Can a person know for sure if they are going to heaven? Or do we live the best we can and hope we won’t be disappointed?
I well remember sitting in my college apartment and having a young woman ask me when I’d become a Christian.
“I grew up in the church. I walk forward every time we have a revival and ask Christ into my heart,” I said.
“We only have to ask Jesus into our hearts one time” she said. “When we ask in faith, His Spirit comes to permanently dwell in us.”We only have to ask Jesus into our hearts one time. When we ask in faith, His Spirit comes to permanently dwell in us. #assurance, #grace Click To Tweet
That was a new and exhilarating idea to me. I thought the way you stayed committed was to keep asking Jesus into your heart. That afternoon Sharon explained how to gain assurance of my salvation. In case you or someone you love has struggled with this, let’s look at three reasons why a believer may doubt his/her salvation and some assurances the Bible offers.
3 Reasons People Doubt Their Salvation.
- An unclear spiritual birthday
The Bible speaks of salvation as rebirth or being born again (Jn. 3:3). There is a point in which we move from darkness into light, from death into life, and from being God’s enemy to becoming His beloved child. But for some, especially those of us raised in faith, it may be hard to pinpoint a specific time when that occurred.
I had many aha moments in my childhood when my heart thrilled at the reality of God. It took some reflection to zero in on the time I understood my need for a Savior. I remembered my heart being broken at a church camp when I realized Jesus had died for my sin. I believe that is when I was transferred into God’s family. I came home from that weekend bursting with joy.
Charles Ryrie put it this way, “People are either saved or lost at any given moment. No one grows into conversion. But we all do grow in our comprehension of conversion. So, although in God’s sight and in our experience there was a point in time when we were saved, in our recollection or understanding we may not be able to specify it.”
- Doubts over the procedure
I’ve met some who struggle with salvation because they aren’t sure they did it just right. They focus on the process instead of the promise. If their conversion was private they worry because they didn’t publicly walk an aisle.
- An ongoing struggle with sin
Those who have an ongoing struggle with sin are more likely to doubt their salvation. Because “we all stumble in many ways” (Js. 3:2) it’s vital to remember salvation is based on God’s grace not human performance. Understanding the transformation that occurred in our identity when we were born again into God’s family often breaks the yoke of sin’s power in a believer’s life (2 Cor. 5:17). (See Becoming Clean.)
3 Assurances of Salvation
- “God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it” (Ephes. 2:8-9 GW).
- “The person who has the Son has this life. The person who doesn’t have the Son of God doesn’t have this life. I’ve written this to those who believe in the Son of God so that they will know that they have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:12-13 GW).
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16 NIV).
Salvation is a matter of faith. We choose to believe His promises. If you aren’t sure if you belong to God, you can make sure right now. Admit your doubt and sin. Thank Him for dying for your sins. Accept Him as your Savior and Lord. Write the date in your Bible. If doubts rise again, thank God He heard your prayer the first time and recommit your desire to honor Him with your life.
God wants His children to feel secure in His love. Please settle the matter today. Receive His gift and move from doubt to thanksgiving.
Ryrie, C. C. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (p. 380). Chicago, IL: Moody Press.