Response To Question “How can one know he is saved”
Dear Patrick Eze,
Thank you for your letter. You have asked a very important question with regards to how a person can know they are saved. First of all I would say to you that it is important to realize the Bible does teach that a person can know for sure, “now” and that you do not have to wait until you die to find out for sure. Once you die it is too late to do anything about it and also you will have missed the joy and peace that salvation brings to a person that knows in his heart that his soul is secured with God.
Jesus said in John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The important things to understand about this verse are:
Hearing and believing on Jesus as the Son sent from God to make a way of salvation for lost man is the only way to obtain eternal life.
Eternal life IS salvation, because what could be greater than to be delivered from death and never again be “dead in sin and separated from God”?
Once saved, the person will NOT (ever!) come into condemnation. Therefore a saved person cannot be lost once he is truly saved. If he could be lost, (spiritually die again) Jesus was not telling the truth when he said he gave us “eternal life”. To believe anything else does not put ALL of you trust in Jesus, but instead you are trusting in yourself to “hold on to and not lose” your salvation. That is wrong!
Salvation (eternal life) is a present possession, not just a future possession, because Jesus said “is passed from death unto life” and that means it happens now, not sometime in the future. Yes a saved person’s body will die, but his “soul” remains alive unto God through his attachment to Jesus and can never be separated.
The Apostle John, who recorded Jesus words which I quoted above, said in his 1st letter to a young church, full of new Christians “1Jn 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. So John tells us it IS absolutely possible to know that we do have eternal life, and the evidence of that life is in our “belief” in Jesus as the source and keeper of it. Let me again point out that when we talk about “belief”, we are not just talking about what we think in our mind, but rather what we have experienced in our heart that has altered the way we live. That belief in Jesus now becomes the force which affects all of our actions and around which we center all of our life. It is a “trust” which is so strong that we rely on Him rather than ourselves to deliver us safely from the “wrath of God” which will fall on all men who have “not believed the record that God gave of his Son” 1 John 5:10.
So we see that it ISpossible to Know that you are saved. To answer your question, “how can one know he is saved”, I think you are really asking “how can ‘I’ know that ‘I’ am saved”.
First and foremost, have you had an experience with Jesus that brought about a Godly sorrow in your heart for your sins and then in great remorse and sorrow for those sins, have you believed and trusted in Jesus as the ONLY way of escape from the consequences of your sins? If you have truly done that, then the evidence of that repentance and trust is that God has removed the guilt and sorry you felt and replaced it with joy and peace in your heart. You mentioned that some people believe that the evidence of salvation is because you feel “low self esteem”. There should indeed be a knowledge of unworthiness that makes us more appreciative of God’s great love and gift to us, but that is not the “evidence”. The evidence is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart that brings “joy unspeakable” and “peace with God” Do you feel these things?
Secondly, if you know for sure in your heart that you have had that personal experience and that the Holy Spirit has removed the trouble you had and replaced it with peace and joy, then Jesus said “you have passed from death unto life”. So why would you doubt it? Do you not trust His word and His power to keep you? Paul said in Romans 8: 35 “who hall separate us from the love of Christ?....” To doubt that He can keep you is to subject yourself to great misery all the days of your life. To trust Him and Him alone is to experience joy, comfort and peace.
And so it all comes back to YOU! Only YOU can know in your heart. If you are still unsure, go back to Jesus and continue to seek Him until YOU are satisfied. And when you are satisfied, “let the peace of God rule in your heart”. Do not be satisfied with doubt and do not take other men’s word for it. Trust only in that assurance which comes directly from God through the Holy Spirit. In America we sing, “My God Is Real for I can feel him deep in my soul”. That is how you know.
I hope this letter helps.
His unworthy, but “joyful” servant,
Elder Danny Chandler