Assurance of Salvation

salvation_inside“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24).

It would be a terrible thing for children (or adults!) to wonder how they fit in their families. While that is terrible in an earthly family, it is even more unsettling in the spiritual family. Many Christians live with the thought that they are just not sure how God sees them. Is He in a good mood or a judgmental mood? Are they in the family or has their Father decided He has had enough?

What a horrible way to live! How incredibly sad for children of the King to live as beggars! I am surely not being critical. I find it heartbreaking for people whose sin debt has been paid in full to squirm under the uncertainty of whether they belong in the family of God. Let’s look at some basic reasons why people tend to doubt their salvation:

The first reason is because of sin in their lives. Sin brings a feeling of estrangement from God, a feeling of isolation. John warns Christians to take a close inventory of their salvation if they continue to sin and do so merrily, often, and long: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). If sin is the constant bent of our lives, we should worry about our salvation. The non-Christian can sin all day long and not sense any isolation from God; only His children experience a lack of harmony with their Father.

The second reason people doubt their salvation is because of false teaching. This false teaching is primarily in two camps. The first camp includes liberal pastors who do not hold to the view that the entire Bible is the Word of God. They discount certain parts, verses, and authors. False teaching that deletes portions of the Bible certainly leads to doubts of salvation. The other camp includes teachers who strongly believe the Word of God from cover to cover, but overemphasize human performance.

The third reason people doubt their salvation is because of an overemphasis on emotions. There are those who place a lot of importance on “feel good” religion. Now, I am all for joy in the Christian life, but when the entire Christian life is based on emotions rather than doctrine, assurance of salvation is rare. Heartaches will come. Financial setbacks come. Sorrows come. Disappointments come. This is the reality of living in a fallen world. We can’t live on feelings. The Christian life is not always going to feel euphoric.

The fourth reason people doubt their salvation is because of failure to take God at His Word. Sometimes, I meet people and they say, “Well, I used to be saved.” I ask, “How did you get lost?” They name something they’ve done or thought. Then, I remind them what John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we take God at His Word – and He is indeed trustworthy – we will not wonder if we were bad enough to lose our salvation (or good enough to keep it, for that matter!). Let me put it another way: if I came up to you and said, “I am very happy you’re reading my book,” and you responded, “Oh, I don’t really believe you mean that!” you would be doubting my sincerity. That is exactly what we do when we doubt what God has promised about our salvation in His Word. We doubt His trustworthiness.

The fifth reason people doubt their salvation is because of satanic attacks. Satan will be happy to whisper, “Look at you. Look how you’re acting. A Christian doesn’t act like that.” Not only will Satan whisper that, but he often uses others as his unsuspecting agents. A mother scolds her child, “A Christian girl wouldn’t behave like that!” What conclusion is the little girl supposed to reach? And the mother can’t understand why her daughter doesn’t have assurance of her salvation.

Satan is the accuser of the brethren. We need the Word of God to answer Him. There are two truths God wants us to understand to counter the enemies of assurance.

The first truth God wants us to understand is His will for our salvation. “He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God’s desire is for us to be saved, not for us to be condemned. Peter tell us He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God is standing with open arms, just like the father of the prodigal son, to welcome us into His family.

The second truth God wants us to understand is the provision He has made for our salvation. He gave “His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). “He Himself bore our sins on His own body” (1 Peter 2:24). He paid the price for our salvation. Jesus died in our place, so we could belong to God.

What earthly father would provide everything his child needs, only for the child to wonder, “Are you sure you want me to have it, Daddy?” Of course, that is what he wants. He is grieved his child is so insecure of his love. Your heavenly Father is the same way. He has provided everything you need for salvation and is grieved when you think otherwise.

We still have a responsibility, though. Jesus did not die, rise again, and ascend into heaven to automatically save us. The Bible does not teach universal salvation (that is, all people by virtue of the fact they’re created are Christians). We need to believe in Christ and receive Him as our very own. There must be a personal and definite decision. Jesus said, “Whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life” (John 5:24).

Those who were saved very young often need to reaffirm or make sure of their salvation later in life. This does not insult God. Teens, especially, go through a long process of making sure they are making their own choices and not resting on their parents’ decisions for them. They may need to resettle the issue. Don’t be alarmed. People are different and God deals with us where we are.

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “How can I know I’m saved?” That is the dilemma of many people. Maybe you are wondering about your salvation. You have prayed, you have read the Scripture, you have done everything you know to do, but you still don’t have any assurance of your salvation. John wrote his epistle so his audience could know without a doubt they were part of God’s family. You can know as well. Tell God you are ready to settle this issue once and for all. Tell Him you are taking Him at His Word. Salvation is not a feeling; it is a fact based on the finished work of Christ at Calvary.

Read more here: Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living.


  1. Excellent post. I always have such compassion for people who have been walking around believing they have lost what was most precious and can’t do anything about it. God made the solution so simple but people make is so complicated! Thanks for this.

      1. Thank you for writing it! When it comes to salvation, I find myself having a difficult time expressing truth with clarity. I appreciated your blog because it was so easy to understand and well written. Again, thank YOU.

  2. Great post Joe. It is the assurance of our salvation and confidence of our position that gives us the “power” to live the Christian life. “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” Heb 4:16 (HCSB)

    I am reminded of the famous picture of JFK sitting at his desk in the Oval Office, with little John, John, playing with his toys under the desk. We are like that liitle boy who has the right to play with our toys in our Dad’s kingdom.

    1. Thanks! When I write (or speak), it is my hope that everyone will relate to the message in some way. Glad to know this article is relatable!

  3. Joe, thanks for stopping by St. Frideswide’s Oratory today for Rogation Sunday. Do come again, and I wish you well in your search for a full time pastorate.

  4. Good stuff Joe! Good luck with your pastorate too. It’s funny, my route to Christianity had some really odd looking twists and turns. One of the things that was missed when I came to Christ was what happens next? What is a Christian to do with their salvation? I can see, as was my case, that unless there is someone there to help guide you along the way, a new Christian could feel lost (literally or figuratively). It wasn’t until I stopped moving around the country for work that I settled into a good Christian groove. Christianity isn’t just the destination, but the journey getting there. Thanks again, and great post!

    1. “Unless there is someone there to help guide you along the way, a new Christian could feel lost.” That’s a keen insight, Kurt! I’m glad you were able to settle down and find some good Christian fellowship. Stay in touch, my brother!

      1. Absolutley! One of the reasons I started blogging was to run head-long into some great fellowship online. Have a good evening, and keep it up!

  5. This was a very thorough post. I appreciate the points you covered especially your point about accepting the Word of God as truth. We can stand on it and live by it, how different so many lives would be if more people would simply take God at His Word. Thanks for writing this!

  6. I enjoyed this post, Joe. 🙂 … Over the last few years, I have found that some don’t understand or know about the grace of God. As a result, the lack of understanding and not knowing has caused confusion in quite a number of christians I have met. Those same christians keep getting “re-saved” just in case… and for the reasons you’ve mentioned. Amongst the children of God, there must be a lot of dusty bibles. It’s time for the bibles to be dusted off so those bibles can be read and studied.

    1. Sorry it took me this long to respond, Linda! Like you, I have interacted with many Christians who doubt their salvation. It’s sad, isn’t it? I cannot imagine how worried and anxious I would feel if I doubted my salvation. I think you will enjoy the article I just posted this morning on God’s grace –

      1. HEY JOE,….WHAT WAS IT THAT I WAS SAYING ABOUT SOMEBODY “MAY” ALREADY HAVE THEIR CHURCH??????????????????? man!!!!! it totally is slippin my mind!!!!!!! man iu hate it when that happens!!!!!!!!!! who was i talkin to????????????????? any idea joe???????? lol

        yes joe,……i am funny!!!!!! don’t be denying it at all,…………..ever!!!!!

  7. Thanks for the great article. Assurance of Salvation is basic to victorious Christian living. It reminds us of GRACE vs. law. Hebrews 8, 9 and 10 are great passages to explore and exposit concerning this great doctrine. I have also found that many confuse the “gift” and the “prize” when reading the Scriptures. The Gift (eternal life) is free by faith alone. The Prize (rewards) is earned by persevering faith.

    1. Good distinction! Sorry it took me so long to respond. For some reason, your comment went to my spam folder and I just noticed it.

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your “like.” I really like your writing here and your clear explanation of the gospel. Keep proclaiming the message loudly and clearly!

    Grace and peace to you,

  9. I think you’ve well covered the reasons most people fear they aren’t saved. One day when I was in such a stew I Corinthians 1:30 came to me; here we’re told that Jesus “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I realized that if I don’t accept this as written, If I don’t believe He really IS all this for ME, I’m actually dishonoring the Person of Christ.

    Of course one last reason is that perhaps they aren’t born again. I “got saved” when I was eight, not because I felt lost but because it seemed like the thing to do and I knew it would make my camp counselor happy. When I was 21 God finally got through to me and I KNEW I was lost. Then I made that complete surrender He asked of me. (We need to beware of assuring someone that they are saved when they aren’t. It takes Divine wisdom to prove that one!)

    Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love, but I do believe willful sin can separate any soul from God. Then it takes a thorough repentance and forsaking of sin to bring restoration. (Heb 10:25)

  10. Very true indeed! “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Prov. 28:13). David experienced forgiveness when he acknowledged his sin. But when he was silent and did not confess his sin, he was weakened physically and grieved inwardly. The power of the Lord was heavy on him and God dealt severely with him. But then he confessed his sin and was forgiven! David learned it is far better to deal with sin by confessing and renouncing it than by trying to hide it. Confession will always result in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

  11. Nice, well thought out post. I’ll be honest – I have questioned this in the past. In earthly relationships, we get instant feedback when we mess up. With God, that doesn’t happen. Sure, if we investigate that dark feeling inside, we realize there is sin, and once we acknowledge it, we can ask God’s forgiveness. Then we have to trust we’ve expressed sufficient remorse and God has indeed forgiven us. But then, down the road, we sin again (it’s inevitable) – maybe a new sin…the process starts again.

    It’s hard to wrap my mind around the God’s grace because there’s not an abundance of it in many earthly relationships. I’m getting better about trusting that it’s real and it’s mine because I’m a believer.

    1. God’s grace is a tough concept to wrap our minds around. You are right, grace is so contrary to what we experience most of the time with other people.

      The most frequent objections I hear to the doctrine of eternal security are (1) What about those who are Christians and continually live an immoral lifestyle? (2) What about those who are Christians, but later reject the faith and deny Christ? A better question might be, “Were those people ever saved to beging with?”

      1. I’m sure we all can give anecdotal examples of those who claimed to be believers, attended church, and maybe even taught bible studies, and then seem to fall away and may even claim to reject their “former” faith. I believe it is impossible for a believer to lose their salvation based on action or inaction. That would be a salvation based on works, which is totally rejected by Paul and was the purpose for him writing the book of Galatians. Many times people get intellectual and emotional belief confused with the belief that saves. At the point of salvation the Holy spirit comes to reside within the believer. This is a permanent situation and the Holy Spirit cannot leave. Paul points this out when he warns against defiling the Temple of the Holy Spirit (the believers body) by having sex with a prostitute.

        “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Cor 6:15-18 (ESV)”

        In effect that would force the Holy Spirit, who cannot and will not leave, into being a participant of this unholy act. In the OT the Spirit was removed from King Saul and placed upon David. The New Covenant is a totally different paradigm with respect to the Holy Spirit residing with the beleiver instead of anointing certain believers for specific ministies.

        There are a multitude of scriptures speaking to the assurance of the believer and only two or three which have been used out of context to support the opposite view.

        As one who leans heavily toward a “reformed” theology, the idea of chosen believers becoming unchosen is ridiculous. : )

        1. Very true indeed! I just love your comment! As far as I’m concerned, you hit the nail on the head perfectly. You express it all so very clearly and concisely too. You have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, my friend!

          I have been criticized for emphasizing grace too strongly. But salvation cannot be reversed. Redemption cannot be undone. Eternal life cannot be lost and still be considered eternal. If a Christian can lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and change His mind—two things that Scripture tells us God never does.

          1. Joe I don’t think it is possible to over emphasize grace. This is such a confusing issue within the church as a whole and within biblically based evangelical circles. I have had people in my classes who after 20 years as Christians still look at the gospel as, grace plus being good. I spend so much of my time just trying to get the concepts of justification and sanctification defined properly and preventing folks from letting one bleed over into the other. As I recently explained to a homosexual who was questioning whether a homosexual could even be a Christian. Before the homosexual comes to Christ, his identity is that of a homosexual. After coming to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into him and gives him a new identity. No longer is he a homosexual, now he is a child of the Living God who has a problem with homosexuality. At that point the Spirit begins to work on the former homosexual toward conforming him to the image of Christ. I’ve dealt with murderers, drug addicts, alcoholics and every other form of sinner who Jesus accepted “just as they are” and who God changed their live from the inside out. I get excited just thinking about seeing the power of God transform the worst men into servants of the Most High. Years ago I had a man who came to work for me after serving 28 years in San Quinten prison for murder. He had been a violent animal who murdered and was sent to prison and murdered while in prison. Near the end of his sentence He received Christ and was totally transformed into the most gentle man you could ever imagine. He would tell me about Christ and big tears would roll down his face. He had understood grace because he was so aware what a gift he had been given and that knowledge resulted in a humble spirit.

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
            Eph 2:1-5 (ESV)

            Such was I.

      2. what a cool day this is, huh joe??? i gotta say this to augustine hippo (cool name btw!) i so wish that i could write like you!!!!!!! maybe one day???? but then again,…maybe not???? it’s so funny how we all speak with differing accents, mannerisms, inflections, (or whatever those are called?) etc,etc,….when i compliment “someone/anyone” on the way that they write, and/or, what they are saying,…it is in “no way” said to be flattering! ever!!! i have seen so many,…to many “preachers/teachers” come crashing down to a horrific crushing!!!

        but there is a fluid motion to your structure which is so easy to groove with!!!! mine on the other hand?????? well,……not quite the same!!! lol

        the comments here today have been so full of encouragement (love),…and that is is powerful,…and in a big way!!!!! a very Godly way!!!!! and it is very much EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TODAY AS WELL! i am in no way joking about this!!!! if you only knew!!! there have been times in my life when i just felt totally lost and actually hopeless. these times can sometimes be, only “a day after” being charged up and full of faith (optimism!?) and focus. we all get hit from time to time. i am who i am,…and my past is my past,…and my childhood tragedies and traumas are exactly what they are, and were, as well.

        we all get hit in different ways,…yet still,….somewhat the same. by design,…the way that we get hit is to pull our “attention” and our “focus” away from God,…..and, for as long as possible! satan knows that if he can trick us to lose focus,…or turn, away, from where we need to be “looking”,…then, satan can knock us flat. satan has many tricks. many deceits. and,…ultimately,…he has the best tool right in us,….our flesh. our good old “self.”

        along with my desire to grow in my faith,…i constantly battle with the memories of my past,…..especially my early childhood. even though i know that if i don’t battle,…i will be sucked backed in to the wounding from my childhood,….sometimes,…i find myself “back there” so quickly, it seems???????

        but today,….because of all here, on joe’s page, as well as other’s pages,….i was able to fellowship!!!! i was able to be an active and involved part of the body. in whatever way? at this moment (for many reasons) these blog pages,…the words here,….and more importantly,….ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE SHARING!!!!! ARE,….MY CHURCH HOME!!!!!!! i say this simply. i AM VERY AWARE OF HOW MUCH I NEED WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE SHARING! HOWEVER, IT IS,…”SO MUCH MORE”,…THAN “WHAT”,…YOU ARE “SHARING”,……IT IS “HOW” (with what spirit) YOU ARE DOING THE SHARING!!!

        i find myself not wanting to stop writing a this moment,..but,…instead,….i am going to,…for the moment,……i hope that you all think about (the ones who happen to even read my words, that is) what i just said,… a good way.

        i am very thankful today. very thankful. not for “imagined” blessings…..but instead,…for very real, and very real blessings! imperfect humans, sharing the word (breaking bread, the true communion) in a loving and Godly spirit…………as we write,…we,….many times without consciously knowing it,…are going from, “HOUSE TO HOUSE” (one another),…AND WE, IN LOVE, ARE BREAKING AND SHARING THE “TRUE BREAD”,…(which came, and comes from heaven)…WITH ONE ANOTHER,…………

        no matter how much we give,…when we give, in this manner,….we end up with MORE THAN WHEN WE STARTED! funny how that works, isn’t it????????

        back later………thanks you guys and girls,………as i said,… have “no idea” how badly that i “was” hurting………..was,…….past “tense”,……or, is it,….past “relaxed?”

    1. Thank you, Cindy! I have been nominated for this award once before, but I’m not sure what it is or if I need to do anything. Let me know, okay?

      1. You are quite welcome, Joe! The Versatile Blogger Award, like other awards on WordPress, is something that one blogger nominates another for because he/she finds value in that person’s blog and wants to recognize them in the blogging community for it. Finding good blogs in a large blogging community like WordPress can be somewhat like finding a needle in a haystack, so the awards give us a great way to say to people who view our posts, “Hey, here’s something I think everyone should check out.” You can find the “rules” for what you’re supposed to do when nominated at the link I’ve provided below, but basically it’s thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog, state 7 facts about yourself of your choosing, nominate 15 blogs yourself for the award (or as many as you care to – it doesn’t have to be 15 if maybe you don’t follow that many), and post the award icon on your site. I think it’s a great idea and as people I’ve nominated are posting their nominations for the award, it already has led me to find several other great blogs that I might have never stumbled upon otherwise. Again, thank you for your tremendously insightful and easy-to-understand posts. They speak right to the heart of the Christian life and our relationship with God.


    1. Yes, I do. As the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. I am curious to know what your reaction is to my post and comments on “What Happens When I Die?” -

  13. hi joe, i agree i have to say i have search the scriptures for almost 30 years i have to agree, for some time i was taught when we die we go straight to the judgement seat of CHRIST, but i thought i dont really think so, what i learned was we go to heaven, soon enough we receive our new bodies, also Joe the people who think well by faith im saved ok i can do what i want ur right, i have kind of researched and people can disagree with me ,but we r to live like CHRIST lived in all his examples, i mean i stopped going to clubs, smoking, lookin for woman, even tho the other day i met one but i had to run, JOE I wanted her so bad but i just couldnt, i dont believe shes saved but all i will do is pray for her and finally he does change you, little by little i stopped like getting involved in the world and now i read the word in the morn late aft and at nite/its a great experience, i like the things u teach, JOE UR A GOOD MAN AND MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU, see ya soon

  14. The theological foundation of “once saved, always saved” is predestination, whether single or double. To the extent that free will (per Semi-Pelagianism or its Saimese twin, Arminianism) plays a part, the possibility of falling from grace exists. I grew up United Methodist, and therefore Arminian. Then I became an Episcopalian, a member of a tradition with Lutheran influences. (Archbishop Cranmer, author of the first Prayer Book, cribbed heavily from Lutheran liturgies.) And, a few years ago, I began to pay very close attention to Pauline passages about those predestined by God. Now I am a Single Predestinarian.

    1. Salvation is an act of God. We are saved by His grace thru faith which He gives us to enable us to believe. Since we did not save ourselves how can we “unsave” .or undo what is wholly an act of God

      1. It is really a question of one’s positive response to God and how much a role that plays in salvation. As I heard an Episcopal bishop (and a friend and a former Rector of mine) say, “Baptism is not fire insurance.” He meant that baptism is about what God does, not what we do. I get that. But I am sufficiently close to Roman Catholic theology on this point (I have studied the germane parts of The Catechism of the Catholic Church closely) to think that there is a role for human agency. I agree that this agency exists by grace, so everything goes back to grace. There is, however, the matter of apostasy in Hebrews (openly) and in Revelation (in the background).

  15. POSITIVE RESPONSE,…NEGATIVE RESPONSE,…….hhhhmmmmmm,… for thought,……who who is forgiven much, loves much,….he who is guilty of much, owes much,……..i dig it,……….

  16. very good read…..seems to me that we cannot lose our salvation, but we can lose our faith in that we are saved. Seems satan is hard at work to convince us that we do not have salvation.

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