Part 4 of 22 –
Should A Believer Know He Is Saved?
Should a believer be assured that he is saved? The answer is yes! The believer’s answer should never be “Well, I hope so” or “I think I’m saved.”
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; THAT WE MIGHT KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW that YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
It’s the privilege of every redeemed soul to know that his sins are forgiven and he is saved from judgment, having eternal life as a spiritually rebirthed child of God, and to be assured of this. The knowledge and surety of the truths of the Pauline “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) yield an “expectation of salvation,” which is as the “helmet” of our salvation.
“putting on … for an helmet, the hope (Gk. elpis, expectation) of salvation.” (1 Thess 5:8 (KJV)
The written word of God, particularly the epistles of Paul, as applying to us in this day, under “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2), make up the core of the critical truths that Paul calls “the faith.” Knowledge of Pauline truth, held in faith, is the believer’s helmet knowledge of assurance. This helmet helps us to keep our head about us when the inevitable trials of the renewal of our soul become difficult.
Yet, “the word” of God is both the written “word” that we call the Bible, and also the “living spontaneous Word of God,” which is Jesus Christ Himself (“in the beginning was “the word… was God” John 1:1). Christ now is the indwelling “spirit of life” (2Cor 3:17) who abides within the human spirit of every true believer since the cross (Rom 8:9-10, 1Cor 6:17,
1:27). We, who are “of God, hear Him” (John 8:47). Col
Here John writes to the believing Diaspora, “the scattered of
” of the last days; saying you possess the Christ’s Spirit “abiding in you… teaching you” (v27 below), such that “you know all things” (v20 below). This truth belongs also to all grace believers today. Israel
1 John 2:20 But YE HAVE AN UNCTION (ANOINTING) FROM THE HOLY ONE (CHRIST), and ye know all things.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him (Christ) abideth IN YOU, and YE NEED NOT THAT ANY MAN TEACH YOU: but as THE SAME ANOINTING TEACHETH you of all things, and IS TRUTH, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
The awareness of our salvation and sonship comes to us through the witness of the indwelling “Spirit of Christ” speaking, teaching, and guiding all believers from within… that they are “the children of God.” Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD: This witness of the Spirit is a “sense” possessed within, which believers have as an inner speaking of the Lord Himself.
Our creator gave all men a mind with which to reason; “(God says) come now and let us reason together” (Isa 1:18). Reason includes thinking and questioning. No Christian should be expected to put his or her brain on the shelf when they enter the church meeting hall and then believe everything spoken by the pastors or teachers. Paul says believers should “judge” what is spoken (1Cor 14:29) in church meetings.
The “reason” of the unbeliever needs to become enlightened by “the Spirit of God”… to lead them to Christ. “No man can come to me (Jesus), except the Father which hath sent me draw (Gk., helkyo, drag) him…” (John 6:44)
Ultimately, a believer’s assurance of salvation must become “fixed” within. The inner assurance of one’s salvation does not become solid or “fixed” within them solely by reason, or solely by a sense that we might attribute to the indwelling Spirit. “Faith cometh by hearing the WORD (rhema, “utterance, as a living word”) of God” (Rom 10:17). The “word” here is the Greek “rhema,” meaning the “uttered or spontaneous living word,” the Spirit anointed truth of the spoken word (preached, taught or shared), or written word. Most effectively, it is reason plus the witness of the “rhema,” the “Spirit anointed word,” that leads us to a fixed faith, a faith that can stand in the midst of trials.
Then also what I call “saving faith,” or “exercised faith,” occurs when a new convert actualizes their heretofore unspoken faith through an outward expression of their faith. Paul says we need to profess our salvation faith audibly or in some outward fashion – then we become better assured of our salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 That IF THOU SHALT CONFESS (Gk. homologeo, assent, PROFESS) WITH THY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION (Gk., homologeo, PROFESSION) IS MADE UNTO SALVATION.
Personally, my outward expression of faith occurred spontaneously but not in words. It was demonstrated one day when I simply but seriously raised my hand at the invitation to receive Christ as my savior at a Sunday service at a
Hydewood Park Baptist Church, , in November 1968. It was only the second Sunday that I had ever heard the truth of the gospel of Christ by the witness of the Spirit in my heart. “Reason” was not so much the issue for me; I still had never seen a Bible. Yet, through God’s working, at age 23, I had come to know that I needed a new life. By raising my hand I was responding to the offer of a “new life” to be found in Christ. 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. The Spirit anointed those words to my heart as they were read from the pulpit that day. The “rhema word” of God had touched my heart. North Plainfield, New Jersey
In any case or manner, by that moment of an outward expression we then have a moment to look back upon where we can declare “That was it, that day when I said yes; I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior.” It is always good for a new believer to profess their decision for Christ to another person; to profess it is like etching it in stone, or setting a marker. God hears our heart immediately, but we ourselves may need that measure of reassurance from time to time.
Many think we must repent and confess all of our sins in order to be saved. But under “the dispensation of the grace of God” this is not so. Understand please that repentance is not the common idea of sorrow for sins. Actually, genuine “repentance” means to be turned around in living; and this not possible until we are saved and receive Christ’s “Spirit of life.” We cannot come to genuine “repentance” (meaning “to be turned around, change direction”) except we have first seen our helpless needy state and come to a saving faith in the truth of God’s provision of Christ as our way of salvation. Today, under Paul’s pure grace gospel for the Gentiles, all that is required for salvation is to “believe in,” that is to “trust in” Christ alone. Acts 16:31 (Paul and Barnabas) said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…
Formerly, under the “gospel of the kingdom” to “the circumcision (
),” the people to whom Jesus and The Twelve targeted their preaching (Matt 10:5-6), repentance was a requirement. Israel Israelneeded to repent because it was only that had received and then rejected God’s covenants, and as Peter said, “killed the prince of life.” Israel
The gentiles had never known relationship with God. Now, under Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” for the Gentile “body of Christ,” repentance is not the issue – “believing” is the key. “Faith in Christ” is the singular requirement for salvation. “For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
THE WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, REASON, and FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE, most effectively yields an assurance of salvation to the believer. All three points are needed, and each needs the others to avoid distortion.
The Holy Spirit of God today is “the Spirit of life in Christ” present and active within the believer’s life (Col 1:27b). To say the Holy Spirit gives believers the assurance of salvation is to say that Christ himself gives us this assurance (Rom 8:9-10).
Some might ask; How do we know when it is the Spirit speaking within us? It’s important to remember that the Holy Spirit is the living Christ who is the “Spirit of truth,” “the light of life” and He Himself “is our peace.” We must bring all our feelings and impulses under “the light” of His indwelling Spirit. It was in dealing with this matter or one closely related to it that Paul wrote, 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. When we are abiding in His light we are at peace – we enjoy His peace within our soul.
The term “reason” is perhaps a surprising one to use in reference to our assurance of salvation. Yet, we cannot reason ourselves into a genuine conviction that God has forgiven our sins unless we are “rationalizing” our behavior. Ultimately we do not walk by reason alone, we are to “walk in (under the influence of) the Spirit” (Gal 5:16, 18, 25). Yet in reference to Christian experience as a whole, reason often has a large part to play in a powerfully assured salvation experience. After all, in deciding what we ought to do in the many daily decisions that make up life, we must always reason, think ahead, look at the situation as clearly and wisely as possible, and take the decisive step. We ultimately must take the step in faith, for we can never wholly read the future. But to take it by faith without using our heads can lead to a weak assurance of salvation.
Consider what happens when people rush into marriage without using reason. Just as surely as there is need to think as clearly as possible concerning this crucial step, so the matter of becoming a Christian is not to be entered into without serious consideration. Marriages based wholly on reason, and not on faith and love, are far from ideal. Unless reason leads the persons involved on to faith, love and trust, a marriages is doomed. To carry the analogy into Christian experience, Spirit-enlightened reason may be as a schoolmaster leading us to faith in Christ. The Christian experience is firmly grounded by faith in Christ through a proper knowledge of God.
The “inner sense” I mentioned earlier is somewhat a feeling. These are somewhat matters of feeling and faith rather than a reasoned demonstration. They come to a focus in our loyalty to Christ as we desire to live in union with Him, and in loyalty as a commitment of our renewed will. Our most powerful commitment is based on deep sense of love and thankfulness toward the Lord, and a hope built upon reasoned, spirit-anointed, truth.This then leads us to examine the proper place of the inward sense, or feelings, in the Christian’s life experience, which we will discuss further in the next installment.