Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Blessed Assurance–Should It Be Mine?

Another critical element of the Christian life is a confident assurance that one is truly saved. If a believer questions his own salvation, several negative results are likely: he will not tell others of their need for salvation, he will not actively serve in any ministry, and he will be filled with doubts, questions, and fears about the future. On the other hand, when one is confident that he really is saved, he will boldly proclaim the gospel, seek to serve in a ministry, and will rest assured that he is forgiven. Assurance makes the difference between a weak, ineffective believer and a bold, effective one.

After being saved, some people struggle with doubting that they really are saved. Can a person know for sure that he is saved? How can he know? Note several significant truths about assurance:

  1. One aspect of assurance is confidence in the promises of the Bible.

The Bible tells us that those who repent of their sins and believe the gospel will be saved. If you’ve done what the Bible tells you to do regarding salvation, you have God’s promise that you are saved.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

  • How do you know that you can be confident of your salvation? The book states that one can know for sure.

  • What is this assurance based on? What is written.

  • Is assurance based on a fact or a feeling? Fact

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

A primary aspect of assurance is simply believing what God said in the Bible. Believers have God’s promise that those who trust Christ will be saved. If one is confident that God’s word is true, he should also be confident that his salvation is secure.

  1. The Holy Spirit gives assurance to those who are saved.

Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

These verses tell us that the Holy Spirit gives believers a calm, confident assurance that they have been converted. This aspect of assurance is more feeling-oriented and based on one’s own personal, inner experiences. Subjective rather than objective.

While one should not base his assurance of salvation primarily on inner feelings of peace and security, such an inner calmness and confidence is one aspect of assurance.

  1. Evidence of salvation will always follow true conversion. New creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) will give evidence of their new spiritual state by a radical change in attitudes and behaviors. Lack of spiritual fruit, or the wrong kind of fruit, is evidence of a lost condition (Matt 7:15-20).

Evidences of salvation from 1 John: true believers

  • walk in the light (1:6-7). They display Christ-like behaviors and attitudes.

  • are sensitive about sin. They confess and forsake it (1:8-10).

  • are obedient (2:3-5, 29). The general trend or pattern in a genuine believer’s life is obedience and holiness, not rebellion and worldliness.

  • love the things of God rather than the things of the world (2:15-17).

  • love other believers (3:10-15, 5:1-2). Genuine believers find true fellowship with other believers rather than with the unsaved crowd.

  • are committed to a doctrinally-sound church (2:19). True believers maintain unity with a group of orthodox believers in a church.

  • affirm sound doctrine (2:20-23). They are orthodox.

  • follow after holiness (2:29, 3:6-9). They are not sinless, but they are striving to cease from sin and follow the Lord.

Those who have such evidence in their lives can be assured that they are saved. Those who lack such evidence should seriously question the validity of their profession.

True believers will persevere (continue on) in faith and in good works. These evidences will continue in a genuine believer’s life. If one becomes unorthodox in his belief or if he fails to maintain the works required for a Christian, he has no reason to be assured of his salvation. True believers often do backslide for a time, but they will not ultimately reject Christ.

A person can know for sure that he is saved. It’s not a matter of “hope so” or “maybe so.” It’s a firm conviction based on God’s Word. If one has turned to Christ in faith, believes the right doctrine, displays clear evidence of salvation through his lifestyle, and enjoys the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, one can be assured that he truly is saved. Such assurance will likely not surface until some time after salvation. Assurance is like fruit—it takes a while to develop and mature. Some time must pass for the evidences of salvation to start displaying themselves. But if one is truly saved, such assurance will arrive. Until this kind of evidence arrives, it’s unwise and counterproductive to assure a person that he is saved. Rather, if there is little or no evidence, the person should doubt his salvation. This is why it is unwise to assure a new convert that he is really saved right after his decision to be saved. It may be a false profession. Time will tell whether he was sincere.

Decisions and Assurance

Evangelists should invite people to make a decision to repent of sin and believe the Gospel. Unfortunately, people tend to look back on their decision and the surrounding circumstances as the basis of their salvation. Rather than trusting Christ, they trust their decision and/or the experience associated with it. For example, one might think, “I had some experience (walked an aisle, signed a card, raised my hand) at some time in the past, so I must be saved.” Some even suggest writing the date on a wooden stake and pounding it into the ground as a reminder of that decision. If one ever doubts his salvation, he simply looks at the stake and reassures himself.

Salvation is our decision, at least from a human perspective. But we must not lose sight of the fact that God initiates and carries through salvation, not man. We must not look back on our decision, or any accompanying activity, to give us assurance of salvation. Instead, the basis of our assurance must be our current state of belief (Am I orthodox in my belief? Am I trusting Jesus Christ alone as my Lord and Savior?), behavior (Am I striving to live a Christ-honoring life? Am I growing in the Christian life?), and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14-16). Only those who have evidence (fruit) have a basis for assurance.

Note: Assurance of salvation is not the same as eternal security. Assurance deals with one’s own personal conviction, based on biblical evidence, that he is truly saved. Eternal security is the objective truth that all those who genuinely trust in Christ for salvation will be saved and cannot lose their salvation. Once a person is saved, he cannot ever be lost. The idea that a genuine believer is eternally secure should strengthen one’s assurance of salvation. The two ideas do work together, but they are separate doctrines. A genuine believer is eternally secure, but he may or may not have assurance of salvation.

Conclusion: Believers can and should enjoy a calm, steady assurance that they are saved. Such confidence is based on three things: the promises of the Bible, practical evidences (fruit) that typically accompany salvation, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. If any of these is missing or questionable, lack of assurance will result. But if they are present, the believer should have no doubts regarding his security in Christ.


  1. What are the three bases upon which one should base his assurance? Orthodox profession of faith, evidence of spiritual life, internal assurance from the H.S.

  2. Why is it dangerous to base your assurance of salvation on the fact that your raised your hand, walked an aisle, or prayed a prayer? Those activities do not save anyone.

  3. Are we capable of judging whether anyone else is saved? Yes and no. If they don’t claim to be saved, then yes, we can agree that they are not saved. If they claim to be saved but are in error on what they believe, again we can conclude that they are not saved. But if they claim to be saved and have an orthodox profession of faith, then we may doubt that they are saved, but we can’t know for sure.

  4. What if I don’t feel saved? Salv. is not based on feelings/emotions. On the other hand, if you doubt your salvation, you need to re-evaluate whether or not you are truly saved. Salvation is not emotion based, but there is an emotional, “feeling” aspect to assurance. If the evidence is not there, the feeling will likely not be there, either.

  5. Can a saved person ever lose salvation? No. A saved person will persevere in faith and in good works. If not, they never were saved to begin with. Lots of theological problems associated with losing salvation.

  6. Why is it unwise to assure a new convert that he really is saved right after his profession of faith? Because it’s very easy to make a false/empty profession of faith. Assurance is the result of a process. It takes time for fruit to develop, and assurance comes from fruitfulness. It’s best to adopt a “time will tell” attitude.

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 1: Salvation

Bible Boot Camp: Lesson 1: Salvation

We start Bible Bootcamp with the topic of salvation for a reason. Salvation is the first and most basic aspect of Christianity. None of the rest of the material in this series has any meaning for an unsaved person. Just like in the military, boot camp doesn’t apply to civilians.

It’s critical that we understand what salvation is all about. Some people think that doing good, going to church, or following certain religious rituals will eventually result in salvation. What does it mean to be saved?

Salvation is not:

  • based on works Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5 Can’t earn it or work for it. Not baptism, communion, etc.

  • based on nationality Romans 10:12-13 Doesn’t matter what your family background is.

Salvation is:

  • a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23)

  • based on God’s grace (same verses)

What is grace? Undeserved, unmerited favor. I.e., kindness, a good disposition toward someone even tho they don’t deserve it.

  • based on God’s prior choice (John 15:16; Romans 9:15; Ephesians 1:4)

  • by faith/belief (John 3:16, 36; Acts 16:31)

  • eternal (John 3:36, 5:24) Note that life starts at salvation.

God’s Purpose in Salvation

  1. God’s original purpose in creation was that mankind should honor and serve Him. God desires to enter into a relationship of loving rule over mankind.

Jeremiah 32:38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 36:28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

The overall theme of the Bible is how God enters into this relationship with man, whereby God rules over mankind and mankind recognizes God as his God. If this was God’s original purpose, why doesn’t it work that way? What happened?

Mankind chose to sin against his Creator rather than honor and serve Him.

Romans 3:23 All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We sin by either doing what God has prohibited (sins of commission) or not doing what God has commanded (sins of omission).

Sin is a problem because it causes separation from God. God is holy and man is sinful. God cannot fellowship with sinful creatures.

Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

God responds negatively to sin. Sin always demands punishment. Sin causes mankind to be dead spiritually, under God’s wrath, and condemned.

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death.

  1. People cannot earn, work for, or merit God’s forgiveness. There’s nothing anyone can do to turn aside God’s wrath against his or her sin. Good works, religion, morality and generosity are all ways that people attempt to appease God. But God is not pleased by any works that man can do.

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

  1. What mankind could not do, God did by sending His only Son to be a substitutionary sacrifice. When Jesus died on the cross, he endured the wrath of God against sin. He suffered in the place of sinners. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s sin by dying on the cross in their place. He rose again three days later.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; . . . was buried, and . . . rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  1. Sinners may receive forgiveness of sin by turning from sin and trusting in Christ. The right response to the Gospel is to repent of sin and believe in Christ.

  • Turn from sin — repent. Admit your sin to God. Ask Him to forgive you.

True repentance is a change of heart and purpose affecting the whole man—intellect, emotion and will. The literal meaning of “repentance” is “a change of mind.” Repentance is best described as a turning away from sin and toward God. It’s a total about-face. It’s an inner response of the whole person away from sin and toward God.

  • Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Ask Jesus to save you.

Saving faith is the knowledge of, assent to, and unreserved trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is knowing the facts about Christ, acknowledging that those facts are true, and personally believing and trusting in Christ as your savior from sin.

Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

At the point of salvation, God forgives the believer’s sin and gives him a positive standing. All sin—past, present, and future—is blotted out and taken away. The believer is also given a positive standing before God. There is no more separation between God and the sinner. In fact, the believer is adopted into God’s family.

Note: There are certain costs associated with trusting in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus demands first place in the believer’s life. The NT presents Jesus as both Savior and Lord. Those who desire salvation from sin must also recognize Christ’s authority over their lives. It is costly to be a disciple of Christ, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

1 John 2:3-6 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. . . . Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

The Great Change

A familiar chorus sung in many churches has the lyrics, “The things I used to do, I don’t do them any more. There’s been a great change since I’ve been born again.” A major change takes place in the life of the believer at the moment he repents of his sin and puts his faith in Christ.

  1. Ephesians 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world. . . Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.

  • What was our spiritual condition before salvation? Dead, objects of wrath

  • Describe our behavior before salvation. followed the ways of this world

  • What does the author mean by “the ways of the world”? The opposite of the ways of God—sinful behavior patterns, unconcerned about what God wants.

  • What is our spiritual condition after salvation? Alive in Christ

  • How should this changed spiritual condition change our behavior? Rather than following the ways of the world, we ought to follow the ways of Christ.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

  • What does “in Christ” mean? To be saved. Paul uses that expression frequently to refer to saved people.

  • What is true about those who are “in Christ”? they are new creations

  • What is true of one who is a new creation? The old has gone, the new has come. I.e., there has been a great change.

  1. Romans 6:17-18 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

  • What does Paul say we were before being saved? Slaves of sin

  • How does Paul describe what occurs at the point of salvation? wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted

  • What is the current standing of the believer? set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness

  • How should this spiritual truth be seen in our daily living? Instead of living in sin, we should strive to be righteous/holy

  1. Ephesians 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

  • How does Paul describe a person before salvation? The old man

  • How does he describe a person after salvation? The new man

  • Describe the difference between the two.

  • Old man: is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts

  • New man: is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Note: The great spiritual change that occurs at the point of salvation should be accompanied by a great change in one’s behavior patterns and attitudes. This is the most visible evidence that one is truly saved. If no outward change has taken place, it’s probably because no inward change has taken place.

Conclusion: The most basic element of Bible Bootcamp is salvation. Have you seen your need as a sinful person, turned from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus Christ? Those who have become disciples of Christ give evidence of that fact by a changed lifestyle.


  1. What was God’s original purpose in salvation? that mankind should honor and serve Him. God desires to enter into a relationship of loving rule over mankind.

  2. What is the correct response to the gospel? Repentance and faith

  3. Define repentance. Repentance is best described as a turning away from sin and toward God. It’s a total about-face. It’s an inner response of the whole person away from sin and toward God.

  4. Define saving faith. Saving faith is the knowledge of, assent to, and unreserved trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is knowing the facts about Christ, acknowledging that those facts are true, and personally believing and trusting in Christ as your savior from sin.

  5. T F Salvation does not require any kind of commitment or loyalty to Christ.

  6. Why should there be a difference between an unsaved person and a saved one? Because there is a basic spiritual difference.

Bible Boot Camp: Basic Training in Biblical Principles

Bible Boot Camp: Basic Training in Biblical Principles

This introductory discipleship series will focus on the practical, basic elements of the Christian life. For those who have been Christians for some time, this material will be a review of lessons already learned and (hopefully) applied. For new believers, this material will serve as foundational truth on which to build a solid Christian life.

Note: This material is the teacher’s edition–the answers are filled in and comments (in italics) are included. To make a student copy, simply empty the blanks and remove the comments.


Lesson 1: Salvation

Lesson 2: Assurance of Salvation

Lesson 3: Church Membership

Lesson 4: Baptism

Lesson 5: The Bible

Lesson 6: Prayer

Lesson 7: Daily Devotions

Lesson 8: Separation

Lesson 9: What to Do About Sin

Lesson 10: The Lordship of Christ

Lesson 11: Proper Behavior

Lesson 12: Evangelism

Lesson 13: Stewardship

Lesson 14: Christian Growth

Lesson 15: How to Get the Most from a Sermon

© Brad Anderson 2006