There is a unique story from the Bible that holds deep meaning for Christians. It’s about the thief on the cross. This tale reminds us of God’s boundless kindness and the promise of heaven through trust in Christ.
The thief, who was hanged next to Jesus, was on the edge of meeting his fate for his past actions. Just before dying, he changed. This change is a powerful example of how Christ’s sacrifice can save us all. He repented and asked Jesus for mercy, acknowledging Him as the Lord.
We live in a world filled with uncertainties, and the assurance of salvation has profound significance for many. Whether you are a devoted believer or someone seeking spiritual answers, the quest for assurance is universal.
- 1 What Is The Assurance Of Salvation?
- 2 10 Assurances Of Salvation
- 3 Can One Lose Their Assurance Of Salvation?
- 4 Reasons Why People Lack Assurance
- 5 How To Attain The Assurance Of Salvation
- 6 Reasons Why We Should Seek Assurance Of Salvation
- 7 Conclusion
What Is The Assurance Of Salvation?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.— Ephesians 2:8–9
The certainty of salvation is a pledge for eternal life. It’s having complete trust in being saved through faith in Jesus Christ. This trust springs from the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of eternal life with our holy God in heaven.
This certainty, anchored in biblical teachings, provides deep calmness and safety to believers. The thief on the cross got assurance of salvation. Jesus told him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
The struggle with the assurance of salvation is not uncommon among God’s children. The Bible admonishes Christians to scrutinize their faith, ensuring it is genuine and not self-deception.
As the Apostle Paul urges in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” Peter similarly emphasizes the importance of confirming one’s calling and election in 2 Peter 1:10.
Throughout history, questions regarding the characteristics of genuine saving faith have persisted. Preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield notably led the first Great Awakening in America, which resulted in a wave of conversions. However, skeptics emerged, claiming that many who professed conversion displayed no evidence of genuine change.
True faith involves recognizing your wrongdoing, feeling sorry about it, and accepting the promise of salvation. Clearly, the Bible states that people reborn with the Holy Spirit are forever saved and granted eternal life. They fully believe in Jesus Christ and are firmly accepted into God’s family. They’ll never lose this salvation. Why? Because God finishes the work He started (Philippians 1:6).
The apparent warnings against apostasy, or falling away from the faith, have led some to question the doctrine of eternal security. However, it is essential to understand that apostates are individuals who pretended to be believers but never genuinely received Christ as their Savior. Those who genuinely trust Christ are eternally secure in their salvation.
Assurance of salvation offers believers a profound sense of peace and confidence in their eternal destiny. Grounded in the teachings of God’s Word, this assurance is attainable through genuine faith, repentance, and submission to God’s truth.
10 Assurances Of Salvation
1. Forgiveness of sins. This assurance guarantees that when we genuinely repent and seek God’s forgiveness, our sins are pardoned.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.— 1 John 1:9
2. Eternal life. This assurance promises that those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.— John 3:16
3. Adoption into God’s family. This promise signifies that believers are adopted into God’s family and can call Him Father.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.— Romans 8:15-16
4. Sealing by the Holy Spirit. This declaration demonstrates that the Holy Spirit seals believers as a guarantee of their future inheritance.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.— Ephesians 1:13-14
5. Justification. This assurance signifies that, through faith, believers are declared righteous in God’s eyes.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.— Romans 5:1
6. Peace with God. This assurance grants believers a profound peace that transcends worldly troubles.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.— Philippians 4:7
7. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This promise confirms that the Holy Spirit resides within believers, guiding and empowering them.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.— 1 Corinthians 6:19
8. Access to God. This assurance ensures that believers have direct access to God through prayer and receive His mercy and grace.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.— Hebrews 4:16
9. Preservation. This assurance affirms that believers are securely held in the hands of Jesus and can never be separated from His love.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.— John 10:28
10. Fruitful Life. This guarantee promises that believers, when abiding in Christ, will bear fruit in their lives.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.— John 15:5
Can One Lose Their Assurance Of Salvation?
While the concept of eternal security is widely debated among Christians, many believe that true believers cannot lose their salvation.
The Bible provides strong support for this view, emphasizing God’s faithfulness in preserving His children. However, there are warnings in the Bible about falling away from the faith and Christian life, which suggests the possibility of losing assurance.
Christians take comfort in the stable base of their salvation, brought about by Christ’s blood. Jesus died on the cross. As per 1 Peter 1:18–19, this salvation doesn’t rely on fleeting riches, such as silver or gold.
Instead, it depends on Christ’s precious and faultless blood shed on the cross. Once redeemed, a person remains redeemed, for God’s omniscience ensures that He won’t shed His blood for those He doesn’t intend to redeem.
Justification, the doctrine explaining salvation, confirms this unwavering security. Romans 5:1 declares that God justifies and declares us righteous through faith.
At the cross, our sins were exchanged for Christ’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). To lose salvation, God would have to retract His declaration and reverse the exchange, which is inconceivable.
The promise in John 3:16 ensures eternal life for those who believe in Christ. This life is truly eternal, as God’s promise is unbreakable. To lose salvation would contradict God’s pledge and undermine His trustworthiness.
In John 10:28, Christ affirms that He gives eternal life, and no one, including believers themselves, can be snatched from His hand. This eternal life is a divine gift that persists unconditionally.
However, believers may grapple with moments of doubt or backsliding due to their human nature and sins. Yet, when it comes to eternal security, the Bible is clear that those who have been saved will never be lost.
Additionally, the Holy Spirit acts as a seal of God’s ownership, guaranteeing believers’ eternal inheritance. This assurance is described as “imperishable,” “undefiled,” and “unfading,” emphasizing the eternal nature of salvation.
The question of Christians abandoning their faith raises a vital point. According to Scripture, those who do so were likely never saved to begin with. “Once saved, always saved” holds from God’s perspective, as nothing can separate believers from His love.
Reasons Why People Lack Assurance
The assurance of salvation brings comfort and hope to many of us Christians. It is an enduring reminder of our unwavering confidence that our relationship with God is secure and that eternal salvation is guaranteed.
However, some of us may grapple with doubt and uncertainty, struggling to find peace in our faith journey. There are several reasons for this:
The Need For Evidence
One common reason for this uncertainty is the intrinsic human tendency to question and seek evidence. We live in a world that values empirical evidence and proof, making it difficult for some to reconcile the intangible nature of salvation with the tangible world around them.
One of the primary reasons people struggle with assurance of salvation is the burden of unconfessed sins. Doubts often creep in when feeling bad and unworthy. Lots of people think their wrongs may be too big to forgive. They wonder: Does God’s kindness cover them?
Another significant factor that can erode one’s assurance of salvation is spiritual doubt. This doubt can take on various forms, including intellectual and emotional uncertainty about the Christian faith.
Intellectual doubts may arise from questions about the reliability of the Bible, the existence of God, or the problem of evil.
Emotional doubts, on the other hand, can stem from feelings of distance from God, unanswered prayers, or a lack of tangible spiritual experiences. These doubts can lead to a pervasive feeling of insecurity in one’s faith.
Comparison And Legalism
In some cases, believers may lack the assurance of salvation because they fall into the trap of comparison and legalism. They may attempt to earn their salvation through good works or constantly compare their faith with others.
This legalistic approach to faith can lead to a perpetual sense of insecurity because it is rooted in one’s performance rather than God’s grace.
Diverse Religious Backgrounds
Furthermore, differences in theological interpretation and teachings across religious denominations contribute to the diversity of views on salvation, causing confusion and insecurity.
A real-life example could be a person raised in a religious household who encounters contrasting beliefs during their spiritual journey, leading to a crisis of assurance.
Circumstantial Challenges: Weathering The Storms Of Life
Life’s trials and tribulations can also be a source of doubt for believers, leading them to question their faith and salvation.
When faced with adversity, some may wonder why a loving God allows suffering. These circumstantial challenges can create a crisis of faith, especially when one expects a life free from hardships as a result of their faith.
Finally, spiritual attacks orchestrated by the enemy can sow doubt in the hearts of believers. The adversary seeks to undermine faith and erode assurance through deceit and temptation. Recognizing and resisting these spiritual attacks is crucial for maintaining confidence in one’s salvation.
How To Attain The Assurance Of Salvation
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”— John 14:6
Achieving the assurance of salvation involves understanding the promises of God. We must adopt specific steps to strengthen our faith:
Steps To Attain Assurance
- Study the Bible. Regularly read and meditate on Scripture to gain a deeper understanding of God’s promises.
- Prayer and confession. God listens. Maintain a strong prayer life and confess sins to God, seeking His forgiveness.
- Fellowship. Connect with a community of believers for support, encouragement, and accountability.
- Remember your conversion. Reflect on your conversion experience and the moment you accepted Christ.
- Examine your fruits. Assess your life for evidence of a transformed heart and the fruit of the Spirit.
- Resist temptations. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to resist sin and temptations.
- Trust God’s promises. Trust in God’s promises and his faithfulness.
- Seek wise counsel. Seek guidance from trusted spiritual mentors and leaders.
- Cultivate gratitude. Maintain a heart of gratitude for the salvation and grace God has provided.
- Persevere. Continue to walk in faith and endure through trials.
Reasons Why We Should Seek Assurance Of Salvation
The journey to the certainty of being saved isn’t just a religious task. Its effects are deep and wide, impacting every part of someone’s life and beliefs.
Importantly, being sure about salvation gives the believer a priceless sense of calm and safety. It dispels the looming shadows of doubt, fear, and the dread of condemnation.
This assurance brings inner tranquility to one, as they know that a merciful God accepts and loves them. This inner peace, in turn, creates a firm foundation upon which a life of faith can flourish.
Furthermore, the declaration of salvation brings a deep sense of joy and contentment. Knowing God is with us gives us joy, meaning, and satisfaction. This bliss doesn’t vanish. It’s deep because we believe God loves us forever.
In the face of life’s trials and tribulations, assurance becomes a wellspring of resilience. It bolsters our ability to endure hardships, knowing God is with us in our struggles. This knowledge offers the strength to weather life’s storms and emerge from them with greater faith and endurance.
Assurance of salvation also catalyzes personal growth and transformation. When believers are secure in their salvation, they glorify God. This pursuit of godliness leads to a profound inner transformation, cultivating virtues like love, kindness, and humility.
Moreover, this promise constantly redirects our focus from temporary concerns to eternal matters. It reminds us that our ultimate destination is in the arms of the Divine, encouraging us to invest our time, energy, and resources in things of eternal significance.
The quest for assurance of salvation is not a mere theological inquiry but a profound journey that impacts every facet of one’s existence.
It endows individuals with inner peace and security, fosters joy and contentment, fortifies resilience in trials, drives personal transformation, and keeps our eyes fixed on the eternal horizon. The quest for assurance of salvation is the cornerstone upon which a fulfilling life of faith is built.
A genuine Christian is one who, by faith, has received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift from God. A Christian is a new creation, and God’s power ensures that this transformation remains permanent. Losing salvation contradicts God’s character, His promises, and His enduring faithfulness.