How Can I Be Sure I'm Saved?
If we think the Bible teaches universal salvation, we may arrive at a false sense of assurance by reasoning as follows: Everybody is saved. I am a body. Therefore, I am saved.
Or, if we think salvation is gained by our own good works and we are further deluded into believing that we possess good works, we will have a false assurance of salvation.
To have sound assurance, we must understand that our salvation rests on the merit of Christ alone, which is appropriated to us when we embrace Him by genuine faith. If we understand that, the remaining question is, "Do I have the genuine faith necessary for salvation?"
Again, two more things must be understood and analyzed properly. The first is doctrinal. We need a clear understanding of what constitutes genuine saving faith. If we conceive of saving faith as existing in a vacuum, never yielding the fruit of works of obedience, we have confused saving faith with dead faith, which cannot save anyone.
The second requirement involves a sober analysis of our own lives. We must examine ourselves to see whether the fruit of regeneration is apparent in our lives. Do we have a real affection for the biblical Christ? Only the regenerate person possesses real love for the real Jesus. Next we must ask the tough question, "Does my life manifest the fruit of sanctification?" I test my faith by my works.
PS, My story, Born Again
One day while listening to a sermon in church, the Holy Spirit tugged at my heart. I knew it was useless to look for the answer from men. I realized their helplessness and sometimes their lack of understanding. Matthew 19:26 says "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." In response to the altar call, I got up and there I surrendered fully to my Lord and Savior. Confessing my sins and promising repentance, I invited Jesus into my life and my heart.
Romans 10:9: If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
1John 5:1: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and everyone who loves the parent also loves the child.
My desire for salvation was so great that I also answered the following five altar calls. I felt that eyes were upon me from within the fellowship of such a large, conservative church. Somehow, that made my response to all these altar calls seem even more meaningful and I knew that God was smiling.
Because this experience was so meaningful, I realized that my water baptism several years earlier had been a ceremonial event and was not done with one hundred percent of my heart, body, and Soul. My relationship with Jesus Christ began with a commitment of mind, soul and every atom of my body speaking in unity to make Him my Lord. He was my Head without question.
Although I was still deeply depressed, I felt a burden lift from my shoulders and in my heart there was an appetite for praising God and enjoying Christian music. During that period I did not listen to any other type of music but constantly played gospel music.
II Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions in difficulties for when I am weak, then I am strong.
It was at this point, when I made the choice to put God first, that I decided to clean house. I dumped all my expensive liquor and liqueurs down the drain. The alcohol was kept for guests, except for the occasional Harvey's Bristol Crème; I was not a drinker. Perusing my desk drawer I found a calendar with pictures of scantily clad women.
These photos were not vulgar so I decided to keep them. The Holy Spirit, however, directed me to dispose of them. Last but not least were my astrology books. Any book that had to do with palm reading or astrology I threw away. I did this because I felt so strongly about my commitment to God. I knew that I had become a new creature when I received the Lord.
Everything that I thought would be offensive to God, I got rid of. I had convinced myself that astrology, at least in reference to character traits, was a real thing and that since God is the creator of the universe, surely the moon and stars influenced one's birth. Farmers believe the plants influence the times crops should be planted. The moon exerts an influence on the tides of the sea.
However, the Bible says that we must not dwell on these things and that we must put God first. So, almost reluctantly I disposed of all of my astrology books. The Holy Spirit had revealed the awesome truth of God and I intended not only to put Him first in my life but also to use all of my creative gifts in serving Him.
My depression lasted for a year and a half but once again I felt strong and invincible. I joined a choir and the Full Gospel Businessmen. I was delighted to give my testimony and felt so much love for my fellow man. Being an inquisitive person, I savored every sermon that I heard, taking the words into my very spirit so I could learn more about my creator.
Every time I think of how the Lord rescued me out of my hopeless state of depression, I praise Him with every fiber of my being. He heard my cry and did more than help as I sought shelter in His holiness. He came to my rescue in His way and in His time so that there would be a permanent change in me and that my soul would be saved. Yes, He was giving me a testimony, taking away Satan's hands that blinded my eyes so that I would have a glimpse of His wonderful kingdom. Now I know the meaning of the Proverb, "The fear (respect, acknowledgement) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Psalms 40:1-3: I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things He did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in Him.