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Assurance of Salvation
After making a commitment to Jesus Christ, most Christians at some time or another wonder whether what they have experienced is real. Some Christians wonder, “How do I know I am really saved?”
Have you prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? When you did, did you mean it in your heart or did you simply say words as if they were some kind of formula or route religious practice? God wants more from us than simple religious practice. He wants us to know him intimately. And he wants us to know that we are truly in a new relationship with Him when we receive His Son, Jesus.
This short study is designed to help you know, without a doubt, that you are a child of the One True God and have a permanent relationship with Him. We will do this by looking at three areas of life in which we experience the evidence that we are saved by Jesus. We will explore:
- Knowing that we are saved
- Feeling that we are saved, and
- Acting like we are saved
God’s work in our lives must permeate every area of our lives: Our hearts, our minds, and our outward expressions. When we see this kind of transformation then we can be assured that God has saved us and is in the process of remaking us in His image—making us what he wants us to be.
Knowing You Are Saved
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
"And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (I John 5:11-15).
We can know we are saved because of the promises in the Bible about our salvation.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).
What we think about determines how we feel and how we behave. Therefore, the first thing we need when being assured of our salvation is to think upon the promises of God in the Bible. The Bible gives us many assurances that the one who believes in Jesus is promised eternal life.
Read again the promises in John and I John listed above. How do they give you assurance that you are saved? How does Hebrews 10:23 assure you that the promise of salvation is true?
We can know we are saved because of the witness of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts.
"And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him" (Acts 5:32).
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:15-16).
Everyone who has truly received Jesus as Savior and Lord has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. He is God’s down payment of our eternal salvation. We can know we are saved because the Spirit testifies to this in our hearts.
How does the Holy Spirit assure you that you belong to Him?
We can know we are saved because our desires are changing.
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10).
Instead of living selfishly for ourselves, the Christian’s desires begin changing so that Jesus and others start becoming more important. When we sense our desires changing like this we can take that as one sign among others that God is changing our hearts. And if God is changing our hearts, then we can know that He has saved us from our sin.
How has God changed your desires since you’ve begun to know Him? How would you like God to change you? What are you willing to do to experience that change?
Feeling You Are Saved
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9).
"Be renewed in the spirit of your minds" (Ephesians 4:23).
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5).
The knowledge of our salvation changes our feelings.
Have you ever tried to pull yourself out of a bout of depression? The depressed person thinks continually about things that make him or her feel bad. But often dwelling upon good things can turn that around. So too, when we dwell upon the promises of God for salvation we can change our feelings from insecurity to security.
Put this into practice today. Look up verses in the Bible about God’s love and dwell upon them. How does this practice make you feel?
The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives changes our feelings.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
God’s Spirit is at work in you! The natural outgrowth of His work in you is a changed disposition. He naturally wants us to experience his joy. Therefore, submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work in you will change your doubts into security about His love for you.
What have you been thinking about? What does God’s Spirit want you to think about? How does God encourage you in this way?
The changing of our desires brings emotional assurance of our salvation.
"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8).
What is your innermost heart desire? Is Jesus and the Word of God at the center of your life? When we change our desires for godly things we gain security that God is with us and will fulfill our desires for Him.
Think about the things you desire the most. Where are God and the Bible in that list? How can you rearrange your priorities so that your relationship with Jesus is the center of your life?
Acting Like You Are Saved
"He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND’. This is the great and foremost commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).
Knowing and feeling we are saved changes our behavior.
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Once we rest in the knowledge that God loves us and holds us in his hands our whole attitude about life will change. A full change in our lives in not possible unless what we know and feel about something works itself out in our outward expressions in the world around us.
How has knowing and feeling you are saved changed your behavior? Do you want to obey God’s commands? Do you want to share what you have experienced with others?
The Holy Spirit changes our behavior.
"I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (John 16:7-14).
"f anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (II Corinthians 5:17).
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-2
When the Living God comes to inhabit us there is no way we can come away from the experience and not be changed. The Holy Spirit changes our convictions and that works out to a change in our behaviors. When we are filled with His Spirit we will want to live a life that gives credit and glory to God.
Since becoming a Christian how has your life changed? As you look ahead in your life how do you think He will work further change in you?
Our changing desires changes our behavior
When we decided to place Jesus as the center of all of our affections we will not be able to resist the changes that will happen in our lives. Making Jesus the center of our lives changes us in remarkable and exciting ways!
Make a list of the things that are the most important to you. Where are Jesus and the Bible on that list? How can you reorder your life so that Jesus is at the center of your existence?
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