How important is it to have a real assurance of salvation? Consider what Jesus said near the end of the Sermon on the Mount:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21–23)
Do you see how scary that passage is? Those people thought they were saved. They said, “Lord, Lord,” which was a Hebrew figure of speech that expresses personal closeness. They prophesied in his name. They cast out demons! They did wonderful works. But to them the Lord said, “I never knew you!”
If that passage doesn’t leave you wondering who can really be saved, then I don’t know what will! How do we know for sure that we won’t be one of these people that the Lord denies knowing? How can we know that our professions of faith are true professions?
Assurance in anything does not come without examination. A pilot examines his plane before takeoff. A surgeon examines a patient and their history before proceeding. Why? So that they can have a measure of assurance.
The Christian’s assurance of salvation also will rise out of an examination of their lives. Paul encouraged Christians to do so when he said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Throughout the New Testament there are various tests that one can use to examine oneself to check your faith and give yourself assurance that you are really saved. We won’t get to all of them, but hopefully we’ll see the most important ones. Continue reading