After posting, “What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?”, I received the following comment/question from a reader:
“Every thing that you said is true, but how can a person know he has been truly saved? Do you have to “feel” it with your emotions?”
Sometimes I don’t answer a question right away because I have to think it through prayerfully. This one is too vital not to.
Let me begin by answering the question with a question: — How were you saved in the first place? Do you know what you were saved from? First you have to know you are in danger. Then when the hero/savior appears, you have to trust that he can get you out of it.
The following are statements of facts according to the Word of God. As a Christian, they are non-negotiable. To become a Christian, belief in God and His Holy Word is also non-negotiable. So how do you get that kind of faith? The Bible says you have to want it.
So what are we saved from? We are saved from the wrath of God. Why was he mad? Because, all of us have sinned and not measured up to God’s glory [standard of purity and holiness].
Any sin, from the smallest of lies to murder, are crimes against the law of God. For us, the verdict is “guilty”, and the penalty is death. Only the blood of a pure and perfect sacrifice can satisfy God’s measure of justice.
Only one man ever qualified. And only one man volunteered to go the distance — all the way to the Roman cross. Jesus. Who was 100% human, and 100% God. Who was born of a virgin mother — a human woman, and the spirit of Holy God Himself. Then Jesus rose from the dead to complete the requirements of the sacrifice, and ensure us a place in Heaven forever.
But our part of the salvation process is to believe this, and be so sorry for our sins, that we ask God’s forgiveness as we turn away from that life and lifestyle and toward God. This is called “repentance”. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be “good” first. It doesn’t work that way. You can be Mother Theresa on steroids and it still won’t save you. There is only one who can, and that is Jesus:
At that moment we are given a “seal”, like a sign stamped on a contract, to show it’s a done deal. We are given the Spirit of God Himself. Somehow, the Holy Spirit comes into our deepest self and begins to teach us, to change us, to prepare us for the day when salvation is total — free of death and ascending to life eternal. We will have new bodies and a new home where there will be no more grief, tears, death, or emotional baggage. And we will meet those who have gone before. The Bible says we will “know as we are known”.
The knowledge of our salvation is based on the fact that God keeps his promises. He cannot lie. Believe — have faith — that God does and will forgive you and me. The Bible says that our sins — past, present, and future — are so completely covered by Jesus’ perfect blood, that God doesn’t see them anymore. They are as far from His sight as east is from the west, and will be remembered against us no more. You who believes and accepts in his heart that Jesus paid everything, is now free and clear of all debt and its penalty. That means you are also free of guilt, white as snow, bathed and clothed in the holiness of Jesus.
Do you have to feel something when salvation happens? The Bible doesn’t say so. But usually the conviction of sin (which comes from God), is a heavy burden. When you repent and God breaks that barrier of sin that has stood between you and Him, many people weep in sorrow for what they have done. Some shout with joy because of the lifting of that dark burden and the lightness of being they experience. Some people just feel quietly comforted. But quiet or weeping or loud, there is always the desire to tell someone, and that is Biblical.
But the main thing, besides the promise of God, is that the Holy Spirit will let you know by communicating with you personally.
This should be followed by baptism to show the world you are not the person you were before. You are a new person with a change of heart, filled with the spirit of God. You have a new attitude — a new future. You show this by the observance of baptism — which is an outward display of what has happened to you inwardly. You die to self (go under the water), and rise to newness of life. Or as the Bible says, you are a new person. You have shed the old person like an old set of clothes and slipped into the spirit of a new person, clothed now in righteousness.
And once you have become a Christian “in spirit and in truth”, nothing can take it away from you. Not even yourself, because once that seal is stamped, that contract cannot be broken.
Jesus said — And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one — John 10:28
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord — Romans 8:38-39