The Assurance of Your Salvation

The Assurance of Your Salvation

(The “Tests” of 1 John)

The security of our salvation is objectively rooted in God, in Christ Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. This is why all of our trust must be directed toward God through Christ Jesus, for “there is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12; cf. John 14:6). Yet our security also depends upon our subjective response of faith, love and obedience toward God in Christ Jesus.

We have the human need and spiritual longing for a sense of security–an assurance of our present salvation and a firm hope of final salvation at death or the Lord’s return. We need this confidence in order to face life today and the unknown eventualities of the future. Our God realizes this need and has supplied all that we could want in helping us to feel saved as well as secure in this salvation.

No other epistle is as clear as 1 John in discussing various evidences that a person is saved and rightly related to God. Let us examine some of these evidences of present salvation in the list below. They can serve as “tests” for you in determining your spiritual relationship with God. Pay special attention to the “knowledge” (“we know”) and assurance that can attend the pathway of the saints. If you have been saved in the past and are presently saved, the following factors will be true of you.

(1). I walk in the “light” of love, holiness, and truth rather than the “darkness” of hatred, sin, and error.

“If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1:7; cf. vv. 5-6; 2:8-11).

(2) I keep the commandments of God and obey His Word.

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. . . . The one who does the will of God abides forever. . . . The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him” (2:3,17b; 3:24a; cf. 2:4-5; 3:22-23; 5:2-3).

(3) I live as Jesus lived.

“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as he walked” (2:5b-6; cf. 4:17).

(4) I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. . . . Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. . . . The one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (3:14; 4:7b-8,12b,16b; cf. 2:9-10; 3:10,15-19; 4:11-12,16-21; 5:1-2).

(5) I confess my sins to God.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:9; cf. vv. 8-10; 2:1-2).

(6) I do not love the world, but overcome it.

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. . . . Whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (2:15; 5:4a; cf. 2:16-17; 5:5, 19).

(7) I seek to please God.

“Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (3:22).

(8) I truly believe in Jesus as the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, who came in the flesh, and I confess these truths.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. . . . Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (4:15; 5:1a; cf. 2:22-24; 4:1-3, 14; 5:4-5, 9-13).

(9) I abide or continue in Christ Jesus.

“Abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (2:28; cf. v. 27).

(10) I practice righteousness (do the right) and live a pure life.

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. . . . Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. . . . Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God” (2:29; 3:3, 10b; cf. 3:7).

(11) I do not practice or live in deliberate, continual, habitual sin.

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. . . . the one who practices sin is of the devil. . . . No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. . . . We know that no one who is born of God sins” (3:6, 8a, 9; 5:18a; cf. 2:1-3; 3:4, 8-10; 5:18-19).

(12) I have been given the Holy Spirit.

“We know by this that He [God] abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. . . . By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (3:24b; 4:13).

(13) I accept and abide in the words of John and the apostles.

“We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us” (4:6a; cf. 1:3-4).

(14) I love God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (4:16; cf. vv. 17-21; 5:1-2).

(15) I have the Son of God in my life through faith.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (5:11b-12; cf. vv. 11-13, 20).

In the foregoing list of fifteen evidences of one’s present living relationship with God, this saved status is described in various ways. For example:

  • Knowing God
  • Abiding in God
  • Having eternal life
  • Being born of God
  • Having one’s sins cleansed

Whatever the terminology used by the apostle John, we can see that present and eternal salvation is contingent upon certain factors. You will notice that our assurance of salvation generally has to do with present actions and characteristics rather than the mere memory of a past experience. While a past event of conversion is essential, our present assurance rests more upon present conditions in the life of the believer.

In summary, the only person who can have a genuine assurance of salvation is the Christian who continues to exercise genuine faith in God and maintains a relationship of loving obedience to His will. Once again, we can see that our salvation is real–but it is conditional. As we display the evidences of salvation found in 1 John and the remainder of God’s Word, we can have a blessed sense of assurance of our security in Christ.

Richard Hollerman

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