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.

Discussion:

  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.

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