May 2, 2012
How do I know I am saved?
Last week a reader raised important questions about assurance of salvation — “How do I know I am saved?”
Yesterday I posted part one of my response, and today I’m going to post part two.
I’ll just dig right in from where we left off yesterday.
When God saves you He creates in you a brand new nature which turns from everything else to trust Jesus to forgive you, change you, guide you, and satisfy you in Himself.
Only saved people turn from everything else to trust Jesus.
So that’s the best way to gain assurance — by turning from everything else to trust Him.
But what about I John 2:3?
John says we know we’ve been saved because we keep God’s commandments (1Jo 2:3).
This troubles you, because John says saved people don’t always keep God’s commands (1Jo 1:8).
So how can this verse give you any assurance? What level of obedience do you need to be sure you are saved?
Maybe this will help — when John talks about God’s commands he’s talking about trust in Jesus (which results in love for others) (1Jo 3:23).
But as we saw yesterday, trusting Jesus shows you are saved, because only believers trust Jesus.
So how can you know you are saved? By turning from everything else and trusting Jesus to forgive, help, guide, and satisfy you in Himself.
That’s keeping God’s commands — and that shows you are saved.
(That’s also the answer to your question about 1Jo 2:6 — “walking in the same manner that Jesus walked” is another way of describing keeping God’s commands. John is talking about the faith and resulting love which only believers have.)
What about Matthew 7:22?
You say this verse haunts you, because people who prophecy and work miracles are clearly doing the commands John says show salvation (1Jo 2:3) — and yet they end up finding out they are not saved.
So if these people can end up not saved — how could you ever be sure you are saved?
But I think you misunderstand Matthew 7:22. These people are NOT doing the commands John says show salvation.
John says that what shows salvation is trust in Jesus (resulting in love for others) (1Jo 3:23). So if anyone trusts in Jesus — he or she is saved — and is known by Jesus.
But the miracle-workers in Mat 7 aren’t known by Jesus — which shows that they are not trusting Jesus.
Does it shock you that miracle-workers might not be saved? That’s Jesus’ point.
He wants us to understand that someone can have supernatural power and not know Christ (just like Paul said people could prophecy and work miracles without love — 1Cor 13:1-3).
So assurance of salvation is not based on supernatural power — it’s based on turning from all else to trust Jesus. When we do that we can know we are saved and are known by Christ.
What about 1 John 2:15?
John says if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you (1Jo 2:15).
This troubles you, because you love food and clothes and TV. So does that mean God’s love is not in you — that you are not saved?
Let’s take my love for lasagna. There’s two different ways I can love lasagna.
I can love lasagna less than God and because of God — letting it point me to God’s goodness in creating taste-buds and cheese and Italian sausage so I love and trust God even more.
That would show I am saved — because only saved people love and trust God.
But I could also love lasagna more than God and instead of God — setting my heart on lasagna and seeking my joy in lasagna. In that case love for lasagna doesn’t increase love for God — it squeezes out love for God.
So what happens if I continue loving lasagna (or anything else) more than God and instead of God — and don’t turn from lasagna to trust Jesus to forgive me, change my heart, give me desire for Him, and satisfy me in Him?
I might still be saved. But until I turn from lasagna to trust Jesus — I could not have assurance of salvation.
So — if I love lasagna or TV or anything else more than God and instead of God —
How can I know I am saved?
It’s by turning from lasagna and TV and everything else to Jesus — trusting Him to forgive me, change my heart, strengthen my faith, give me desire for Him, and satisfy me in Him.
(I give steps I have found helpful in yesterday’s post.)
When we do that — we can know we are saved. Because only saved people turn from everything else to trust Jesus.
And — here’s the beauty of Christ’s love — when we turn to trust Him, weak as we are, sinful as we are, wavering as we are — He will run to us.
He will welcome us and forgive us. He will free us, change us, strengthen us, and satisfy us.
And we’ll wonder why we ever loved anything more than Him.
Let me know if this helps.
It’s an honor to pursue this with you.
Questions? Comments? Feedback?
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
How To Be Forgiven by God
A Spiritual EKG For Your Heart
My 10 Favorite Bible Verses on Faith
The Bible and Liquid Plumber
(Picture from everystockphoto by a_kartha.)