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).

What Sin?

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.

Non-reversible Transactions

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.)

Confident Apostles

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.

Problem Passages

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.


Eternal Security Summary — 7 Comments

  1. Don’t you think that it is a problem that there is no evidence in the Early Christian Church of the belief that “once saved, always saved”? In fact, quite the opposite. There are plenty of early Christian pastors and theologians in the first three to four centuries AD who warn Christians not to be complacent in their faith and live a life of willful sin…lest they perish to eternal damnation.

    I grew up evangelical. I witnessed many persons pray the Sinner’s Prayer or go forward during an Altar Call and make what seemed to be very genuine professions of faith. These people then went on to witness to others about salvation through faith in Christ, attend Church and prayer meetings, etc. for a number of years.

    They NOW never darken a church door or read a Bible. One person has converted to be a Muslim to marry her Arab husband, completely abandoning the Christian faith. I know of others who became murderers and child molesters and are unrepentant. I know others who are now living lives of sexual immorality and believe that there is nothing wrong with their behavior.

    Do you really believe that if one of these former believers dies…he or she will go to heaven???

    I know one Lutheran mother who’s daughter became an evangelical and had a “born again” experience. A short time later the daughter started living with her boyfriend. Her mother warned her that what she was doing is sin, and that ongoing willful sin against God places her salvation in jeopardy. The daughter replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do. Lutherans are wrong.”

    Neither infant baptism nor an adult “born again” experience is a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation only occurs by the grace of God, received through faith. No faith, no salvation.

    The Christian whose faith and trust is in the Lord need never worry about his eternal security/his salvation. Our salvation is not dependent on how many good works we do. But, the believer who takes his salvation for granted, turns his back on God and lives a life of sin is endangering his soul and very well may wake up one day in hell!

    The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!

    I encourage evangelicals to read this Lutheran statement on this issue:

  2. I am not concerned with what the church has believed, but with what the scripture says and what the apostles taught.

    Just because someone said the “Sinner’s Prayer”, went forward at an altar call, or had an ‘experience’ doesn’t mean they are saved. These are unbiblical are are irrelevant to the issue. Salvation is entirely something God does in response to faith. (Faith itself doesn’t save either; only God does.)

    I have given plenty of references to scripture showing OSAS is not a new doctrine. Look them up. Jesus and the apostles taught it. It makes no sense to say you will be saved (Romans 10:9) one moment, and the next moment say you might not. If you can lose your salvation, then you were never really saved to begin with.

  3. Many Christians have said the following to themselves during a very difficult period in their life: “Am I really saved?” Here are the thought processes on this issue for an Evangelical and a Lutheran:

    The Evangelical’s Assurance of Salvation:

    1. At age ___ I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. At that moment I asked Jesus to come into my heart to be my Lord and Savior and to forgive me of my sins.

    2. But since I am currently questioning my salvation, maybe I didn’t “do it” correctly. Maybe I didn’t fully understand what I was doing. Maybe I didn’t fully repent. Maybe I didn’t really have complete faith. Maybe I did it just because my friends were doing it. Maybe…

    3. I don’t know…maybe I should “do it” again, just to be 100% sure.

    The Lutheran’s Assurance of Salvation:

    1. Have I been baptized into the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, thereby receiving God’s promise of the forgiveness of my sins, salvation of my soul, faith, and eternal life?
    Answer: Yes.

    2. Have I outright rejected Christ as my Lord and Savior?
    Answer: No.

    3. Am I living a life of ongoing sin in willful disobedience and defiance of my Lord?
    Answer: No.

    Therefore, I KNOW I am saved!

    When your assurance of salvation is based on what GOD did and not what you did, it makes all the difference in the world!

  4. This is also in the Bible:
    The Apostle Paul wrote in Rom 8:12-13:
    Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation-but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For IF you live according to the flesh, YOU WILL DIE; but IF by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, YOU WILL LIVE.

    These verses describes the potential death of born-again believers, referred to as the brethren in v. 12. If this death were not a real possibility, the warning would be nonsensical. We also know that this warning pertains to spiritual death – not physical death – because everyone dies physically irrespective of how we live our lives. Moreover, one must have spiritual life in order to be in danger of spiritual death. You cannot threaten a spiritually dead person with spiritual death. Such a person is already dead. Therefore, it must be concluded that these are regenerate brethren who are being warned of dying. Also note that these verse are conditional – not unconditional – as indicated by the word “if.” IF those believers walk according to the flesh – they will die. IF those believers walk according to the Spirit – they will live.
    The warnings in Scripture are given to guard against the false notion of eternal security.

    • Romans 8 is speaking entirely about sanctification, not justification. (Paul has already completed his discourse on justification in chapters 1 to 5.) The consequences in Romans 8 are temporal, not eternal. Salvation is entirely by faith apart from works (3:28). If you assume the consequence in 8:13 is also eternal, then Paul has just contradicted himself.

      Romans 8:1 comes IMMEDIATELY after Romans 7:25. (Remember, chapter divisions were added later.) Read them together. The conclusion is there is no condemnation to anyone who still serves sin in his flesh IF he is in Christ.

      • Thanks for the courtesy of your reply Andrew. I agree with you that Rom 8 addresses sanctification but based on your response, we disagree on the nature of sanctification’s bearing upon our salvation. Your assertion that the consequences in Rom 8 are “temporal, not eternal” are not derived from the text. Paul specifically warns of spiritual death in this chapter and without exception in Scripture, spiritual death means unsaved, separation from God, subject to judgment, under condemnation, eternal damnation, etc. Thus your claim of temporal consequences appears unwarranted to me.

        You cite Rom 3:28 as support for your view but just what kind of works is Paul referring to in this verse? Notice that it is WORKS of the law. By works, Paul is referring to the ceremonial law which includes the ritualistic sacrifices and offerings, washings, circumcision, etc. according to the OT law. Nowhere in all of his epistles does Paul or any other NT writer for that matter, condemn works done out of obedience to the leading of the Spirit. After all, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph 2:10). James’ epistle teaches the same: “You see that a person is justified by WORKS and not by faith alone” (Jas 2:24) which is at odds with your statement that “salvation is entirely by faith apart from works.” So while works done out of the flesh or according to the OT law are dead works and account for nothing, works done out of obedience to God are the evidence of saving faith (not the cause of it.) So Paul does not contradict himself nor do his writings conflict with James’writings.

        Lastly, your conclusion that “there is no condemnation to anyone who still serves sin in his flesh IF he is in Christ” is the opposite of what these scriptures actually say. Yes – there is no condemnation – But ONLY IF he is IN Christ. So the pertinent question is what does it mean to be in Christ? Verse 4 provides the context and answer: “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us WHO DO NOT WALK ACCORDING TO THE FLESH but according to the Spirit.”

        Anyone who walks according to the flesh cannot be said to be IN Christ and is therefore still subject to condemnation which is perfectly consistent with what Paul later writes in verse 13.

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