Can I Know if I’m Saved?
the·ol·o·gy noun : the study of God
I decided I would stick around after youth group.
As my youth pastor picked up trash and straightened chairs, I shuffled toward him.
"What’s up, Erin?" he asked.
"I just don’t feel like I’m saved," I said. "How can I know for sure?"
I’d had this same conversation with my youth pastor before. Lots of times. And with my parents. And with my Christian friends. Every time I heard a sermon on heaven or hell or salvation I wondered, Am I really saved? Honestly, their answers never did much to ease my fears.
I can say from experience that living the Christian life with that much doubt isn’t fun. It leads to fear, worry, and anxiety and can rob us of joy and peace. It’s a roller-coaster ride you don’t have to buy a ticket for.
First John 5:11–12 says, "And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this is life in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."
We have a tendency to overcomplicate things. John says if we have the Son (Jesus) we have eternal life.
And here is the icing on the cake.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life (v. 13).
Your salvation doesn’t need to be a guessing game! Here are four questions to ask the next time you doubt your salvation.
1. Do I understand the gospel?
Part of the reason we decided to spend an entire month on the gospel is because it is possible to hear the gospel and somehow misunderstand it. When that happens, we are bound to question if Jesus really saved us from our sins.
2. Do I think salvation depends on me?
If you secretly think you have to earn your salvation, you are destined for a lifetime of doubt. Every time you sin or fall short of God’s standards, you will wonder if God has retracted His offer for salvation because He is disappointed in you.
Romans 5:15–16 says, "But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification."
Why do you think Paul saw fit to mention the "free gift" four times in four sentences? I bet it’s because he knew we would get gospel amnesia and that we would forget that salvation is a free gift Jesus offered us, not something He expected us to earn. (Get it? It’s FREE!)
3. Do I think feelings are facts?
One day you’re feeling totally pumped about your Christian life, the next you can barely muster the energy to read your Bible. One day you feel totally confident in God’s love for you, the next you doubt how He could ever love someone like you. One day you feel ready to do whatever God calls you to. The next day you’re riddled with fear about God’s plans for your life.
Feelings are a terrible barometer for the truth. Instead, build your confidence on the promises of God’s Word.
4. Am I listening to good teachers?
There are several places in the New Testament where the confidence of believers’ was shaken because of false teachers. The apostles often wrote to them offering assurances and pointing them back to the truth of the gospel (see Rom. 6, Gal. 1, 2 Pet. 2:1, and Jude 1:3–4).
If you are dealing with chronic doubts, make sure that the books you are reading, podcasts you are downloading, and sermons you are listening to are backed by God’s Word.
Are you a doubter? If so, I’d love to hear your answers to these four questions, but I also want to give you a very practical homework assignment.
Will you write out this verse on a card or piece of paper and put it somewhere where you can see it often? Ask the Lord to marinate your heart in this truth in the days to come.
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this is life in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:11–13).
Written by Erin Davis
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