[This article is part of the Can I Call Myself A Christian? series]
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
– John 3:36
The finished work of Christ at the cross (John 19:30) and the witness of the Holy Spirit (John 15:26), as written in the living, certain and unalterable word of God (Matthew 24:35), assures every believer of his salvation. Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ as affirmed in Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Imagine a man who just paid all his credit card debts. If you ask him, “How do you know for sure that your bills have been paid and that you have no remaining debts anymore?” He won’t respond to you with a “Because I feel so.” or “Because I think so.” Instead, he will take out the receipt and show it to you saying, “Here is the proof.”
The payment made, as stated in the official receipt, assures the man that his bills and debts have been paid.
1 John 5:12 says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Either you have Jesus or you do not have Jesus. No in-betweens or what ifs (Matthew 5:37, Revelations 3:16). Either you have life or you do not have life.
Then verse 13 even continues with, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” God, through the writer, is speaking to those who have come to Jesus as a sinner and received Him by faith as a Savior. He tells them, “so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
It does not say, “…you could have eternal life” or “…you may have eternal life”; it says, “…you have eternal life.”
Who says so? It is God who says so and settles it once and for all.
If you truly believe in Jesus and then you were asked, “How do you know for sure that your sins have been paid and that you have eternal life?”, will you respond with a “Because I feel so.” or “Because I think so.”? Of course not. Instead, you will tell/show them the word of God saying, “Here is the proof.”
The redemption through Jesus, as stated in God’s word, assures a true Christian that his sins and its consequences have been paid.
But why do some professing Christians remain uncertain/in doubt of their salvation even with God’s assurance written tons of times in the Bible? It could be because they hinge on feelings and works, and not on facts by faith.
They do not embrace what God had said and is saying. Instead, they embrace what they feel or what they are going through. If they feel happy or if things are going the way they want it to be, they conclude that they must be saved. But if they feel unhappy or if things are going out of hand, they begin to doubt their salvation. Therefore, such Christian has a fluctuating experience — no full assurance that if he were to die tonight, he would rise to meet Christ at His return and live eternally in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus says in John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Jesus did not say anything about anyone’s feelings or circumstances in this verse. What Jesus did say is that anyone who hears His word and believes in God is already assured of eternal life, not coming into the judgment, and has crossed over from death (in trespasses and sins) to eternal life.
Then there are those who contend that nobody can ever be assured of his salvation. Yet again, they are throwing 1 John 5:13 out of the window. They also do not embrace what God had said and is saying. Instead, they embrace what they think or what the world thinks.
It is never about our ability to hold onto Him because eternal life is a gift from God. He did not sell it or offer a trade. There was no auction or quid pro quo. Eternal life is a gift. We cannot earn it or even warrant it. It has always been about God’s ability to have a secure hold on us because salvation is only found in Christ.
Are you a professing Christian who is still uncertain/in doubt of your salvation? Do you desire to embrace God’s word, assurance and promises of eternal life to those who believe and receive Jesus? Are you uncertain if your thought life reflects Who you have believed and received? Do you desire to turn away from your doubts against God and turn to God instead?
If you have answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, I would like to encourage you with this: Just as salvation comes from believing in Christ alone, so does assurance.
As we put our faith in Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins, the assurance of eternal life overflows from our hearts. No matter how great your sin is, God’s grace is still greater.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)