“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).
Doubting your salvation is a horrible feeling and this article is centered on turning to Christ for your answers. The Apostle John said that he wrote so “that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Jesus Christ is the source of salvation, so His salvation is according to His words those that He spoke and these words given to Apostles and prophets (John 15:20, 16:12-13, 17:8). Let’s go back to Jesus and His words.
Those doubting their salvation must ask themselves 2 questions. How were you saved and how do know that you are saved now? Listen. The Gospel is essential to your salvation. Christ’s Spirit spoke by the Apostle Paul saying,
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1-2).
Many doubt their salvation having been taught half-truths, and do not yet realize that they continue in sin and have reject the grace of God. Should you rely on faith only? Grace only? What about repentance? Where is the whole the Truth? We look to Christ. You are certainly not saved by your own doing, by your own works (Eph. 2:8-9), and yet Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The Scriptures say that Jesus is the source of salvation to those who obey Him (Heb. 5:8-9). The Apostle Peter made it clear that,
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:22-23).
Don’t let anyone fool you that faithful obedience has nothing to do with salvation (Rom. 1:5, 16:26). James wrote, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jam. 2:24).
Looking to Christ’s words given to His Apostle Paul, he teaches that the Gospel, which is to save you, is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). By the Gospel, one is saved from the condemnation that all have earned (Rom. 3:23, 5:12, 6:23). First Corinthians 15 makes this clear that you must receive this and stand by it to be saved by the Gospel. Second Thessalonians says that those who do not obey the Gospel are eternally condemned (1:7-9). Where does obedience meet the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
The Apostle Paul is very clear about obeying the death, the burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul says in Romans 6:7, “For he who has died has been freed from sin.” Looking at the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, people must join the Gospel and die to be released from their sins. Romans 6 is very clear about this. Christ’s Spirit speaks in Romans 6:3-6,
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
No one can be raised with Christ unless they first die to themselves and are buried in baptism. This baptism is the baptism into Jesus’ death, and this is when one is buried with Jesus Christ to be raised with Him. This is how one is freed from sin and thus saved. Apparent is the death, burial, and resurrection. You must obey the Gospel, so that you can clear up all doubt of your salvation. This makes sense that Jesus established baptism in His resurrection. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).
Do you really believe that Jesus was raised from the dead? Romans 10:9-10 shows that the confessing faith in Jesus being the resurrected Lord is essential to salvation. If you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, then you will join Him confirming your salvation by being buried in baptism with Him so that you can be raised. This faith includes believing who Jesus said He was. Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58). You must believe that Jesus is God who came in the flesh (John 1:1, 14, Isa. 48:16). Death to sin by repentance also comes before baptism (Rom. 6:3-7, Acts 2:38). One must confess their faith and repent before being buried with Christ. There’s no need to bury someone while they are still alive.
How were you baptized? The Apostle Paul showed that there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5), and this was in water (Eph. 5:26). Baptism is from the Greek word baptizo meaning “immersion” as Romans 6 describes baptism as a burial and those baptized went down into much water (John 3:23, Acts 8:38). If you have obeyed Christ, then you have been immersed and buried, not sprinkled or poured over. Also, were you baptized in Jesus’ name? Christ’s Spirit revealed through Peter in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This baptism is in water as Peter preached the Gospel in Acts 10:47-48,
“‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
This is the same as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit“. You may have noticed the references to the Holy Spirit, and how this baptism is in the Spirit’s name and includes Him. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body”. You can know that you have the Holy Spirit by this, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:24). By keeping God’s commands, we know that God abides in us by the Spirit. Therefore, we must keep Jesus’ command to be baptized if we love Him. Those baptized in Jesus’ name have been saved and added to His Church (Acts 2:41, 47). “Baptism now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21)
There are no additional baptisms to be added. There is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5). Examine yourself. Were you immersed in water in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins? Is this how you thought your saved when you began reading this?
Once you have obeyed the Gospel, to have confidence and know that you are saved, then we continue following Christ’s words in Romans 6. In Romans 6:6, those, who have obeyed the Gospel, “should no longer be slaves of sin.” Christ’s Spirit says in Romans 6:11-12,
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.“
Salvation depends on your life continuing in Christ. Christ reveals more about the necessity of obedience to remain saved in Romans 6:16-18,
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
The Apostle John echoes how obedience is essential to salvation. He wrote that those who read would know that they have eternal life. John revealed 2 things essential to continue in the salvation of God’s grace. John said in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Here is the extent of God’s grace, His favor, which is to walk in the light meaning to be obedient (1 John 2:3-11). The other essential point is in 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Live right and confess your sins, then Jesus will,
“present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in [God’s] sight, if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Col. 1:22-23).
Walking in the light includes much. Start by being sure to continue in diligent study of Christ (2 Tim. 2:15), pray continuously (1 Thess. 5:17), and assemble with the Church (Heb. 10:24-25). Be sure that you are meeting with the Church of Jesus Christ by comparing their teaching to the Bible. See if they speak of the Gospel and obedience to the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as you read about in the Scriptures.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9).
May God bless you as you seek Christ and eternal life.