“I believe in God, and I asked Jesus into my life – but how do I know if it worked? How do I know for sure that I am saved?”
In the past several weeks, I’ve had three different people ask me this. And each time, it’s like having a conversation with myself five years ago. Why do we not talk about this more? I think this is one of the enemy’s favorite places to attack believers, especially new believers. The faith is new and fresh, and if he can get even a kernel of doubt in our hearts, we will never be able to live the life God wants for us. If we are not equipped with a way to fight this, we can spend years – or decades – living a life of uncertainty.
In terms of crippling our faith, this is the perfect place for the enemy to attack us, because it hinders our relationship with God. Imagine that you owe someone money, but you don’t have anything to pay them with. When you see them out in public, are you going to go out of your way to talk to them? Are you going to seek them out, knowing that you owe a debt you can’t pay? If we aren’t sure that Jesus paid our debt and that we have right-standing with God, we will avoid seeking Him out. We will cover that relationship in guilt, and then we will drown in it.
I was baptized and gave my life to Christ and then spent years wondering if it was enough, or if it had worked. I remember crying one night, telling my dad I was worried that he and my mom would go to Heaven, but I wouldn’t, and then they would forget me. As I got older, the fears and doubts stayed, but it felt like it was too late to say, “Hey, I’m not sure that this actually worked for me.”
Any time I messed up, I felt like I had to start all over again. I repeated the sinner’s prayer every single time I heard it, because I wasn’t sure if it stuck the last time. But I always repeated it internally and silently, because I didn’t want anyone around me to know that I might not be saved. In church, or in ministry, it doesn’t always feel safe to admit those doubts. You fear judgement, you fear condemnation, or you might even fear losing your job.
My life was changed when someone finally told me, “Wake up every morning and say out loud that you are the righteousness of Christ.” For the next two weeks, I woke up and said that every single morning, regardless of whether or not it felt true. It was during that time, I really began to seek out God, and to ask Him questions, believing that Jesus was advocating for me (1 John 2:1). My faith grew as our relationship grew—as God spoke to me and revealed things to me, giving me the assurance I had been needing.
Now, five years later, I am finally realizing how many people in my life went through (or are going through) the exact same fears and doubts. There might be people in your own life who need to be equipped with weapons to fight against these questions.
In scripture, God spoke to Abram in Genesis 15:7-8 and Abram responds to God’s promise by asking, “But how will I know?” God promised us that if we declare with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved. (Romans 10:9). How many times have we responded, “But how will I know?”
God revealed two things to me as I read over this verse in Genesis:
- Abram wasn’t just rhetorically asking, “How will I know?” He was asking God directly. If we are struggling with any doubts over our salvation, we can simply ask God. Pray for Him to help give you guidance and affirmation. Ask Him to give you peace.
- When you ask God a question directly, expect an answer. Come with an expectant heart, ready to receive what you are asking for. Abram expected an answer from God, and how did God respond? Scripture says that God – the creator of our universe – responded by meeting Abram at his faith level and making a covenant, an unbreakable promise, for Abram’s sake.
God doesn’t change. The same God who met Abram as his faith level is the God we know today. If you have doubts about your salvation, take them to God. Let Him be the one to whisper assurances to your heart.
In Exodus, God told the people to smear the blood of a lamb over the entrances to their homes, so that the angel of death would pass by. I imagine that after smearing the blood over their door, several people stayed up all night in anxiety and fear, waiting to make sure that the blood worked, while others slept soundly after applying the blood.
But the blood covered them either way.
Even if we spend our lives in uncertainty, the blood of the lamb will still protect us and atone for us against God’s death penalty. But how much deeper our relationship with God will be when we believe we have right-standing with Him through Jesus.