This is probably one of the lingering questions that believers, especially new ones, will often have, and it should be a question that we are to desire an answer for. I think that it is normal to desire an assurance in having salvation from the Lord.
I can often times think back to when I struggled with this thought even when I definitely was a Christian. There were even times where I thought that I deserved hell and that I should never have come to Christ. While it is good to have conviction, I don’t advocate doubt. The reason being is this: if there is even a chance that God indeed saved you, then to doubt that salvation would be blasphemy.
Salvation is a gift of God, and it is not by works. To doubt your possible salvation is to doubt the plausible work of God. That is why it is never safe to doubt, but it is most definitely safe to look upon our conviction and be able to recognize the state of our soul through an examination of our view of our sin, God’s holiness and Christ’s work.
For the sake of not boring you, or the possibility of drawing out this post to a length that would probably be too much for some, I’m going to answer this question in a straight-forward manner: if you love God, you are saved. Now, what do I mean by that?
This culture certainly likes to throw the word love around too quickly and carelessly, but what does it mean, biblically, to love? The Bible shows us that love is sacrificial and that love is an action and continual work. When you love your wife, you choose to love your wife and to give your all for her. When you love your father and mother, you choose to love and respect them and to submit to them when you’re young and provide for them when they are of age.
So, what does it mean to love God? Is it to have a sentimental feeling for God or to be thankful to Him? No. Those are good things, but that is not the action of love. So, what is love? What is this action that can assure me to know whether I am saved or not? Believe it or not, Jesus answers this: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15 ESV). I think that how you respond to that claim will determine where you are.
- If you feel as though that text doesn’t apply to you, you are ignorant.
- If you feel as though you perfectly keep His commandments, you are lost.
- If you feel convicted and burdened by what God says, and realize that you need God in order to even try to keep the commandments… you are most likely saved.
We don’t examine our salvation through our doubts but through our convictions. How we know the presence of the Holy Spirit is within us is when we understand the weight of God’s holiness, but we also understand the availability of grace in a deeper level. We still fear God, but we also love Him, and for that, we will strive in our sanctification.
A pastor named John Bevere once said that it is possible to love God as an unbeliever. I believe that is a gross misunderstanding of the Bible. No one can love God unless “…God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5 ESV). The only way to love God and hate sin is to receive His love and Holy Spirit, and that is what a believer has. If you love God, if you love His word, if you love His commandments, if you despise sin, if you strive for perfection and sanctification, if you continually come back to God in your time of need or conviction… you are a believer.
If you claim to be a Christian yet don’t desire to keep God’s commandments, the Scriptures say, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15 ESV). You cannot be a Christian and love anything contrary to God. Those whom God loves, will love God; those whom God saves, will be sanctified. The Scripture promises and even guarantee’s this by saying, “We love Him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 KJV).
It’s tough to sometimes see your own sin and imperfection and feel unworthy before God, but that is actually a sign that you fear God. If you feel that you need to ask yourself a follow-up: I am a sinner and am unworthy, but do I still feel like I can approach God despite my unworthiness?
If you answered yes, then you love God and you have nothing to fear or question your salvation about. Yes, there will be danger and strife, toils and tribulations, but you will always come back to the God whom you love dearly, knowing He is the perfect One who redeemed you and will preserve you.
If you answered no, then my dear friend… I urge you to run to God. God invites all sinners to come into His arms and to receive His gift of salvation. Jesus promises to give rest to all who are convicted by sin yet have no comfort or refuge. Christ is the Redeemer and Lord over all who come to Him, and He has not yet refused a single person.
Friends, brothers and sisters in the faith, our love for God is very important. I truly believe that our love for the One whom we couldn’t love in our sinful ways can assure us that we are on the Christian path. I hope that no one doubts, but rather that they examine their hearts and see their attitudes and yearnings.
I pray that those who haven’t come to Christ come to Him soon. I pray that God will open up the eyes of the ignorant who don’t see the error in His ways. Lastly, I pray that God will never let us err into doubt, but that we would take comfort in the work of Christ, the means of grace and in His holy word and commandments that will vindicate us daily as we strive for the building of Christ’s Kingdom and the renewing of our minds.
Soli Deo Gloria.