Am I Saved? Can I Know For Sure?
written by Stephen Willette
This post may or may not ruffle some feathers. For most of my childhood and adult life, I always held to the belief that if someone prayed and asked Jesus into their heart, regardless of age and at what point in their life, they would be what Christians say, “saved.” You know the prayer. If you have gone to a Bible-believing church at any point in your life, that concluded the service with an altar call (or inviting people forward to pray), you’ve heard the prayer. “Dear Jesus, I know I’m a sinner. I know that You came and died on the cross for my sins, and that You rose again…” is typically how it begins. The pastor, or whoever is leading the service, will then ask people to keep their heads bowed and ask for a show of hands if anyone prayed that prayer with him. Hands will go up, and he will then ask for those who raised their hand to look at him. “Did you mean it?” is the next question. I always kind of chuckle during this part. My head is bowed because I don’t want to be that person caught looking around. The humor more comes at the point where I hear the person leading the service say something like, “Yes, I see that hand. I see that hand, thank you. All the way in the back, I see your hand.” Are people actually raising their hands or is the pastor saying this so that maybe others feel comfortable in actually raising their hands. Why do I find this humorous? While I was an instructor in the Air Force, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to start to doze off. If it wasn’t for standing in front of a large classroom, some of the curriculum I had to teach would put me to sleep too! It was a pretty common tactic to throw out mid-lecture, “I see you starting to fall asleep in the back,” or “Wake up back there!” Did I actually see someone falling asleep? Not all the time. So, when it comes to this point in the service and people are asked to raise their hands while everyone’s head is supposed to be bowed, I wonder if the pastor up front is using the same sort of tactic.
Now please don’t get me wrong. This point in the service is one of the most crucial times in some people’s life. Decisions are made to follow Christ. Hearts are being broken and the Word of God is piercing the very depths of the soul. It’s nothing to laugh about.
I can recall a point in time in my own life that I prayed the prayer and asked Jesus into my heart. The date was June 28th, 1984, and I was riding in my dad’s orange Dodge Ram pick-up truck. I believe I had gone with him to church that evening and went out with him for church visitation. “Visitation” is something some churches still do today and is basically going to neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and inviting people to church. I clearly and distinctly remember telling my dad on the way home that I didn’t want to die and go to hell. Pretty deep stuff for a four-year old!
June 28th, 1984…my spiritual birthday. It’s the date I can look back on and say I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was four years old. I didn’t have this big conversion experience that I hear others talk about. I didn’t weep. I didn’t feel proverbial chains of sin being loosed. I was four years old. Does my salvation at a young age make it less valuable or meaningful than someone who comes to Christ at the age of thirty? Fifty? Eighty? Of course not. God spoke to our hearts at different times and through different circumstances. The blood of Jesus Christ doesn’t have an expiration date.
But something I want to really talk to you about is several questions I have asked myself a lot lately. It’s serious and probably the most important questions someone can ask themselves apart from where they will spend eternity when they die. Am I truly saved? If I say that I am, what fruit is my life producing? How can someone look at me and know that I am a follower of Christ? Did I once produce fruit, but the tree died a long time ago? Or did I never actually produce fruit? These are pretty intense questions, and they’re ones I have been asking myself. The answers to these questions ultimately, I believe, confirm whether the decision made back in 1984 was in fact genuine. I’m quite positive that my asking Jesus into my heart at a young age wasn’t the result of an emotional decision. I think that is what we see a lot of today. People get hyped up on the praise and worship music at church, the message is given, and many are still on this emotional “high.” Am I saying that their salvation isn’t genuine? Not at all! I am not God, and I don’t claim to be a discerner of hearts. But is it possible for many to believe they are saved, having prayed and asked Jesus into their hearts and forgive them of their sins, only for it to be based on an emotionally driven decision? Absolutely! So how can we tell the difference? What are some simple ways we can look at ourselves and at others, and know for certain that salvation was indeed genuine?
There are three ways anyone can know they’re truly saved. First, the Bible is clear when it comes to salvation. John 3:16, which is probably the verse most of us memorize first, says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Who is “whoever?” You and I! It’s pretty clear, huh? All we have to do is believe in Jesus, and we will have eternal life. Let’s look at a few more verses where God makes it clear in His Word that we can be assured of our salvation.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9, Legacy Standard Bible (LSB)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23, LSB
“for ‘WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL SAVED.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!’ However, they did not all heed the good news, for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, have they never heard? On the contrary, they have; ‘THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.’”Romans 10:13-18, LSB (Capitalized words are references to Old Testament Scripture)
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39, LSB
So here we have just a few verses from Scripture that assure us of eternal life with Jesus. I believe one hundred percent that when a person is saved, they are always saved. I don’t believe someone can be saved today and somehow lose their salvation.
“For in the case of those once having been enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift and having become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and having tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and having fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”Hebrews 6:4-6, LSB
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”Ephesians 2:8, LSB
“In Him, you also, after listening to the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”Ephesians 1:13-14, LSB
“and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish – ever; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”John 10:28, LSB
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6, LSB
So, there are just a FEW verses from God’s Word that give us the hope that once we are saved, we cannot therefore lose that salvation. God isn’t an indian-giver. We can’t crucify Christ twice. The penalty He paid for our sins wasn’t temporary or based on what sin we commit. That would make His death on the cross void. It would place limitations on His grace. As I previously stated, Jesus’ blood doesn’t have an expiration date! Once you are sealed with the Holy Spirit, that seal cannot be taken away; by you or anyone else!
Please come back tomorrow as I discuss the second of three ways that we can be sure of our salvation. You may also subscribe to this blog and be notified via email whenever there’s new content posted! Feel free to drop your thoughts, questions, or comments below.