How To Know You're Saved
By David J. Stewart
The Holy Spirit Beareth Witness
You can know for certain that you are saved!!! I say this confidently because God knows whether or not you are His Child. Any uncertainties which you may have concerning your salvation does not change God’s certainty of your salvation. If you are God’s Child, then He has promised to tell you that you are saved... “The Spirit itself BEARETH WITNESS with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). When you became a believer, the Godhead moved into your heart—i.e., God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit came into your soul to live forever. The Godhead lives within our body in the Person of God, the Holy Spirit. It is God’s very Spirit that testifies to our own spirit that we are a Child of God. What a wonderful blessing!!!
How does God’s Holy Spirit bear witness to our spirit that we are saved? Listen to the precious Words of Jesus... “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another COMFORTER, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16,17). Wow!!! What a wonderful truth to know that God (the Comforter) lives in my heart. This is how I know I’m saved—He lives within my soul. He talks with me and walks with me all along life’s way. The Holy Spirit is “God with me.” He’s that little voice that continually convicts me, comforts me and brings truths to my mind to remind me of how to live for God.
The Holy Spirit speaks to me about God’s will. I remember when I first became a Believer as a young man. There were some obvious changes in my life which occurred, but I did not recognize them until years later. One big change was a sincere desire to read and learn the Bible after I became a Christian. Another big change was a conviction over the sins in my life and the fact that God wanted me to live right. I had never felt that before until I became saved. I remember for the first time in my life experiencing that little small voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “GOD doesn’t want you to do this anymore” or “GOD wants you to start doing this.” Something was very different in my life after I became saved. I even recall hearing my mother say to me, “You’ve really changed lately and I’m proud of you.” Again, God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit came to live within my heart in the person of God the Holy Spirit the day I accepted Jesus as Savior. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, just as I am a spirit. He is God in every way.
Also, When I became a believer many years ago, God’s Spirit merged in holy matrimony with my spirit—a marriage. This is why the Church is referred to as the “Bride of Christ” in the Book of Revelation. Jesus is the Bridegroom of the Church. There is a spiritual union between God’s Spirit and the spirit of each and every one of His Children. If you do not have the Holy Spirit living within your soul—you are NOT God’s Child!!! Only a Child of God has the Holy Spirit living inside—It is His very presence that makes you God’s Child. If you are God’s Child, it is simply because God literally lives in you. This is called the “new birth” or being “born-again” ... “Ye must be BORN AGAIN” (John 3:7). It is the Holy Spirit’s uniting with our spirit that conceives the new birth within us. It is the Word of God which is the Seed that brings salvation.
Characteristics of the Holy Spirit
I’d like to say a bit concerning the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Person, just as I am a person. I believe He has a physical body in Heaven, just as God the Father and God the Son each have a physical body in Heaven. We read that Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father in Heaven. 1st Peter 3:22 states concerning Christ that He is... “gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” For someone to do a physical act (such as “sit”), they would require a body. Therefore, it is only logical that God the Father and God the Son have physical bodies in Heaven. They both sit upon their thrones.
True, God told us He is a Spirit and they that worship Him must do so in spirit; however, we are all spirits as well. We are spirits living in a material world. What John 4:24 means is that our DEAD spirit cannot communicate with His LIVING Spirit unless we become born-again... “And you hath he quickened, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The word “quickened” means “to make alive.” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and ask Him to forgive our sins—His living Spirit brings life to our dead spirit and we become ONE with God. This is the new birth. Even though Jesus’ body dwells in Heaven, His spirit dwells in our soul as well (if you are saved). This is why Jesus is referred to as the “Spirit of Christ”... “Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).
Incidentally, don’t let anyone fool you concerning the resurrection of Christ—He arose in a physical body. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, His body was seen moving farther upward and upward into the Heavens... “And when he had spoken these things, WHILE THEY BEHELD, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of THEIR SIGHT. And while they LOOKED STEDFASTLY toward heaven as HE WENT UP, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye GAZING UP into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM go into heaven.” There’s no doubt about it, Jesus left this earth in a physical body. He rose up into the clouds until His body could be seen no longer. He went to Heaven.
Unsaved People Don't Have the Holy Spirit
Either you have the Holy Spirit within or you don’t!!! Either God lives in your heart or He doesn’t. Either your saved or you are not. I wanted to start this chapter with the Holy Spirit because God has PROMISED to bear witness with our spirit if We are indeed His Children. The presence of the Holy Spirit is the best way to know your saved. Why? ...because the world CANNOT receive what they CANNOT see. An unsaved person CANNOT see the Holy Spirit of God. They don’t feel the conviction from God to forgive others, even as we have been forgiven by Christ (Ephesians 4:32). The Spirit of God guides us as we read the Scriptures. The unsaved person CANNOT makes heads-or-tails out of the truth they are reading. To the unsaved, everybody is a Child of God, which is NOT true.
To the unsaved, the Cherubim's of Ezekiel one are flying saucers—ridiculously NOT true. To the unsaved, the Bible is strictly supposed to be a Book of love and the homosexual lifestyle is to be tolerated, which is unbiblical. To the unsaved, the Bible is a fairytale; but to us who believe it is God's holy Word. There is a world of difference between the saved and the unsaved. Look over your life and try to see the Holy Spirit. I honestly believe that many Believers have problems with the assurance of their salvation simply because they are ignorant of the Holy Spirit—His presence, His purpose, His power, His Deity, His knowledge, His person, etc.
Learn about the Holy Spirit for He is your Guide and Comforter through life and beyond. He is God in your heart. He will rebuke you and chasten you with conviction when you sin. He will empower you as you tell others of Christ. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you and heal you. He will remind you that God loves you dearly during the darkest hours of your life. Volumes of books could be written about the wondrous Holy Spirit. Look up the term “Holy Spirit” in a Strong’s Concordance and read all the Scriptures concerning Him—this is how you learn about Him.
It is Human to Fear the Unknown
Now I’m going to help you immensely if you are still having doubts about your salvation. I’ve introduced you to God the Holy Spirit—Because you need to recognize Him in your life. If you are saved, He lives inside your soul.
Now I’d like to tell you why you have doubts. We read in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.” Have you ever walked into a dark room and were afraid while looking for the light switch? I have. I remember as a small boy going down into the pitch black basement. We had one of those old ceiling socket lamps that had a long string hanging down. You’d pull the string to turn the light on or off. I would walk slowly into that dark basement while gently swinging my arm, feeling for that string. I couldn’t find it fast enough it seemed!!! Why was I scared? ...because I didn’t know what might be lurking in the dark.
The same is true of walking down a dark alley at night. People are afraid of the unknown—this is normal. People are naturally afraid of the things in life which they don’t understand. If someone says they have AIDS, most people want to get as far away from them as possible—but the truth is that AIDS is not contagious. Many deformed people are shunned and made to feel as inferior because of the way they look. Why? ...because people don’t know how to deal with something their afraid of.
Ignorance is largely the problem!!! Why do people fear their salvation? ...because they are ignorant of the Word of God!!! It’s as simple as that. This book I have written contains many truths which the Holy Spirit of God has taught me over the years through my own painful experiences. I take no credit for myself—these are God’s truths!!! I simply needed to hear from God and He opened the eyes of my understanding through the Scriptures. This is why Jesus tells us in John 5:39 to... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! I had feared concerning my salvation for over seven long emotional years. I was so afraid of missing the boat to Heaven and ending up in Hell. The Lord gave me the sweet knowledge and assurance, beyond-any-shadow-of-a-doubt, that I am saved. I had been focusing upon whether or not I did everything just right to be saved; but I came to understand that I am saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus. Amen! My part was simply to believe.
Salvation is of God; Not Man
I had to learn that it was God’s Salvation, not mine—God did the saving, not me. I was looking to what I had done in the past—Did I mean what I said? ... Did I pray just right? ... Did I have enough faith? ... What if God didn’t save me? ... Am I really saved? ... What if I didn’t know I was a sinner? ... What if I only turned over a new leaf? ... What if? ... What if? ... What if? I was driving myself out of my mind worrying!!! Sound familiar? I was looking to a past experience and not to the faith which I PRESENTLY possessed in my heart. I realized one day that salvation does NOT rest in a past experience—It rests in Jesus Christ. I had a present faith in the Lord as my Savior. I wasn’t born with that. Somewhere along the way I had become a believer, but couldn’t remember where or when.
Oh, I could point to a bunch of times and places where I prayed the sinner's prayer, asking for Christ to forgive my sins; however, I had little idea WHEN I had been saved. To this day, I can't remember the exact year, but I remember the place. It was scary not being able to identify a particular time when I was saved. I had asked the Lord to save me dozens of times for fear I hadn't been sincere enough each time. I was scared and kept asking the Lord to save me. I was confused, wondering which of those dozens of times I had cried out to God He had saved me. The answer is simple my friend—The very first time!!! The very first time you turn to Jesus Christ—even with the smallest amount of faith—He comes into your heart as your Savior and forgives all your sins. All the other fifty or so times I had prayed for God to save me was simply done in ignorance and God didn’t mind that a bit—He knew that I needed to learn many things.
The older I get, the more I realize how little I really know. God’s infinite power and creation is beyond the scope of human understanding. We must trust God with the things we don’t understand. We must not place God on trial as the heathen do. Do you realize that God can listen attentively to the prayers of ten thousand saints all at the same time!!! How can a mere human being comprehend such power and greatness??? Oh, that men would fall on their faces before God in repentance. God is so wonderful and precious!!! Do you fear God? You certainly should.
Jesus: Our Defense Attorney
God is very real to me and it is a bit scary sometimes to realize that I MUST one day stand before Him. However, my fears are alleviated when I realize that I am safe in Christ, and that He is my Defense Attorney (Advocate) in Heaven (1st John 2:1). If you've ever been summonsed to court, and had the privilege of having a lawyer, then you know the sweet peace that having a lawyer brings. Jesus' blood sacrifice made everything right between God the Father and me the day I got saved.
However, I still fear to stand before the God of the universe, because I must give account for my life (Romans 14:12; 2nd Corinthians 5:10-11). I look forward to that day, but I fear it as well. I want God to settle every matter, and make things right. I surely don’t deserve anything besides hell-fire but thank God that Jesus atoned for my sins so that I could be saved and become heir to share in Christ’s riches in eternity. This is true of each and every Child of God. Are you a Child of God?
You Can Know You're Saved Apart from All Past Experiences
I would like to say again that your hope of salvation should not rest in the past. However, you should remember AT LEAST A TIME AND PLACE where you believed on Jesus to save you. It might have been at home in your room, or at the park, or in a subway, or at church, et cetera—It does NOT matter “where” or “when”—Just as long as you confessed you were a sinner to God and trusted Jesus Christ to forgive and save you. That is very simple isn’t it? Salvation is simple.
Perhaps you say, “But I don’t know what I prayed years ago, I can’t remember?” Don’t fret my friend, I’ve been where you are. First, stop looking to the past!!! Ask yourself this question: If I died right now, am I 100% sure I would go to Heaven? If you think you would, but are not confident about it, then ask yourself this next question: What or Who am I trusting to get me to Heaven when I die? If your answer is Jesus Christ alone, then you have no cause to fear.
Now ask yourself this question: Why am I trusting Jesus? What is so special about Jesus that I am supposed to trust Him alone? Here is how I would answer...
“Because I came to God as a guilty, hell-deserving sinner who could NOT save myself. God Almighty came down from Heaven into this sin-cursed world and became flesh. Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life as God in the flesh. Jesus came as the Christ (the Messiah) to save lost sinners. He was falsely accused and wrongfully tried. Jesus was beaten, mocked and shamed by the Roman soldiers. Jesus was crucified on a cross. He shed His precious blood for our sins. He died and was buried. Jesus then arose bodily from the dead three days later. He ascended into Heaven to present Himself before the Father with the shed blood (Hebrews 9:12,24). Jesus sprinkled His blood on the heavenly Mercyseat in the presence of God the Father. God was pleased and His requirement for justice was completely satisfied by Jesus’ blood. The blood made salvation available for ALL mankind.”
That's why I trust Jesus for my salvation... because Jesus has the scars. Why should I trust Jesus? ...because Jesus paid the price!!! Jesus paid a debt that He did NOT owe, because we owed a debt that we could NOT pay.
What is Important is That You're Trusting Christ Now
If you have present, genuine faith in Jesus Christ, that He is the only One Who can cleanse your sins, and you are trusting Him alone for salvation—then you are saved. Think about this: You weren’t born trusting Jesus—If you are trusting Jesus now then you MUST have started at some point. Listen my friend, you don’t just accidentally wake up one day and find out that you have faith in Christ. No, at some point in the past you made a DELIBERATE and CONSCIOUS DECISION to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you are trusting Jesus “now,” then somewhere in the “past” you started—Where or when is not important just so long as you are trusting Him NOW.
I’m simply saying that you CAN determine if you're saved by what is in your heart NOW—you do NOT need to confirm past prayers or experiences within your mind. Salvation is NOT a prayer, although you may pray for Jesus to save you. Salvation is NOT an experience, although you might remember a specific time and place where you called on Jesus. Salvation is NOT a decision, but you’ll need to make the decision to call upon Jesus to be saved. What is salvation??? Salvation is a supernatural act of Almighty God in response to your faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, because of what Jesus accomplished to pay for our sins and redeem us back to God. If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross or shed His blood, then it would be in vain to trust Him.
The reason why we are commanded to believe on Jesus Christ is because Jesus paid the price to satisfy God’s wrath. Only through Jesus Christ can mankind be reconciled with God the Father... “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME” (John 14:6). Do you see my friend? If you are saved now, then that is all that matters—Not what happened in the obscure past which you’ll never be able to remember. Are you trusting Jesus today? Are you looking to the Lord presently for salvation? Then you must have started somewhere!!! Where or when does NOT matter just as long as you are trusting Him NOW.
The Smallest Amount of Faith in Christ Will Save
Jesus NEVER told anyone “to pray” to be saved. Jesus never told anyone “to make a decision” to be saved. Jesus never told anyone “to have an experience” to be saved. Jesus never told anyone “to have much faith” to be saved. No, Jesus simply told the people to believe on Him. Any amount of faith is satisfactory, just so long as it is placed in Jesus Christ. This is true today as well as 2,000 years ago, or 4,000 years ago. Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed the Lord and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Either you have faith or you don’t. You don’t need a certain amount of faith to be saved—even the smallest amount of faith will satisfy the Father in Heaven.
The question is do you have faith in Christ??? Most people will admit that Jesus exists, but they aren’t relying upon Him for salvation. They are trusting their own self-righteousness and religion to save them. They have a distorted view of Christ. How do you view Jesus? Every false religion diminishes Jesus' Deity. Jesus wants us to accept Him as God Almighty... “for if ye believe not that I AM he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Ignorance of the Bible Causes Fear and Insecurity
I hope some of the things I have shared with you has been helpful. I have asked the Holy Spirit umpteen times throughout the writing of this book for guidance and wisdom. I believe He has helped me throughout. Though I don’t claim to be an author, I do claim to be a sincere man with an honest heart’s desire to help others obtain God’s salvation and the full assurance of that salvation. So much could be said about this matter.
Note that “eternal security” is different from “assurance of salvation.” Some folks believe you can lose your salvation. This is NOT true. However, we are not discussing that matter. We are discussing “How to know you're saved.” I just wanted you to know the distinction between the two. Many fine folks are saved, but live in constant fear due to a lack of understanding about the Bible. I cannot stress this point enough.
During my time of doubt I set out to learn everything I could about salvation. I kept my ears and eyes open for anything in a sermon, a tract or a book that involved faith or salvation. I remember as a teenager telling God that He owed it to me to give me the assurance of my salvation if I were really His Child. Likewise, I also told the Lord that if I were NOT saved, He owed it to me to tell me so I could get saved. I put God on the spot. I was frustrated and wanted an answer soon. I told God that I would get saved in a second if I were to find out that I was not saved. The big problem was that I just didn’t know. Had someone shown me the things I’ve just shared with you, I think I would have found my answer. I was so concerned back then about whether or not I had prayed the correct thing. I repeatedly asked God to save me, month after month, year after year, tear after tear. Why couldn’t I find peace. It wasn’t until I did a thorough study of the Bible that I found peace.
A good example of what I’m saying is something that happened to me years ago. I used to be scared to work on cars. Why? ...because I was afraid of getting hurt by something I didn’t understand. I was afraid I might also do some major damage to the car. I had the opportunity to take some auto repair classes shortly thereafter. Do you know—something amazing happened—I wasn’t afraid to work on cars anymore. I even rebuilt a few engines. I lost the fear when I gained the confidence, when I understood what was going on. This is what you need—Confidence, which can only come from an understanding of how the Bible works.
To start, try to find out why each Bible Book was written. Did you know that the Apostle Paul wrote Romans specifically to lead the Romans to Christ? Did you know that Paul wrote Galatians because some of his converts were yoking together with a false religion? Did you know that Paul wrote Philippians while sitting in prison? Did you know that the Apostle John wrote 1st John so we could KNOW we’re saved? ... “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” (1st John 5:13).
So we see that we can KNOW that we’re saved. There is no excuse to wonder or fear. What “things” did John write about? Well, I think the two preceding verses sums it all up very nicely, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. HE THAT HATH THE SON HATH LIFE; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1st John 5:11,12). Eternal life comes from God alone. This “eternal life” is found in Jesus Christ alone. If you have Jesus living in your heart, you have salvation. Simply trust Christ with all your heart. Put all-your-apples-in-one-basket so to speak. Don’t trust the church, the Pope, self-righteous works, good deeds, baptism or anything else—only Jesus!!! Remember, salvation is NOT found in a religion, it is found in a person—Jesus Christ!!!
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