How Can I Know, that I am Saved?
Since the evidence of genuine salvation is the presence of the Holy Spirit within the individual, how can this be verified? How can we be reasonably certain about ourselves, as well as others, without being guilty of 'judging'? To answer this, let's take our own case first. There are several ‘tests’ that we can take to determine His presence within us.
1. Romans 8:16 tells us - "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God". First and foremost, we have the unshakable testimony from within us! The indwelling Holy Spirit of God consistently reassures us that we belong to Jesus Christ.
2. The entire Book of First John was written as a ‘test’ for determining the reality of our own salvation. In verse 3 of chapter 1 it tells us: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ". The fellowship enjoyed by genuine Bible-believers is proof positive of salvation. Those who claim Christ, but yet rarely attend church to worship God and associate with other believers, are possibly fooling themselves! A backslidden Christian can stay out of church and/or away from other believers, but I can guarantee you from first-hand experience that you will not be comfortable with it. On the other side of the coin, verse 8 teaches us that if we deny the existence of sin within us, the Truth (Holy Spirit) is not in us.
Then verse 3 of chapter 2 teaches us that we are genuine and growing in grace and knowledge of Christ, if we keep His commandments. Verse 10 teaches us that we are of Christ if we love the brethren. Verse 15 teaches us that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. "Worldly Christians" is almost a contradiction in terms; and those who claim Christ, but yet cling to the value system of this world - are suspect.
3. In 1 John 5:13, it informs us that the entire Book of 1 John was written so that we can know that we possess eternal life in Christ. Do you know for an absolute certainty that: if you were to die tonight, you would go to Heaven?
4. The Word of God teaches that the Bible is for the most part incomprehensible to the "natural man" aka, the unsaved or lost individual. The Bible is a spiritual book and the unsaved person is not only spiritually blind, but 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that they are incapable of knowing that which is spiritually discerned. Do you sense the Holy Spirit helping you to understand the Bible, by revealing truths to you as you read it? Does it make sense to you and speak to your heart? Does it convict you of your sin and teach you the right way?
5. The Bible is very clear that unregenerate individuals do not seek after God (Romans 3:11), unless God the Father draws them (John 6:44). Are you painfully aware of your sinful nature and cry out to God from your heart for forgiveness when you sin? If so, this is one of the signs of having been Born-Again.
6. The Bible says that an unregenerate individual is basically a servant of Satan and not capable of doing much about it (Ephesians 2:2). Have you been able to turn your back upon this world and its sinful ways? Are your close friends Bible-believers?
If you have been Born-Again, your unsaved friends will drop you like a bad habit. (Just as an illustration, spray a small amount of "WD-40" lubricant on a surface wet with water and watch how fast the water retreats! A genuine dose of salvation is like the WD-40 where reprobate buddies are concerned).
7. Do you love --really love-- Bible-believers and would rather be with them than anyone else? Can you meet a total stranger, find out that they are a believer, and then have instant fellowship with them? Is there "something" in your heart that draws you to them, and establishes a closeness which cannot be explained any other way? [We alluded to this feature in Paragraph 2, above]
8. Do you actually enjoy giving to the Lord's work? Do you give generously of your time, talent, and treasury?
9. Do you sin much less now, than you did prior to receiving Christ?
10. Have other people seen the "fruit of the Spirit" at work in your life? That is, can they see genuine love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22), being wrought in and through you by God's Holy Spirit? (Are you striving in that direction?) Do they sense that you are a different person, from the one you used to be?
11. Have you experienced persecution because of your faith in Christ? (Friends and family, who back away because of your testimony for Christ, are a subtle form of persecution).
12. Are you eagerly expecting and anticipating the return of Jesus Christ for His Church?