How to Be Sure of Your Salvation

By Steven J. Lawson   •   August 2, 2010   •   Topics:

After I said I was writing a book about how we can be sure we are going to heaven, she marveled, “You mean you can know that you are going to heaven?”

Realizing God had opened a door for me to tell her about Christ, I reinforced that we can know for certain our eternal destiny, saying, “We can afford to be wrong about going to Sisters, Oregon, but not about going to heaven.”

The truth is, we can be sure about where we will spend eternity. We can know with certainty that when we die, we will go to heaven. But how can we be sure? Many people struggle with the certainty of their salvation, especially new believers.

How can we know where we stand with God? The Bible teaches that the assurance of salvation rests securely upon four unshakable pillars:

Pillar 1: God Cannot Lie!

First, assurance is based on the absolute trustworthiness of Scripture. Throughout the New Testament, we read God’s promises to save all who will believe upon His Son. The Bible says, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”(1) This is a promise! All who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ may have the firm confidence of salvation based upon the infallibility of God’s Word.

Jesus said, “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”(2) If you come to Jesus with genuine repentance and faith, He promises that He will save you. We can know Jesus has received us because, quite simply, He said so! When the Bible speaks, God speaks. And what God said, He will surely do. He will save all who call upon Jesus Christ. You have His word on it.

Pillar 2: Jesus Paid It All

Second, assurance rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He bore our iniquities, enduring God’s wrath, and cried out, “It is finished!”(3) By this, He meant that the full atonement for all our sins-past, present and future-has been made. His work of redemption now completed, our entire sin debt is paid in full.

Just as salvation comes from believing in Christ alone, so does assurance. As we trust in Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins, the certainty of eternal life floods our hearts. No matter how great your sin, God’s grace is greater still. The Bible says, “Come now, and let us reason together. … Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

Pillar 3: The Great Convincer

Third, assurance comes through the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. A divinely produced gift, assurance is bestowed by God’s Spirit to all true believers. It is the Holy Spirit’s ministry to convince our hearts of our salvation.

In actuality, no preacher, evangelist, parent or friend can give us assurance. Neither can we work it up within ourselves. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can give us the absolute certainty of our eternal salvation.

The Bible says, “We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.”(5) … “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”(6) … “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”(7) This means, the Holy Spirit who convicted, called and converted us also convinces us that we belong to Christ. It is the Spirit’s inward witness that persuades us of the genuineness of our salvation.

PILLAR 4: New Life in Christ

Fourth, assurance comes through the evidence of a changed life. Ultimately, assurance is confirmed within us as we see God conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ. All who have been born again will see clear evidences of a new life in Christ. While we will never become perfect in this life, we will, nevertheless, experience a changed life. It is this inward transformation that provides strong confirmation of our salvation.

The book of First John details what are the vital signs of our new life in Christ. The Apostle John writes, “We know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”(8) In other words, we may be certain that we know Christ as we see within us a desired and willing obedience to God’s Word.

Likewise, John writes, other vital signs will follow: Love for other people,(9) love for God,(10) refusing the world,(11) understanding biblical truth,(12) righteous behavior,(13) opposition from the world(14) and answered prayer.(15) As we see this spiritual fruit produced in our lives, we may be confident that Christ lives within us.

Here are the four sturdy pillars on which the assurance of our salvation rests. Giving “full assurance of hope”(16) regarding our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, these pillars provide unshakable confidence of eternal life.

As I told the woman on the plane, we can be wrong about earthly directions but not about our eternal destiny. In our salvation we must be sure. Assurance of salvation is God’s blessed gift for all who believe: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”(17)

Be absolutely sure!

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(1) Romans 10:13, NASB. (2) John 6:37, NASB. (3) John 19:30, NASB. (4) Isaiah 1:18, NASB. (5) 1 John 3:24, NASB. (6) 1 John 4:13, NASB. (7) Romans 8:16, NASB. (8) 1 John 2:3, NASB. (9) 1 John 2:9-11. (10) 1 John 2:12-14. (11) 1 John 2:15-17. (12) 1 John 2:20-27. (13) 1 John 3:4-6. (14) 1 John 3:13. (15) 1 John 3:22-24. (16) Hebrews 6:11, NASB. (17) 1 John 5:13, NASB. Bible verses marked NASB are taken by permission from the New American Standard Bible, ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California

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69 Comments

  1. rick sanchez a servant of GOD says:

    ILOVEYOUBROTHERBILLY

    What is GOD’S word on once saved always saved

  2. lafilya simmons says:

    Thank God he loves us

  3. Elizabeth Havlish says:

    thank you

  4. thomas says:

    I had no idea this many people felt this way. i too have had my doubts. we must have faith that God through the blood of Jesus has saved us if we believethat He is the son of God

  5. Younis says:

    Thank you Jesus to pay for my sin, Thanks to God even I am sinner He been Awesome with with me, Thanks to Holy spirit who make me strong in Faith.

  6. Mark says:

    I have been told if you have doubts about your salvation that could be a sign that you are truly saved. Why is that?I go thru periods of doubt if I truly have saving faith in Jesus. How can I overcome this?

  7. John says:

    After writing to BGEA for assurance of my salvation, I see many others have this same fear. I do feel better about things, and although I'm at an advanced age, I hope and pray I will be able to please God and my Saviour Jesus Christ before I die.

  8. julie says:

    I believe it is the evil one who tries to tell those who are believers that they are not saved-Trust in God's promises that where written for us in the Bible-read them everyday and BELIEVE!!! I am a sinner….saved by Grace-and I walk by faith, even when i cannot see!! Thank-you BGEA for helping me to grow in the word of the Lord!!

  9. edith says:

    I have been struggling a lot for many years about my salvation. I know I accepted Jesus in my heart when I was a little girl but I think you need to confess Him in front of a lot of people so you can truly be saved. When I accepted Him I was very young and by myself so I continously doubt. I am baptized and attend church regularly. I am not perfect but I try to live my life the way I think God wants me to. I need help. I don't want to doubt anymore…I want to be 100 sure that I am going to heaven.

    1. Sandra says:

      Eidth, All you have just said makes you a Christian because you cannot confess Jesus as Lord of your life unless it is by the Holy Spirit who is in you and if the Holy Spirit is in you, you are most definitely saved! Don’t fear it. The Holy Spirit came to you as a little girl and touched your heart when you were alone in your room but all the other behaviour after that tells you it was a real convertion. If you can say Jesus is the Lord of my life YOU ARE SAVED!!!! Now begins your walk in Him in maturing to become a woman of God in his service, mission and purpose, which he has prepared for you. He says he directs the steps of a good man in the Bible. Be certain he is directing your steps. Simply, listen quietly for his directions. Listen!

  10. NJ says:

    I recently got saved(I hope) but struggle with the assurance of salvation. I believe in Jesus. But I have to be honest and really wonder if I'm saved at all. I know how important this is. However I don't think for one minute that I could pull the wool over God. So what am I to do? I pray about it everyday and I can't seem to enjoy life as I am always worried about this. Please pray for me.