What is Assurance of Salvation?
We are Responsible for Our Own Salvation
What is assurance of salvation? As we study the book, “Life in the Body of Christ” together during ABF, we learn that we are responsible for our own salvation. In other words, our pastor, our parents, our friends, or our spouse will not be held accountable on the day of judgment for our salvation … we will be. So then, let us examine ourselves and see if we have saving faith.
Assurance From Having Christ as the Object of our Faith
We can have assurance of salvation if Christ is the object of our faith. The object of our faith is what we direct our faith towards. The content of our faith is based on the words God has given us. God has revealed He is a merciful and compassionate God, full of grace and truth. God’s magnificent, enduring, abounding love is made manifest toward us through Jesus Christ. It is of primary importance that the object of our faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The “treasure in the field” and the “pearl of great price” must be Jesus Christ. We must recognize the total dependency for our salvation, sanctification, and coming glorification, rests entirely upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and not upon anything we have done. It is Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone.
God’s justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus’ flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God “justifies the wicked” (ungodly: Rom. 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Rom. 4:1-8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone “the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 1:17, 5:17; Phil. 3:9) and thus become “the righteousness of God” in him who was “made sin” for them.
Assurance from the Demonstrations of God
We have assurance of our salvation by the testimony of what God has already done. God gives assurance through past demonstration. We know by the Bible’s testimony whatever God says He will do comes to pass. Because of the testimony of past grace, we can rely on future grace. God gives assurance of resurrection by raising Christ from the dead (Acts 17:31). God demonstrates His love by giving His son to die for us (Romans 5:8). He who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). We can know God will be faithful to us in the future because of God’s faithful demonstrations to us in the past. As stated in Numbers 23:19, “Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
Assurance From the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
We can have assurance of our salvation because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God places in us His guarantee of our future inheritance by way of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). We are sealed with the Holy Spirit upon our belief in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14; II Corinthians 1:21). The Holy Spirit strengthens us and enables us to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” It is the work of the Holy Spirit which brings about character traits that we were incapable of exhibiting before we became a new creature in Christ. God completes an ongoing sanctifying work in His children. The Bible makes it clear that when we, old or young become a Christian, there will be a change of direction in our life. We are not perfect; but we are different. We will not be all we should be, we will not be what we would like to be, but we will not be what we used to be!
Assurance From the Word of God
We can have assurance of our salvation because we trust the Bible to be true. The Word of God is where we gain the most assurance. God’s Word will reveal to us the nature of being born again. It reveals tests (e.g., 1 John) that we may know if our faith is real. In the Word of God, we also see the character of our Heavenly Father and His compassion, mercy, lovingkindness, grace, and love. We see the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises and to never lie. In the Word of God, we hear of the salvation found only through faith in Christ, we can know because of the surety of God to His Word that our salvation is real and we can have assurance that it will come to pass.
Three Steps for Assurance in the Believer
We cannot look into our own heart. The heart is deceitfully wicked. Because of this, we may not gain assurance from other people regarding our salvation. What the believers in Christ may do is look at three areas in their life to determine if they may have assurance that their faith is real. They are as follows:
1) Confession of faith – The Bible says we must make a confession in Christ (Roman 10:9) and it must be from the heart, not just lip service. Confessing your faith in Christ alone, the person and work of Christ, is a saving confession.
2) Present-day faith – The book of John uses present tense verbs of belief. For example, John 3:16 translated literally says, “… that whoever is believing.” Likewise, John 3:36, “whoever is believing in the Son.” Having “present day” faith gives us assurance. We cannot put our faith in a profession of faith we made a few years ago. Our faith must be real and active today.
3) Obedience of faith – We willingly obey the commandments of God (1 John). We may not do so perfectly, but there is desire for righteousness in our lives and a repentant spirit when we don’t obey. Having the desire and willingness to follow Christ gives us assurance.
If you read this and have assurance of your faith, be encouraged. If you are reading this and you are not sure that you are saved or you want to know what to do in order to be saved, please contact me and I will be pleased to open the Scriptures with you and discuss what it means to put faith in Jesus Christ.