Evidence of Personal Salvation
Does the Bible give an answer to the often asked question whether or not a person can have an evidence of salvation? Can a person know if his sins are forgiven or not, or must he wait until Judgment Day to find out? It would be most unfortunate and risky to leave this most important question unsettled until then.
Yes, one may know, and the Lord wants us to be sure that we are saved. His invitation is “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world (sinners, everyone), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is true that by nature all have sinned and come short of doing the will of God.
Man needs a Savior in his unregenerate state. He is dead in sin and trespass, lost, and needs a Savior to save him. Our kind and merciful heavenly Father has provided salvation through Jesus Christ for all who avail themselves of His wonderful grace. He shed His blood and died on the cross a “propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2). It is necessary for a sinner to feel the need of cleansing and forgiveness of sins, imploring “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). In contrition he acknowledges his guilt and confesses his sins, first to God, and also makes proper restitution with men. He looks in faith to “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus then forgives his sins.
God gives evidence of forgiveness of sins in various ways. Sometimes He says in plain words “thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luke 5:20). If our sins are forgiven us, we have peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). (Having been “confirmed” or “baptized” or “being a member of a church” does not constitute a new birth). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creature: old things have passed away: behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is born again (anew) as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This is a spiritual birth. A natural birth produces a natural life, but a spiritual birth produces a spiritual life. Spiritual life is effected by being “born of water (the Word of God) and of the Spirit” (John 3:5).
A person born of the Spirit is risen from the dead (spiritual death) and “seeks those things which are above” (Colossians 3:1). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Their affections are set on things above and not on things on the earth. They will mortify (deaden) their members which are upon the earth: not be carnally minded nor follow the course and desires of nature. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16). The Spirit of God assures: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
When “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5), we will be reaching out for heavenly things: loving and feeding on the Holy Scriptures and witnessing for our Lord.
This love from God reaches farther than natural love and family ties. It enables one to love his enemies and those who may hate him (Matthew 5:44).
The Lord Jesus taught when He commissioned His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Converts, born again Christians, are to be received into the Church of God through water baptism by spiritually alive, called-of-God ministers. A prayer life naturally follows a Christian experience. Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. Through prayer spiritual strength and vigor are replenished to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10); to be able to “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11).