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!

(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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93 Comments

  1. DeLayne says:

    I have always struggled with doubting my salvation. When I came to college I began to learn the importance of surrendering everything to Jesus and began to feel very convicted. And I have struggled with that for the past almost seven years. I believe with everything in me that Jesus is the Son of God and that in Him alone is salvation. I know I’m a dinner, and that I can’t make myself “righteous” enough; I’ve tried, and I’ve noticed that I don’t even want Jesus without Him changing my heart. I’ve told all of this to God and asked him to save me. I want to know him; have a relationship with him. But then I worry that I’m not fully surrendered to Him. Please help.

    1. BGEA says:

      That’s wonderful that you want to be fully committed to God. We passed on your comment to our team so we can respond.

  2. Paula says:

    I’m so confused about the aspect of salvation, which is causing me to doubt my salvation. When I was a kid it was simple like 2+2=4 but now it feels like it’s so complicated like its a complex trigonometry problem. Its simple because John 3:16 says If you believe in Him you shall not perish but have eternal life. So when you believe in Jesus, and repent of your sins, and know that He is the ONLY way to heaven. But now it’s confusing because of the parable of the seed and the sower, and how people say some people have head knowledge and not heart knowledge, and how people say stuff about if you do this or that you’re not truly saved. And then there’s that verse that says about not everyone who says Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.

  3. Leslie pate says:

    This article really helped me! I’ve always worried that i would lose my salvation or that God would take it back because i upset him in some way. So i read adrian rogers a few months ago and prayed again asking for what i thought was the final time for salvation and i was sure of it until today my mother in law said that the great throne judgement jesus would choose whether we really knew him or not and that we can lose our salvation and that it’s not a certain thing. So all afternoon i’ve been reading up on scripture trying to make sure i/m still saved. Thank you.

  4. Kathy says:

    I am not sure I feel the witness of the Holy Spirit. I want Jesus to save me…what should I do or think about this?

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Just prayed for you. Please visit this website and it will clearly explain how to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

      PeaceWithGod

      Also, here’s an article by Billy Graham on knowing God.

      My Answer

      May God bless you as you turn from your sin and give your life over to Him. Then, he will save you. We also recommend connecting with a local bible-based church so that you may grow in your faith. Perhaps you know someone who goes to a church like this? They would probably love for you to go with them if you simply ask them.

      – BGEA staff

  5. True Chritian says:

    The so called sinners prayer sounds real good, but unfortunately it a long way from salvation. You see no where in the New Testament of a prayer being made to accept Jesus in your heart. What you will find is believing in the Christ, repentance, baptism, faith, love, righteousness, and remaining faithful until death; to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please read and also listen to your Bible in audio daily. Reading and listening will prepare you to rightly divide the Word of Truth, so you can truly study your Bible.

  6. Scott Saunders says:

    i have been struggling with my salvation, a man said to be a prophet of god came to our church, he said that i was under a generational curse, i have been baptized. i also have repented of my sins, i am not perfect. but this man left me doubting my salvation. i know with all my being Jesus is real and the Son of God and Our Saviour. i Would never wanna disappoint Jesus by being a bad christian. please tell me what i should do. i have repented i have invited Jesus in to my heart.

    1. BGEA says:

      Scott,
      If you have accepted Christ into your heart, then you are saved. Nothing anybody says or does can change that. But remember, salvation shouldn’t be guided by emotion. Billy Graham addresses that here: http://billygraham.org/answer/i-dont-always-feel-saved-how-can-i-be-sure-i-am/

      But rest assured, once you’re in the palm of God’s hand, nothing can remove you.

    2. Biakmuan says:

      I believe He is the Son of God who die on the cross for my sins…Through Him I’m saved.

  7. Esimobi says:

    Lovely

  8. Terry Walker says:

    I am struggling with issues, as I was baptized when I was 9 years of age; however I do not feel that I was actually saved. It was during a revival at my church and I followed a group of my friends to the front of the church. I am an older adult at this stage of my life, and though I am not a “bad” person, I do not feel I am the person I should be. Asking for prayers, please.

    1. BGEA says:

      Terry,

      Baptism is not required to go to heaven, but it is a sign of obedience to God and a way of publicly declaring your decision to follow Christ. Christ commands His followers in Matthew 28:19 to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

      Remember that nothing we do will earn us salvation. Salvation is not about our actions, but about what Christ has done for us – the fact that He died for our sins. We must recognize our sin and ask forgiveness for it, but the Bible says that we are saved “by grace … through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is God’s undeserved mercy.

      You might recall the criminal who hung on a cross next to Christ. The criminal confessed Christ as Lord, and even though he didn’t have a chance for baptism, his place in Heaven was secured (Luke 23:43). God is a perfect, holy God, and there is nothing we can do to be good enough to spend eternity with Him in heaven. It’s all about what He has done for us.

      At the same time, when we trust in Christ and desire to live the way He wants us to, it will show in our actions. We are changed because of His work in us. Baptism means that we identify ourselves with Christ; it’s a sign that He washed away our sins by His death on the cross.

      Christian churches haven’t always agreed on the details of baptism, but they agree on its importance. Baptism reminds us that we aren’t saved by our own good works, but because of Christ and what He did for us on the cross. As evangelist Billy Graham has said: “Baptism is a conclusive act of obedience and witness to the world that we are Christ’s.” It’s a sign of our new life with Him.

      However, if you seek assurance of your salvation, here would be a good place to start: http://peacewithgod.net/

  9. Patricia Parent says:

    Forwarded the message of salvation to my seeking friend. Thank you

  10. kansiime says:

    it is so sweet to trust in jesus