from
sin, so that we may have intimate fellowship with the Lord. Justification is
once for all, sanctification is a continuous process, from our acceptance of
Christ, right up to our death.
deals with the power of sin in the Christians life and there are degrees in
this. We are immediately set apart from the world and for God when we are saved,
however we do not become perfect. (Initial Sanctification) As soon as we are
indwelt by the Spirit of God, and all saved people are, we have available to us
the power of God to deal with our sin. Ideally we will continue to grow steadily
in godliness. (Entire Sanctification)
are glorified. This is our coming reward when we die or are caught up to heave
and the Second Coming of Christ. Here we join in Christ’s glory as His child.
In glorification the Christian escapes the power and presence of sin. God
through Christ will give us the ability to be like Christ and be in His presence
matter how we describe the wonderful gift of salvation, whatever words we use to
describe it, we cannot explain how our God loves us so faithfully. He has looked
for us when we least expected it, given eternal life to us who do not deserve
it. No sacrifice is needed on our part. We need only recognize honestly who we
are and who He is. He will then bless us with light and love, guide us here
while we live, and bring us home to the place He has prepared for us when we
following hymn is a favorite of many, and of mine.
It expresses the joy that we have in the wonderful gift we have received
from a wonderful Saviour.
Grace! How sweet the Sound
grace! How sweet the sound, that
saved a Wretch like me!
once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
precious did that grace appear. The
hour I first believed!
Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;
will my shield and portion be. As
long as life endures.
many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun,
no less days to sing God’s praise. Than
when we’d first begun.
Share something that you remember of your acceptance of Christ.
Have you shared with anyone what Christ means to you?
Tell us something of what happened if you did.
What would you tell someone who wanted to know why you were confidant of
your relationship with God?
If you have received the gift of salvation by the grace of God, prepare a short
Testimony of your personal experiences to share with others when the opportunity
presents itself. Jesus wants you to be
prepared to share about His work in your heart with others.
quotes (this and following) from the New International Version (NIV) of the
Holy Bible c 1978 New York International Bible Society
Printed by Zondervan Grand Rapids MI.
What You Believe pp 112-113 by Paul E Little c 1970, 1985, 1987 pub by
want to be a Christian pp 121-122 by J I Packer c 1977
pub by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL
We Believe pp 85-87 by John F Walvoord c 1990 pub by Discovery House
Publishers, Grand Rapids MI
Explosion revised addition, pp
36–39 by D James Kennedy c
1970, 1977. Published by Tyndale.