You Need to Have Assurance That Your Relationship With Christ Is Real—Here's How
God wants you to have an assurance that you are a true Christian, that you have salvation and that you are going to heaven. He gave us many biblical passages that were specifically written to assure us and provide a sense of security in our relationship with him. Our lives will be a contradiction if we spend them cowering in the darkness wondering if we truly belong to him. This article will help you find the passages in God's Word that will clarify to you the security you have in your salvation.
Of course, Christians shouldn't always be wondering and worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. A lot of those who go to mainline churches and also Catholics can't imagine that anyone could really know that they have salvation or that they are going to heaven. This is why it is important to introduce others to what a Christian really is apart from religious beliefs that so many are taught which are not from the Bible.
Let me ask you, if you are going to your earthly father's house, would you know where to go? Of course for most people, you would know. You know the way to his house and you know the address and to get there you will simply follow the different roads that you need to travel to reach that house.
On the night before Jesus was arrested and put to death, the disciples realized that Jesus was going to his Father's house. They knew he was leaving but they didn't know any of the details; they didn't fully grasp that he would be arrested and crucified on the very next day. They wanted to know where the Lord was going because they wanted to go with him. So Jesus told them:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4 NIV).
That's when Thomas responded, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5 NIV).
Then Jesus uttered this incredible statement: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 NIV). On the surface that answer is much more complex than the question Thomas has asked. It is a profound statement which deserves a little contemplation on our part.
He says I am the way to the Father. He says I am the truth that guarantees knowing that way. And then he finishes with I am the life. Then in case they missed his point, Jesus finishes with, "No one comes to the Father except through me." Thomas A Kempis said, "without the way, there is no going. Without the truth there is no knowing, and without the life there is no living." So true.
Not only is Jesus our way to salvation and to heaven, he IS our salvation. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NIV).
But Jesus is also the Truth. We have no way to know how to receive this salvation and how to get to heaven accept through him. This is such an important part of your security in Christ. So let me state it emphatically:
God Does Not (And Cannot) Lie!
And Jesus is God in human flesh. Therefore, the Lord is incapable of lying even as the Father is incapable of lying. Your security in your relationship with the Lord and your eternal destiny are based first and foremost upon all of the assurances which are built upon the foundation of his absolute trustworthiness. If he isn't trustworthy your salvation is worthless. But because he is God in human flesh and because he cannot lie, your faith in him will produce salvation and everlasting life.
In this passage, Jesus goes on to tell his disciples: "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:16-21 NIV).
There are lots of promises in that passage. Let me point out the important ones:
1. Jesus Will Send You the Holy Spirit
In this statement the Lord calls the Spirit the Spirit of truth. He will be sent to believers. This is certainly a powerful promise and a persuasive pledge of your relationship with the Lord. It is so amazing that he sends us his Holy Spirit to guide us.
Other biblical passages confirm this same promise. "And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." (1 John 3:24b NIV). "This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit." (1 John 4:13 NIV). "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God." (Romans 8:14 NIV). "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children." (Romans 8:16 NIV).
2. Jesus Will Live in You
Although the Lord was going to the cross and would soon die, he would still be alive (after the resurrection). He says that you are in him and he will be in you. Once again, this confirms the Bible definition of what a Christian is, as someone in whom Christ dwells (Romans 8:9-10; see the following article which explains this in more detail What is a Christian?). "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27b NIV).
3. You Will Love to Keep His Commandments
Jesus says those who love him will want to keep his commandments and he will show himself to them. So if this is you, he will be strong in your heart. Now other passages in the Bible say the same thing: "The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them." (1 John 3:24a NIV). You will know what the Christ wants you to do as you study and obey his Word. The Bible will increase your desire to please the Lord as you follow his commands. The desire you have to do his will is a confirmation that you belong to him.
"We have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (1 John 2:3-6 NIV).
There are many promises found in other Bible passages which reveal some important assurances you should have about your salvation.
4. You Will Love the Believers
Here is an important sign that you will want to see in your heart. If you are having a difficult time loving other Christians, you should ask yourself what's wrong. "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." (1 John 2:9-11 NIV).
"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death." (1 John 3:14 NIV).
5. You Will Have a Strong Conviction of Sin
Now this might surprise you. Many new believers think that once they become a Christian either their sin will go away or they will no longer have any desire to sin. Unfortunately, that just isn't what happens. Knowing that you are still a sinner might seem to be a confirmation that you are not a believer, but that's not the case. The Word says that if we say that we are not sinners, we lie and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8, 10).
You see Christians sin "in the light." They can tell good from evil much more easily than those who don't know Christ because they are walking in the light. This principle is so important that I have written a complete article on it called Do Christians Sin in the Light?
Christians do have a strong conviction of sin. If Christ is in you, you will know
that you still sin. BUT, you will also be aware of the difference between
good and evil, and you'll have a strong desire to please the Lord. You'll likely
also feel guilty and uncomfortable in
the midst of sin, which will drive you back to the Lord. The non Christian does not have much of a sense of
conviction for sin. He actually prefers sinning to living for God. So
conviction is definitely a sign you belong to the Lord.
6. God Clearly Promises Eternal Life
This is the strongest promise in the Word of God in relation to our assurance that we belong to Christ. This promise has dynamic authority for you because it comes from the God who does not and cannot lie. Here's the promise:
"Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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." (1 John 5:10-13 NIV).
Notice that the promise is true, just because he is true. If we refuse to believe it we are actually calling God a liar (which he can never be). The testimony is that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (Jesus Christ). John writes those words to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.
Do you believe in the Son of God? Yes or no? Have you received Jesus into your heart? Yes or no? Has he promised to forgive you of your sin? Yes or no? Then what do you have? You have eternal life. Therefore, based upon his promise and the fact you've done what he's asked you to do, you can know with settled and absolute assurance that you have eternal life.
But there's more here. The next two verses in this passage goes on to give you a promise about prayer: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him." (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).
Did you approach God in prayer when you received Christ? Yes or no? Did you ask him to forgive your sin and did you invite him into your heart? Yes or no? Is it God's desire that you should be saved? (If you have any hesitation in answering that last question in the affirmative, look up 2 Peter 3:9 where we are clearly told that God is not willing that any should perish. And that "any" certainly covers you.)
So when you asked Jesus to forgive your sin and come into your life, was that God's will? Yes or no? Is that what HE wanted you to do because he doesn't want any of us to perish? Of course it is. This passage says that when you approach God and you make a request of him that is according to his will, you know that he hears you. And if you know he hears you, you also know that you HAVE what it is that you asked of him.
So your salvation is dependent on God's trustworthiness. And it is based upon his truthfulness and his promises. If you have any doubts, I would suggest you reread this passage again in 1 John 5:10-15 and reconfirm what you've done with the Lord. Reconfirm his promise to you where he gives to you eternal life.
You Will Have Doubts
I think it is fair to say that you will have doubts about your salvation over the years. Doubts are often part of the process of belief. Almost no one jumps straight into full belief without a few doubts. Doubt is just part of the process of moving away from self trust into trusting the Lord.
Now you'll certainly have doubts when you find yourself in the midst of heavy sin, knowing that what you're doing makes you to be a liar. On more than one occasion my sin has driven me to my knees in repentance. Your repentance is a strong sign that you are a believer, because Christians have an inbred sense of right and wrong that comes from the Word of God, the presence of the Lord in our lives and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
But what if your doubts about your salvation continue to linger and you feel like your heart is condemning you all the time? Fortunately, there is actually a passage of Scripture that deals with that specific problem.
"This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him." (1 John 3:19-22 NIV).
So you see that your flesh and your lack of confidence in yourself can cause you to have a heart that makes you feel condemned. But the passage says that God is greater than your heart! He knows everything about you. So trust his promises and his truthfulness. Don't just trust in your emotions.
Did he promise you eternal life? Of course he did. Have you repented of your sin and asked Christ to wash it away? (Yes). If you have, then did he come into your heart? (Yes). Is the Holy Spirit moving in your heart? (Yes). Then you HAVE what he promised, no matter how much self doubt you might feel at the darkest moments of your life. Just trust him and keep walking in the Lord and your doubts should fade away.