Assurance of Salvation Summary
“How I can know I am saved when I put my trust in Jesus Christ to save me.”
The Word Of God
Eternal life is not just something to look forward to; it is a present reality once you place your faith in Jesus to save you. (John 3:36, 1 John 5:11-13).
You have forgiveness of all of your sins (Acts 10:43, Colossians 2:13).
You will not be condemned (John 5:24, Romans 8:1).
You have been justified (declared righteous – not guilty) before God ( Romans 4:1-6, 25, 5:1).
You have already been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You are called a child of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:14-17).
The Work Of Christ
Salvation is not by your works or merit (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7).
Salvation is solely by Christ’s person and work as a gift of God ( 1 John 5:5-12, Acts 4:12, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:8-9, Colossians 1:21-22).
The Witness Of The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:8-13, 1 John 4:6), and an anointing (1 John 2:20, 27). He opens the Word to your heart (Acts 16:14) and gives you understanding of the things of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16, Ephesians 3:15-19). These show that the Holy Spirit’s assurance can be trusted:
The Holy Spirit assures you that you are a child of God (Romans 8:15-16, 1 John 5:7-11).
Assurance of salvation comes not from feelings or works, but through faith in the facts of scripture – trust in the promises of God. Feelings and works place assurance of salvation in our hands, which are feeble. You will not always “feel” saved, and you will do things that displease God (1 John 1:8). The Corinthian church was the most carnal (“fleshly”) church mentioned in the Bible (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). They were selfish, sexually immoral, and cliquish. And yet Paul did not doubt that they were saved. He speaks of them as brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2-9). Paul was harsher on the church of Galatia which, while certainly more moral, but was falling into legalism: works-based righteousness.
If you are doubting your salvation, your eyes are on the wrong thing: yourself. You need to keep your eyes on Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Assurance of Eternal Security Summary
“How I can know I will not lose my salvation.”
The Trinity – Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ died for you and lives to intercede for you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:31-39).
Jesus Christ died as your redeemer and substitute, once and for all time (Romans 3:23-28,5:1, 8, Hebrews 9:11-14, 26-28, 10:12-14).
Jesus Christ is risen and sits at God’s right hand (Romans 8:34, 5:10-11, Hebrews 7:25, John 17:11).
The Trinity – The Father
It was the Father’s sovereign purpose to save you (Ephesians 1:3-6).
You are kept for the sake of the Son and His perfect work for your sin (Romans 8:39, John 17:11). You are kept “in the Beloved”, the most secure place you can be.
The Father’s discipline is evidence of your salvation (Hebrews 12:5-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 11:30-32). Sin does not effect your salvation, only the loss of rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
It is God’s sovereign power that is keeping you saved (1 Peter 1:5, Jude 24, 2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
The Trinity – The Holy Spirit
Most references to baptism in the Bible refer not to water baptism but to the spiritual union you have with the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). If you could lose your salvation, this means the body of Christ could be maimed.
The Holy Spirit regenerates you. This is not based on your own works but on the work of the Son. (2 Corinthians 5:17, Titus 3:5-7, John 3:3-8, 16-18).
The Holy Spirit indwells you permanently (John 7:37-39, 14:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, James 4:5).
You are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In ancient times, seals were a sign and proof of a completed transaction, of ownership, and of security.
The Holy Spirit is an earnest, a pledge and guarantee, that God will save you (Ephesians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 1:22).
Your Position In Christ
The Bible speaks many times of your being “in Christ”, “in the Beloved” and “with Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, 6, 2:5-6, Colossians 2:10, 2 Timothy 2:11-13, Colossians 3:3-4). This refers to your identification with Jesus Christ such that whatever happens to Him is considered as having happened to you:
- You died with Him (2 Corinthians 5:14, Romans 6:8).
- You were buried with Him (Romans 6:4).
- You were raised with Him spiritually (Colossians 3:1) and will be physically (Romans 6:5).
- You have been seated with Him in heavenly places ( Ephesians 2:5-6).
- You are now a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).
- You will reign with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12).
The Love Of God
If, while you were an enemy, God loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, how could He cast you off now that you are saved? ( Romans 5:8-10, 8:32)
The Hand Of God
No one and nothing can take you out of God’s hand (John 10:28-29).
The Perfect Tense
The perfect tense indicates an action that has been completed, the effect of which continues on to the present. These passages use the perfect tense: (John 5:24 “…has passed…”, Romans 5:2 “…have obtained…”, 1 Corinthians 1:2 “…have been sanctified…”, Ephesians 2:8 “…have been saved…”). Salvation refers to being saved from hell – a future event, and yet you have already been saved from this future event. If you could lose your salvation, then you were never really saved to begin with.
You are saved by grace through faith. There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation and nothing you can do to keep it or lose it ( Ephesians 2;8-9, Titus 3:5).
The question “What sin causes a person to lose his salvation?” can only be answered “any sin” or “no sin”. Every falls short of God’s righteousness, no matter how big or how little in our eyes. God does not judge some sin and overlook others. And yet all believers sin (1 John 1:8-10). If sin causes you to lose salvation, then the Bible is in error to say that you have already been saved before you come to the judgement.
Bought by the Blood (Acts 20:28). This transaction, made by God, makes you the property of God. Sin is not a transaction that can remove God’s ownership. If you buy a car and then the car breaks down, it is still your car. If you knew the car was going to be more trouble than it’s worth, you would not have bought the car in the first place. God knew every sin you would commit, even after you were saved, but He still saved you. He is committed to saving you.
Adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). Once a son, always a son. A servant can be sold, but a son retains his relation to his father. A son may believe he is no longer worthy to be called a son, but the father still considers him a son (Luke 15:21-22). There is no ‘un-adoption’ concept in the Bible. Also, a father could conceivable tell his natural-born son, “You were an accident”, but he could not tell his adopted son that because adoption is entirely a matter of will. Even knowing everything you would do, it was God’s will to save you ( John 1:12-13).
Payment for sins (1 John 2:2). Jesus has already been condemned and died to pay for all of your sins, which were all future when He died for you. All of your sins have already been paid for. You cannot be judged for them because judgement for them has already happened. There is no double-jeopardy with God.
You died in (with) Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14, Romans 6:8). The Bible speaks about your having died in Christ, but nowhere says that you must ensure your old man doesn’t come back to life again. Only God can make alive. Your old man died permanently, and the new life He gives you is eternal – it cannot be lost.
Salvation is a gift from God (Romans 6:23), and the “gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The context of this passage serves to illustrate how secure the gift of eternal life is: God called Israel to be His people, and even though they were unfaithful and broke His covenant, God remained faithful to His promises. The same is true of His promises to the elect. If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
(It is important to note a significant difference between God’s promises to Israel and His promises to those saved by faith. God could cut individual Israelites cut off from their people and the promises without breaking His covenant because the covenant and promises were made with the nation of Israel as a whole. Indeed, God destroyed many of the Israelites because of their wickedness, yet He always preserved a remnant because He was faithful to His promises. Salvation is secure because God’s promise of salvation is made to individuals, all who believe. There is no national group to be cut off from.)
The writers of the New Testament had assurance that they were saved. They spoke confidently (i.e. 2 Corinthians 5:5-7, 2 Timothy 1:12, Hebrews 10:22). (Notice that their assurance is linked closely with faith in Jesus, not in their own works.) If they can be assured, so can you.
These need in-depth study with careful attention to the words and context. For more detailed explanation, see J. Hampton Keathley III’s ” ABCs for Christian Growth“.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15, 9:25-27 deal with the Bema (judgement) seat of Christ that all believers will face. This judgement has to do with rewards, not salvation.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Hebrews 6:1-16, 10:23-31 speak of the severity of God’s discipline in this life when believers refuse to respond to God’s grace. Note that Hebrews 6:6 is not talking about salvation but repentance. They are two different things.
Ephesians 5:1-12 says that believers are to live as the children of God that they are. It is an exhortation to stop living like the world.
1 John 3:6-10 also speaks of the way believers are supposed to live. The phrase “cannot sin” in verse 9 does not mean sin is an impossibility (1 John 1:8-2:2) but means that a Christian is unwilling to sin. The same Greek words for “cannot” are used in Luke 11:5-7, 14:20, Mark 1:45, 6:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 10:21 to mean unwilling. It is like a doctor telling a smoker “You cannot smoke again.”
Sin in your life has consequences both now and in eternity, but it does not affect your salvation.