How Can I Be Sure That I Am Saved?
God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. By trusting in His death and resurrection on our behalf, we will be forgiven of all our sins. That's the promise God gives in Scripture (Jn 3:16; Rm 10:9). But what if you don’t feel your salvation? What if forgiveness doesn’t "stick"? And just what does it mean to believe in Jesus?
These common questions stem from an incomplete understanding of salvation. Salvation is more than just a feeling of security; it is God's working in us to ensure that we are right with Him. We become a "new creation" once we are saved by faith in Christ (2Co 5:17). This means we should not rely on how we feel, especially since feelings come and go. Rather, our assurance is based on the fact of Jesus' death and resurrection.
Many people misunderstand what the Bible means by "believe". Belief basically means trust. As an example, imagine you are stranded on one side of a river. The only way across is via a tightrope suspended overhead. A man on the other side has a wheelbarrow and says he can rescue you. Being a skilled acrobat, he crosses the tightrope with the wheelbarrow successfully. Now, you believe that the man himself can cross the tightrope, but in order to be saved, you have to trust him to get you over the tightrope in the wheelbarrow! Will you believe in him or not? Similarly, trusting Jesus for salvation means trusting Him to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. There's no way we can earn heaven; we must trust Jesus to carry us there.
Once you trust in Jesus, you are transformed. The Bible tells us that you are "born again" (Jn 3:3,7). You become a "new creation" in Christ (2Co 5:17). This means salvation is not something you merely possess, like membership to a club. Rather, salvation is about who you are. It penetrates to the very core of your being and makes you different than you were before, even though sometimes you do not feel as if this is so. Believers are being transformed day by day into the image of God's likeness (2Co 3:18). Your new nature is real and permanent.
Since believers still sin, it can be hard to feel like we are saved. Sometimes, it's hard to feel God's presence at all. But that’s okay. We can have confidence that we are really saved because of Jesus' sinless life, His perfect sacrifice, and His death-conquering resurrection. We know as a matter of historical record that Jesus really did these things. Therefore, Jesus' claim to be able to rescue us from sin is based on His work, not our feelings. Since Jesus was able to rise from the dead, we know that He has the power to save us, whether we feel it or not.
In summary, our salvation doesn’t have anything to do with our feelings. Rather, our salvation is based on fact. Once we place our trust in Jesus, we can be confident that He will save us.
This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 1211.
Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of Romans that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.