How to Be Sure of Your Salvation

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

According to the Bible, assurance of salvation rests on four unshakable pillars.

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!

(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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  1. Theophilus says:

    Thank you for this piece

  2. Helen says:

    This article was an eye opener because I have always been scared of how the last day will be if I will make it.

  3. Mrs Marilyn Hough says:

    I am saved but I never was baptized do I need to be to go to Heaven?

    1. Minister called to preach the Gospel says:

      No you don’t have to be baptized to be saved. Confess with your heart Jesus is Lord and believe he died on the cross for your sins and repent and ask for forgiveness and you will be saved. Jesus bless you.

    2. Reverend Robert Martin says:

      Hi Marilyn: Jesus says in the Bible that baptism is an order from Jesus but does not save you. Jesus Christ is the only man who can save. I’m going to leave you some Scriptures that might help. Matthew 19:25-26, Romans 8:38-39, Romans 3:23, Matthew 3:13-17, Acts 2:38. I hope that these Scriptures will help you. Welcome to God’s family! God’s blessings to you on your walk with Jesus! Rev. Robert Martin

    3. Carly Laird says:

      Being baptized is a great thing to do as a Christian, but it doesn’t save you. When you are baptized, it is symbolic that our sins have been washed away and that we want to tell the world.

    4. Mark Cady says:

      Please take a minute or two to read Romans chapter 6 regarding baptism.

  4. Matthew Davidson says:

    The Holy Spirit draws ALL MEN to Jesus. If you are not aware of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life, that may be something to worry about. When you sin, do you simply sin with no guilt or concern, or does it break your heart and make you scared or uneasy? The Holy Spirit can not convict someone who is unsavable, so as long as you have His conviction, you have hope. Yield to His conviction, and do not ignore it.

    1. Reverend Robert Martin says:

      Amen, Matthew! Well said!

  5. John Boaz says:

    I’ve personally asked for forgiveness from many whom I’ve wronged and did the same with Jesus, but will God speak to confirm my salvation?

  6. Sheila says:

    I was saved nearly 20 years ago but walked away 8-9 years later. I’ve since been pulled back into the fold by a loving a Christ.
    Is it normal for other believers to question me (also question my mother in law, who brings me to her church) on whether I am really saved?

  7. beth says:

    I am in bondage with the devil. he is powerful and I need Jesus to break his hold on me. lord open my ears so I may hear you and my heart so I may accept you.

  8. rutto joshua says:

    am 21 yrs,12 months in salvation,at first felt the presents of the holy spirit,but now now am in spiritual wilderness,pray for me and advice me

    1. BGEA says:

      Keep seeking the Lord. As Billy Graham shares in the following link, God’s promises and not our emotions should be the bedrock of our faith:

  9. NOMTHANDAZO says:

    I’m a 19 year old girl. I have received Christ Jesus as my Lord and saviour but this days I don’t feel His presence in my life. I sometimes blame myself for the little things I do. Please help me I need devine intervention with God.

    1. BGEA says:

      Thank you for your comment. You’re not alone in your feelings. We have passed on your comment so we can get in touch with you.

    2. Pastor Kenneth says:

      When you fellowship with Jesus Christ then you will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.