Both new and seasoned believers sometimes struggle with the certainty of their salvation. Of course a person might question their salvation for a variety of reasons, but it’s usually because of some sort of sin; past or present.
Luckily, assurance of salvation isn’t dependant on living a life free of sin. Regardless of what we might have going on in our personal lives, Scripture provides us with the assurance and the confidence we need regarding the promise of salvation.
Listen to what the apostle’s John and Paul teach about the confidence and assurance we have concerning salvation:
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who 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 so that you may know you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13 NIV)
And again with,
“...Everyone" class="auto" target="_blank">class="s1">“...Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NIV)
The question for some of us isn’t whether belief in Jesus Christ promises eternal life; the question is whether or not salvation applies to us personally.
There are a lot of reasons why we allow doubt to creep into our thoughts. It might be because our zeal for Christ has dwindled or because we can’t seem to shake off some sort of sin that’s holding us back. But whatever the reason, struggling with the uncertainty of our own salvation can leave us emotionally drained and incapacitated.
So, is there a way to confidently know we possess eternal life?
The answer is yes. We can know with certainty that when we die, we will go to heaven. Scripture not only provides us with assurance of salvation as we’ve seen in the above verses, it also provides us with evidence of salvation — proof that points to whether or not we’re a true believer.
For example, admitting and confessing one’s sin is usually a clear sign of a believer (1 John 1:8-10). By acknowledging and understanding the depth of their sin, a believer will also strive to lead a life that pleases God.
A believer will also bear good fruit (John 15:5-8). It’s true that believers grow at different rates but they all have one thing in common: they all grow spiritually and they all make progress.
A believer also desires time with God (1 John 1:3). This doesn’t mean they’ll always be excited to attend church, spend time in prayer, or read their Bibles. But it does mean they still do these things—even during seasons of dullness—because they desire a relationship with God.
These are all evidences of a believer and God promises that all who believe will receive eternal life. But these are just a few of the “evidences” of salvation. There’s also conviction by the Holy Spirit; separating ourselves from the ways of the world; actions conforming to those of Christ; and trusting Christ apart from good works, among others.
In other words, assurance of salvation comes through the perfect work of Christ on the cross, but the evidence of salvation comes through a changed life.
Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.