I was recently asked to speak on the topic –"Are you really saved?"
1st question – saved from what? In Bible terms it means to be saved from sin. Forgiven by God, freedom from bad habits and saved from Hell.
2nd question – can we be sure? Yes, as sure as the promises of God!
I found a good answer in the Bible section called 1 John. This was written after Jesus had returned to heaven. The purpose of the writing is stated:
"That you may know that you have eternal life" 1 John 5:13
Read on as I summarise the apostle's teaching.
Chapter 1: Jesus Christ was a real person, and to really know Him is to have eternal life.
Some people claim to walk in the light but continue with secret sins – living a lie – they are not saved. For those who step into the light, theirs sins are cleansed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son.
Other people claim to have no sin. This contradicts God's conclusion – "All have sinned" (Romans 3.23)
God understood the damage and destiny of sinners, so He provided the solution. The Lord Jesus Christ who never sinned, became the propitiation, that is, the mercy-seat where God so holy could be reconciled to mankind, so unholy.
Anyone who comes to God through Him, will change from sinful behaviour to live like Jesus lived. This means to love instead of hate.
God's desire for believers is presented – forgiven, to know Him, to overcome evil, to know the Father, to know the Son, to be strong, with God's word abiding in them so as to overcome the evil one. – read 2:12-14.
Next John deals with our environment. The world we live in and the responses inside us tend to distract us from the Lord God. If a person is preoccupied with these things (good or bad), then the love of 'the Father is not in him'. The Lord Jesus made it clear that love for God must be first.
The writing changes to the person of Jesus. By the Holy Spirit we can know that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah promised in the Old Testament). He is the Son of God. (Son, not child). To deny this, John writes, is to be a liar!
Chapter three is about God's kind of love. God's plan is for all believers to be His children, to be like Jesus, to live pure lives, to live in love.
The warning is clear:
"Whoever makes a practice of sin is of the devil"
"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer."
LOVE is then explained:
Love is much more real in action than in words.
Love is understood best by the action of the Lord Jesus – He laid down His life for unworthy ones like us.
Love is commanded as the motive of a Christian life.
"Anyone who does not love, does not know God" 4:8
Chapter four identifies Jesus to be a real man. The Gnostics had all sorts of antichrist ideas. The Spirit of truth is that Jesus was a real man, and the Son of God at the same time. To deny this is to make God a liar. God spoke from heaven when Jesus was baptised – "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3.17). God has given eternal life and this life is in His Son.
The Apostle John concludes his writings in chapter 5:18
1 A person born of God does not keep on sinning.
2 The world is directed by the evil one.
3 We know the Son of God has come.
4 The believer is IN Him, IN His Son Jesus Christ.
5 He is the true God and eternal life.
The final warning – "Dear children, keep away from anything that .might take God's place in your hearts."
Well we should respond:
"We love HIM because He first loved us"
Now read through 1 John for yourself and check if you are saved!