“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God. Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood!” Fanny Crosby wrote this famous hymn along with a close friend in the 1800s. Today, this proud declaration of the knowledge of God’s salvation is published in close to 1,000 hymnals in churches all over the world.
But is that hymn true? Do we really have the blessed assurance that we have been saved, redeemed, forgiven of our sins and that our names are written down in Heaven the way the Bible says (Luke 10:20)? It’s not uncommon to have questions about your salvation. Over the course of our spirit-life, things happen that make us feel farther from God than we are at other times.
However, we do not live by feelings. The Bible says that the “heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). If we become too caught up in how we feel we can forget what we know. The Bible provides several ways that we can know that we have been redeemed from our sins, forgiven by God and have permanent residency in Heaven.
So, how can we know that we are saved?
The Bible Says So!
1 John 5:13 (TPT)
I’ve written this letter to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you will be assured and know without a doubt that you have eternal life.
In addition to the Gospel account that bears his name, St. John also wrote the books of first, second and third John. The book of 1 John was a letter that was to be shared among the communities and churches in Asia Minor who were experiencing issues from within. One of those issues was apparently rooted in the fact that people were not sure if they could be assured of their salvation. In 1 John 5:13, John tells these churches that he wrote this particular letter to them so they could “be assured” and “know without a doubt” that they had received eternal life.
The verses that lead up to 1 John 5:13 serve as a sort checklist that we can go through in order to examine our lives to determine our right-standing with God. For instance, look at 1 John 5:2 (ESV):
This is how we can be sure that we love the children of God: by having a passionate love for God and by obedience to his commands.
No, our behavior doesn’t earn our salvation, but once we’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation, our behavior changes. That’s why the very next verse declares that “true love for God means obeying his commands” (1 John 5:3).
God’s Word, while it’s not a cumbersome list of dos and don’ts does provide a map for righteous living. The Bible tells us that we can compare the way that we live our lives to God’s standard of living in order to know that we are His children.
When we live in constant self-inspection (2 Corinthians 13:5), we can rest assured in the fact that we are God’s people, He has saved us, and our salvation is sealed. How can we know that we’re saved? The Bible says that we are!
The Holy Spirit Says So!
Romans 8:16 (TPT)
For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
God has blessed us with countless wonderful gifts. His Word is a living, God-inspired copy of His divine plan for all of humanity (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible tells us that every good thing that we have in our lives are gifts straight from God (James 1:17). Finally, the Holy Spirit is promised as a gift from God upon Jesus’ return to the Father after His resurrection (John 14:26).
The Book of Romans is widely considered a foundational book for new Christians. When the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Roman Church, he did so with the knowledge that many of them had spent their entire lives believing in Roman mythology. Armed with that knowledge, he knew that he was going to have to provide some simple, foundational truths about how we are saved and how we can rest in the knowledge that our salvation is sealed.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would “come upon” God’s people during a moment of need (Number 27:18, Judges 3:10, Judges 6:34, Judges 13:25). However, when Jesus returned to the Father after His death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit stopped coming upon God’s people during a time of crisis. Instead, the Holy Spirit set up His abode inside each and every believer.
With that indwelling, there comes the promise of assurance. When we doubt our salvation, the Holy Spirit corrects us and reminds us that we are God’s children. Some translations say that the “Holy Spirit agrees with our spirit” as a way of reminding us that we are God’s people.
Your spirit is a much deeper part of you than your mind is. Your mind can change. Depending on your circumstances and present situation, your mind may tell you that you’re happy or sad. Within a matter of minutes, something can change and so can your mind. Perhaps you’re having a great day and your mind feels happy. As soon as one person cuts you off in traffic, your mind may change and now you’re angry. That’s how quickly your mind can change. In contrast, our spirit is much more settled, especially when the Holy Spirit lives inside of us like He does in every believer.
Our Love for Others Says So!
1 John 3:14 (TPT)
Yet we can be assured that we have been translated from spiritual death into spiritual life because we love the family of believers. A loveless life remains spiritually dead.
If you want to determine your standing with God, take a good look at how you feel about other people. Look beyond your immediate family and your closest friends. Of course, you love your spouse, your children and the people who are closest to you. Jesus told the disciples that there was nothing special about loving people who love you (Matthew 5:43-48). Instead, we’re called to love everyone, regardless of how different they may be from us.
When we have a genuine love for others, we can know that we have truly gone from a spiritually dead life to one that is alive in Christ. Before we were saved, we couldn’t truly love others. You may have loved your spouse, children and friends before you accepted Christ as your Savior, but you didn’t love them as fully as you do after you’ve become a child of God.
God makes it possible for us to fully love others the way that Christ loved us. When we become children of God, we love people unconditionally. We love them and want the best for them even when it doesn’t benefit us in the least. Wen we are God’s people, we even love people who have hurt us, betrayed us and walked away from us. That doesn’t mean that we live like a doormat that can be walked all over. However, it does mean that we are happy when we see those people receive good things in their lives.
We know that we are truly saved because we have a genuine love for other people. If you’re doubtful about your salvation, take a hard look at how you feel about others. Venture outside your immediate circle closest friends and family and examine how you feel about other people in your world. Your co-workers, the people you go to church with, and your neighbors. If you can truly say that you love them, care for them, pray for them and want God to bless them, you can know that you’re saved.
A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for saving me. Thank You for giving me the ability to know that I’m truly Your child and You are truly My God. Help me to regularly examine myself to make sure that my life meets Your standard of living so I can continue to know that I’ve been forgiven and redeemed. Thank You for the promise of salvation. In Christ’s name, Amen.