Summary: Hpw does one really know if they are SAVED?
Going to church does not make you a Christian; nor does saying a prayer, going down an aisle, passing a catechism, telling yourself that you are, or trying to be a decent person. You can only be a Christian if Christ is in you, which can be tested and proven according to the scriptures. We are Christians because of what Jesus did on Calvary. NOT what we do on Sunday morning. Some denominations act like they cornered the market on salvation. I know some Christians that believe you must dress a certain way to be saved, or speak in tongues, or be baptized in the proper fashion. I love the way the Apostle Paul witnesses to the jailer in Acts chapter 16. The man asked Paul a simple question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer was equally simple, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.”
I accepted Jesus free gift of salvation when I was 14 years old in a Baptist church in Richmond, Va. in 1975. I remember walking down the isle and answering the Pastor’s inquiry as I stood before him. The Pastor asked me, “Do you want to be saved?” and my reply was “Yes sir”, He quoted the same thing Paul said in Acts 16, He said BELIEVE! I praise God I came up under sound teaching at an early age. When I joined the USAF at the age of 18, I became exposed to every kind of weird Pseudo-Christian doctrine one could be exposed to. I was hungry for the truth and I was also home-sick too. I visited Baptist churches, Methodist, Apostolic, Charismatic, and Pentecostal churches. One thing that disturbed me about most of them was the inconsistency concerning the doctrine of Salvation. (Soteriology) The most disturbing thing I experienced was at an Apostolic service a friend invited me to when I was stationed in Washington D.C... I was enjoying the praises and the preaching until the speaker said only people baptized in Jesus name were saved. He further went on to say that if you hadn’t spoke in tongues you probably weren’t saved either by the time this man was finished I questioned whether I was saved at all. Fortunately my knowledge of the doctrine of Salvation kicked in, the Holy Spirit took me to Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. The Eunuch asks Philip “What hinders me from being baptized?” Philip responded and asked, “Do YOU believe that Jesus is the Son of God?” This reinforced the fact that BELIEF always precedes any act or work of faith. I recall my pastor telling the baptismal candidates “You get baptized BECAUSE you are saved, you don’t get baptized to get saved.” Now don’t get me wrong I believe in the Gifts of The Spirit and I believe in praying in the Spirit, however they have NOTHING to do with SALVATION!
One of the tricks of the devil is to have you walk around doubting your security in Jesus Christ. When I was in high school I played baseball, I thought I was great. The truth be told I was average at best. I’ll never forget in a big game I came up to bat and hit a single and drove the runner on second to third. I was a fairly fast runner and I was praying the coach would give me the steal sign. Well he did and I took off running, but I made bad mistake! While I was running I was looking at the catcher instead of second base. I got thrown out like yesterdays newspaper! Why did this happen? I allowed fear of being thrown out keep my eyes off of the prize. I also didn’t trust the knowledge of the 2nd base coach. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior we have to trust the fact that we are KEPT by his might NOT our own. Legalism is when WE come up with our own rules and our own “righteousness” to satisfy our egos and not trust in the wisdom and grace of God to keep us. Salvation is a free gift from God; it cannot be earned or obtained by works no matter how noble they may be. Now because we ARE saved and the power of the Holy Spirit has made us Re-Born we are compelled to do good works; however the good works do not SAVE us, they validate us and PROVE we are saved.
2Cor 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
1Cor 11:28,31 (NAS) But a man must examine himself... If we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.