Maybe one of the most asked questions by Christians is: how do I know I am saved?
We all want a good guarantee with important parts of our lives.
• You want insurance on your home to guarantee the replacement of your belongings.
• You buy that extra protection on that electronic device or appliance so you are guaranteed that it will be fixed or replaced.
• You make sure there is a good warranty on that vehicle so you are guaranteed that it will run like its supposed to.
• You want your bank to be insured so your money is guaranteed to be there.
In very simplistic terms, then, how do you know that your salvation will have its effect on your life? How do I know I am saved?
One area of Scripture that answers this question (not the only one) is 1 John 4:13-15, so we will look deeper into this passage.
Verse 13 says ”By this…” John uses this phrase to introduce a concept he really wants to make sure his listeners grasp. In fact, it appears 11 times in this letter.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us. So, what is this? The guarantee of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will be encouraged and gain confidence through this post. this message.
I want to point out a natural movement we see in the text, which consists of three parts. Let’s start at verse 14 first. We see apostolic authority here– John was one of many who saw and testifies about Jesus. So, understand here that it’s not just someone talking without experience. You can trust what you’re reading because it is written by someone who is speaking out of what he has seen.
1st Part of the Movement: v.14
The movements follow a pattern: this happened, then this happened. The first movement: He saw and testified that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)
Apart from Jesus Christ, you are perishing and will perish eternally under the wrath of God. But God has made redemption possible for you. The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
2nd Part of the Movement: beginning of v.15
That happened. Then this: whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus came to this world and finished the work that is necessary for you to be redeemed. But Romans 10:9 tells us, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The second part of the movement is that you have to confess Jesus. It’s not enough just to know that Jesus came into the world. Many people are smart enough to know that Jesus was a real man on the earth, but there must be a belief behind this confession, like Romans 10:9 says.
So, the 1st part is that the Father sent his Son into the world. That happened.
Then, what is to happen is that every person has to decide to confess Jesus Christ. To believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead and that he has paid the penalty for sin and brings victory in this life.
That happens. Then, the 3rd movement.
3rd Part of the Movement: end of v.15
When you confess your belief in Christ, you will be saved. So this happens: God abides in you and you abide in God. Theologically this is called our union with Christ. Wayne Grudem summarizes it: “We are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ” (Systematic Theology, p. 1256).
Millard Erickson gives 4 implications of our union with Christ (Christian Theology, 3rd Edition, p. 882-883):
• We are counted righteous.
• We now live in Christ’ strength.
• We will suffer.
• We have the prospect of reigning with Christ.
Now, even with these three events being true in your life, some might wonder, how do I know this has all happened?
This is where the guarantee of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance.
Let me ask:
• Do you feel the conviction of sin?
• Are you conforming to the image of Christ?
• Are you learning and discovering biblical truth?
• Are you finding liberty/freedom over sinful thoughts, words, actions?
• Are you experiencing the guidance of the Holy Spirit, often evidenced by peace you will feel?
• Are you telling others about Jesus, being his witness?
• Are you loving others?
This is the work of the Holy Spirit in you. That is evidence of the salvation inside of you.
Look at the similarities to what Paul wrote:
13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
Specifically, the Holy Spirit seals the believer and guarantees the believer’s inheritance.
“Seal” generally means to put a mark upon something as a sign of its authenticity. Believers are sealed. And the Holy Spirit is the “guarantee” of the inheritance we have in Christ. The Holy Spirit is valuable enough to give the believer a sense of security by which to live faithfully until that great inheritance comes.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go. You are sealed, which is the link to the secure eternity we have in Christ (inheritance). This should give you confidence.
photo courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie