Can We Be Sure of Our Salvation?
Sometimes we may doubt whether or not we are truly saved. We feel that we aren’t good enough, that we don’t do enough, or that somehow we just cannot make it because we are so unworthy of it. Some question whether or not we can have confidence in salvation at all. Hope becomes wishful thinking. Maybe if we are lucky, we’ll squeeze through the door just in time and barely make it.
This is not the way God wants us to think of salvation and grace. How assured can we be about salvation? Are we doomed to thinking that we may only barely make it if we are lucky?
Let’s ask another question: How assured can we be of God’s promises?
Once we know the answer to the second question, we have our answer to the first question. Why? Because salvation is a matter of God’s promise.
Let’s get some perspective on this. In Romans 4, Paul brings in Abraham to demonstrate that the promise of God for righteousness is not based on the Law since Abraham came before the Law. Accordingly, Abraham could be the “father of us all,” both Jew and Gentile, who accept the promise by faith (vv. 16-17). Because of Abraham’s faith, he was called the “friend of God.” Through faith rather than the works of the Law, he was credited with righteousness by God. God’s wisdom in Abraham shows that the blessings of salvation can come upon all who share in the same faith of Abraham.
Notice the nature of Abraham’s faith. In hope he believed against hope (v. 18) because he had been told that he would have offspring, though it seemed impossible. “He did not weaken in faith” when considering his condition and Sarah’s barrenness. Here, then, is why faith was counted as righteousness for Abraham:
“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (vv. 20-21).
Abraham fully trusted what God promised, even though that outcome seemed against all odds. Notice what Paul writes next: “But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (vv. 23-25).
Can we fully trust what God says? Can we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and is Lord? That He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification? Will we weaken in faith? Can it be said of us, “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God…?” Are we fully convinced that God is able to do what He promises? If we share in Abraham’s faith, then we will be assured of God’s promises, and if we are assured of these promises, then we are assured of our salvation.
The writer of Hebrews also speaks of the certainty of the promises of God (6:13-20). God swore with an oath and showed the “unchangeable character of his purpose.” As it is impossible for God to lie, we also then have “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (v. 18). This hope serves as a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” When God makes a promise, we can trust it. Do we doubt God’s promise which rests on grace (Rom 4:16)?
Now what has God promised? “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25). Are we convinced of this? If so, we have His assurance, His promise, His oath. Will we waver in unbelief or stay fully convinced of this? That makes all the difference.
John also writes, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
This knowledge and assurance of salvation is not based upon how great we are. Our assurance is based upon the promise of God, and our purpose is to demonstrate the same type of faith as Abraham. As the Hebrews writer again says, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (10:36). And, “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (10:39).
May God help us in our faith so that we will walk in the steps of Abraham (Rom 4:12). When we do, we know the answer to the question. Can we be sure of our salvation? If we can be sure of God’s promises, we have our answer. And let no one doubt that we can be sure of God’s promises! It’s not luck; it’s grace, and we have God’s promise on it.