How can you KNOW that you are really saved?
It is very important that we test ourselves to see whether or not we are really in the faith. Faith is not something that we do once and are saved forever because of that moment. Jesus taught us this through the Parable of the Sower which you can read in Matthew 13:18-23, 36-43. He taught that not all who at first believe, will continue in the faith. Some will not understand, and so the truth will not remain in their hearts. Some will quickly fall away when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, and some will get distracted by the cares and pleasures of life. Jesus said that only the one who continues in Him until the end will be saved:
“And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me,
and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
It is only those who continue in His word, and bear fruit until the end who will be saved. When we come to Christ through faith in His word, we are saved, delivered from our sins, and given new life in Jesus, but we must continue in Him, until the end- until the day of redemption. Those who do not continue will not inherit the promises of eternal life:
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
—unless indeed you are disqualified.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Our assurance comes from a couple of different sources :
One of the most important ways that we know we are saved is through faith. Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? When a person comes to true faith, they will know that their sins are forgiven. We must not begin to doubt, but hold firm to the promises that we have been given:
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end
Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith —
the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9
Unfortunately, it’s also possible to believe that we are saved, but have a false hope because we are not actually walking and living by faith. God’s word is filled with warnings to us to bear fruits worthy of repentance and faith. Faith that does not produce works is dead(James 2). If you want to be sure you have a true, saving faith, examine your works:
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
1 John 2:3-6
Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, … And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not (continue in) sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins (continues in his sins) is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin(continue in sin), because he has been born of God.
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest:
Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God,
nor is he who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10
If you repented of your sins, you made a decision, in your heart, to follow Jesus and learn to do what pleases Him. That means that you no longer live in willful rebellion against Him, but you have decided to live in obedience to God. You are now practicing righteousness. This does not mean that a child of God is sinless, but that we do not continue in known, willful sin. There are things that we need to grow in, such as patience, gentleness, love, etc. However, we will not continue on in our sinful ways:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Cor. 6:9-11
Jesus describes His sheep as those who hear His voice Follow Him:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-18
The promise of eternal life, is to those who have faith in Jesus, and bear the fruits of that faith, and continue in Him, until the end:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
If we obey His commandments, we will abide in His love. This does not mean that we are working towards our salvation, but that we are walking with Jesus, by faith. If at any time, we begin to trust in our own good works to save us, we will fall from grace, because it is only through faith in Jesus that we are saved. When we are walking with Jesus, He is going to be continually showing us areas of our life that need to be cleaned up, and sin that needs to be repented of. It is important that we don’t allow sin to continue, but that we repent of it right away, and continue to walk with Jesus:
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:5-10
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end
We must be careful because if we allow sin in our lives, it will harden us towards Christ until eventually we are no longer abiding in Him. We cannot continue to disobey the Lord and walk with Him at the same time. It will be hard for us to pray, worship, read His word and have fellowship with Him if we are resisting Him in any way.
If you are unsure about your salvation, ask yourself if you really believe, then ask yourself if there is any sin in your life that you know you must repent of. If there is, then that is the source of your problem. You must repent and not allow it to draw you away from the Lord. The Lord is merciful and always ready to forgive us and cleanse us of our sins, if we repent. He is also faithful to correct us when we are wrong, and we must heed His correction because it's for our own good:
Therefore ...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, ...
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12 (shortened)
God's word says that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him. Cast aside your sins, and wholly devote yourself to walking with Jesus and doing what is pleasing to Him and trusting in His mercy to wash away all your sin. You will have true joy and peace and know that your home is in heaven.
Making Sure You Know Jesus