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. lila says:

    I believe Jesus is the Son of God that He that He came to earth died for me was buried and was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. I feel so distant from God sometimes but I know He is with me for He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me..keep the faith..for we walk by faith NOT BY SIGHT..

  2. Brooke says:

    I know Jesus died for me. But sometimes I feel unsure of if God is real. I was saved when I was 5 and I am getting close to my 17th birthday.
    I have anxiety and worry almost constantly about if I am going to Heaven or not. I would really appreciate a quick response. Thank you

  3. Pam says:

    I believe/know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and He is the only way to get to heaven, but doesn’t Satan also believe? I was saved when I was 10 years old because it was the right thing to do, not because I felt any conviction. It wasn’t a life changing event, but it’s not like I had many worldly temptions at that time. So now my struggle, 23years later is Romans 8:16, ” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” I think back over the years and know that I’ve relied on God but question myself, have I loved God? I have been in church all my life and know all the right answers to all the Sunday schools questions, but here lately I’ve been questioning my salvation.

  4. frank says:

    i feel like GOD does not love me i feel lost

    1. Renee says:

      I read your e-mail and it broke my heart. Please don’t feel that God does not love you. I don’t know your circumstances but I can assure you that you are precious to the Lord. He died and sacrificed Himself for you so you could spend eternity with Him. That is true love for you! Please don’t fall into lies that are told to you by Satan or anyone else. God is real and wants to know you because He loves an treasures YOU! I will pray that you realize that. . May God lavish His love on you and throw His loving arms around you today and days ahead. . . .Bless you. . . .

  5. RICHARD says:


  6. Geri Zinser says:

    Wonderful article….filled with Godly wisdom, love and truth…thank you Billy…one day about 40 years ago ..I sat up in bed..with my big red catholic bible trying to follow you and believed….you opened a door for me,my husband…my children,grandchildren..We have enjoyed our walk now at 74…waiting on Jesus…

  7. I need Help says:

    Hi, I have been having a lot of doubts lately. I feel like I’m not saved sometimes and then other times I think I am. I am in misery because this is an on off thing. I got saved at 12 so I knew right from wrong but I hadn’t really had many worldly temptations. I was raised in a very strict christian home so I later did something I knew I shouldn’t, it was a sin against God but nothing like drugs or drinking. Lately I have been convicted of those sins and repented however I have been doubting for a little while on and off. I want to be so very close to God and I try to pray everyday. I want to be the best I can be for God but I just feel like I will never be good enough. I want to be one hundred percent positive I’m saved. Please Pray for me

    1. Sister in Christ says:

      Dear Friend,
      Take courage, and know that Christ is in you. Continue to go to Him through prayer. And meditate on Scripture verses all day long on the assurance of salvation, the love of God, the work that God has done to overcome the evil one, and any other Scripture that God leads you to. You know the author of condemnation and lies is surely not of God, and freedom is found in and through Jesus Christ. Continue to go to Him, dear sister. Keep going, and take courage! Nothing can separate you from the love of God.

    2. Me too! says:

      I am going through the same thing that you are going through right now. My mom thinks that is the devil trying to steal my joy. She says if you believe that Jesus died for you and you have repented then you are saved. My preacher asked my husband to ask me this question. “Who are you currently putting your trust in.” ? Well I find myself praying about it constantly lately which means I care and that by going to him in prayer I’m relying on him so I guess that means I’m trusting him but I struggle with this to and it’s also why I just happened to be on this site today. I don’t know if this helps but I thought I would comment. Prayers are appreciated for me also.


    I’ve really liked the texts and I’ve been convicted of my sins & weaknesses. May the Lord forgive me.

    1. lila says:

      And He will because When Jesus died on the cross your past present and future sins we forgiven.

  9. chan says:

    Assurance or confirmation of salvation is god’s territory, not ours.we just trust

  10. LARRY BLACK says:

    Thank you for this page about salvation..In a bible study group last night,the question came up can you “lose your salvation”. I needed to reaffirm my understanding of Gods promises, this site has affirmed my beliefs in what I have studied in the bible.I have listened to Billy Graham for over 40 years,what a blessing he has been for our nation and the world.
    All the Best,,Larry Black

    1. lila says:

      According to the Bible (as my preacher has told me) you Cannot lose your salvation but God’s grace isn’t a license to sin