Summary: If you died this very moment do you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you are saved? In this sermon I am going to review a questionaire that can help one determine your salvation status.
How can I know that I am Saved?
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
How can one truly know if one is saved or not? While many are quick to publicly say YES, I am saved, their young age of conversion, their failing to forgive others, their continuation to sin, their general lack of faith and fruits of the Spirit; has left many to question their salvation. If those who prophesy, drive out demons and perform miracles in the name of Jesus are in danger of hearing the words “I never knew you, away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:21-23) then why shouldn’t the “lukewarm carnal” Christians of today’s society fear they won’t make it to heaven either? Since salvation is not based on something tangible like good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9) but on hope and assurance of what is unseen (Hebrews 11:1), what evidence exists that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that one is truly saved? And even if one was saved at one point in time, would not a lack of faith in Jesus in the present mean salvation lost? In today’s sermon we are going to examine how one can confirm one’s salvation and in doing so put aside any fear of not spending an eternity with Jesus.
The Command to Seek Assurance
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11, NIV
In the above verses Peter commands the believer to pursue proof that their calling and election are sure. Eternal security is initiated by God the Father (Ephesians 1:4), accomplished through the Son (Ephesians 1:7) and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). Assurance is confidence that a believer is eternally secured and will one day go and be with God in heaven. Peter tells the elect to pursue this assurance by doing the following:
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV
This does not mean that Peter is teaching salvation is obtained by works but merely that works are proof of one’s salvation. Obtaining assurance of one’s salvation is important for the believer to obtain because it gives one comfort so that one might work out one’s salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) as one encounters the various trial and tribulations of life (James 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:12). Since obtaining the glorious inheritance of salvation (Ephesians 1:15-23) is of infinite value, should not everyone want a guaranteed they are going to spend an eternity with God in heaven? While this might seem impossible, Peter would not have given the command to seek assurance unless it could be obtained!
A False Sense of Security
While assurance is obtainable there are many “professed Christians” who believe they are saved when they are not! After Jesus told the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount that the gate to eternal life was narrow (Matthew 7:13), He later said the following:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:21-23, NIV
Just because a person calls Jesus “Lord, Lord” which in Hebrew is a grammatical structure that indicates a personal relationship with Him, does not mean that one has obtained salvation. Is it possible then that those who are immersed in the daily life and ministry of the church are not saved? Let’s look at the Parable of the Sower. Are there not many who hear the word, receive immediate joy and yet fall away when persecuted (Matthew 13:20-21)? Do not some of the “spur of the moment” conversions fall into this category? And what about those who hear the word and the worries of this life and deceitfulness of wealth choke it out (13:22)? Members of both groups at one time thought they were saved and yet they were not! This leaves us with an uneasy question: what if I am wrong about God, either His requirements or my response to Him? After all, wo can understand the heart that can be deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9)? While assurance is imperative, how can one be certain of one’s eternal destiny?