When it comes to the so-called “assurance of salvation,” I always feel that this is an extremely serious and even terrible proposition, and if I don’t pay attention to it, it will usurp God’s sovereignty. But in reality, too many people treat it casually. There is a class of people who are always anxiously looking for every detail of life, or getting answers from other people’s mouths; contempt together with cultivating life), and take it for granted that they must be saved, Christians. In any case, it is dangerous to get too entangled or to be too hasty. The assurance is in no one’s hands but God’s. Of course, I always believe that our inner conscience (never feeling) and the Trinity God will give the answer in unison. This article attempts to break the superficial shell and give an inner explanation.
“How do I know I’m really a Christian?”
I asked this question to a spiritual elder when I was young. “What’s there to worry about?” the other party replied. His answer was reassuring and plausible, but in fact, it was wildly misleading. Although I forget the exact content of that conversation, his main point was clear: “If you’re afraid of hell and want to be a Christian, isn’t the evidence clear enough?”
He seems to be right. So I stopped worrying, convinced that heaven was a sure thing for me. Could it be another result? After all, I love Jesus and fear hell.
Of course, this “assurance” was extremely dangerous because I was not a Christian then.
In fact, arbitrarily judging a person’s salvation is dangerous no matter what. Because having a Christian lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re saved. It is entirely possible for lost people to imitate Christian habits and develop similar religious feelings.
I am very aware of this. I was once a theology graduate, active preacher, and devoted gospel worker. However, I am not a Christian.
I am afraid many are in a similar false assurance. They grew up in a Christian family, formed certain “Christian” habits, and accepted certain “Christian” ideas-but they didn’t know the narrow road that led to eternal life. Many people believe that having a Christian lifestyle is enough to guarantee salvation. This kind of self-deception is dangerous—it is perhaps the most dangerous kind of deception.
Eight Deadly False Assurances
There are eight deadly false assurances that make those who have no true faith in Christ look, feel, or act like Christians.
First, I prayed a prayer of resolution.
We all know that a formulaic prayer does not save people. However, there will always be people who regard certain types of prayer as the primary evidence of salvation. They always equate prayer with faith. But no matter how memorable a prayer, a person is truly saved only when he repents and trusts Christ with all his heart (Acts 20:21).
Second, I repent of sin.
Believers in Jesus or not, God’s law is written in our hearts. Therefore, we feel guilty when we sin (Romans 2:15). Even Esau, who was greedy for the world, would cry out for the consequences of his sin (Hebrews 12:17). Unbelievers also repent of their sins from time to time, but they have not repented, trusted God, and therefore cannot remove their guilt (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Third, I feel very close to God.
In today’s age, the thing that deceives us the most is our feelings. We will be eager to elevate feeling and equate it with the truth. The truth is this: We can feel a lot, and not all of them are true to reality.
Fourth, I became godly.
This is my most common mistake: When I see that I am more Christlike (more humble!) than most people, I am sure I am saved. The apostle Paul probably felt the same way before he became a Christian. In Philippians 3, he says, “If anyone thinks he can trust in his own righteousness, much more can I trust.” In fact, as far as “righteousness according to the law” is concerned, he has “nothing to rely on.” accusing” (Philippians 3:6). By today’s standards, Paul was very “godly” when he was young, but he was not a believer at that time.
Fifth, I pray, read the Bible, and go to church.
Prayer, reading the Bible, and going to church are essential channels of grace in Christian life. However, there are also unsaved people in the church (Matthew 13:24-30). There are also people in the church who have tasted the good deeds but have not really known God (Hebrews 6:4-9). Hypocrites also pray anytime and anywhere (Matthew 6:5).
Sixth, God has given me a happy life.
God gives sunshine and rain to believers as well as unbelievers (Matthew 5:45), and many other daily blessings (James 1:17). His common grace pervades all areas of our lives. While we should thank God for this, we cannot equate His common grace with His saving grace.
Seventh, I have served the Lord.
Matthew 7:22-23 tells us very clearly that some people who have done a lot of service for Jesus will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. No matter how many fellowships you have led, how many ministries you have been in, or how much evangelism you have preached, it will not guarantee that you will actually be saved. Many who think they have served much will hear the terrible words of the Savior: “I never knew you, go away from me!” (Matthew 7:23)
Eighth, I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This is by far the most misunderstood spiritual fruit. Belief in the truth of the gospel is not the same as salvation and true faith. Come to think of it, demons have more theological understanding than any of us, yet none of them are saved (James 2:19). Unless our head knowledge is translated into real trust, it is not biblical Christianity.
stay away from these false assurances
I had all of the above false assurances when I was not a true Christian. I looked, felt, and acted like a Christian, and it blinded me (and everyone who knew me) for decades. Don’t be surprised, however, that same lifestyle is now evidence of my true salvation.
Before I truly believed in the Lord, I lived under the burden of keeping the law. I ask myself to do what a Christian should do—and I do my best to do it. For years, I tried to act like a Christian.
Finally one day, God showed me my sin—the day I really understood what it meant to be separated from a holy God. It was on that day that I turned away from my sins (including my own “false godliness”) and accepted by faith the forgiveness of sins that Jesus had done for me on the cross. From that moment on, the assurance of my salvation is no longer my works, abilities, and wills, but the salvation that Christ has accomplished. I turned to Christ and had no other security than Him.
And here lies the irony: When I stop trying to look like a Christian, I become a true Christian (1 John 2:3-6). When we trust in Christ alone, a Christ-like life naturally arises.
For those who are in Christ, godly habits, ideas, and affections do not come from the observance of Christian liturgical norms. Evidence of this kind is insufficient. It is the Holy Spirit who turns our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) through Christ’s word of forgiveness (Acts 10:42-43) so that we can bear spiritual fruit.
Once we fix our eyes on Christ alone, the assurance of “true godliness” becomes a cause for joy! When we understand that salvation is only in Christ, a life of devout prayer, full of faith, and enthusiastic reading of the Bible becomes beautiful evidence of God’s work.
It is not enough to look like a Christian. Only being in Christ is enough. Then we can—and should—have real assurance of salvation.