One of the questions that pastors get asked repeatedly is how do we know that we are saved? I have answered this quandary many times, and I am delighted by how my answers often mirror those of other ministers. We often say that the appearance of the following practices demonstrate one’s salvation. These practices are love for Jesus, humility, and obedience to the commandments found in Scripture.
The first answer, “love,” has to do with the fact that saved people love the Lord Jesus Christ above all things. This love leads us to love God’s word, God’s people, and all things pertaining to the Kingdom of God that He has promised to build among us.
The second is that throughout our lives we continue to have “humility.” We are aware of our sinfulness in spite of the work of the Holy Spirit to create in us a new being. We do not escape our sinfulness on this side of heaven. We are humble about God’s redemption through His blood on Calvary and the continued work of the Holy Spirit.
The third is our desire to be “obedient” to the Lord. I know that in my life I have used the illustration of the pastor who was asked if he was afraid of how much Scripture he did not know; he responded that he did not have that concern, but that his concern was out of how much Scripture he DOES know, how much he obeys! Similarly, I use a verse that I memorized in my childhood from Deuteronomy 29:29 (the number is easy to remember – 2929). “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow the words of the law.” This verse reflects the same truth that the pastor shared above.
Another pastor that I listened to recently added another aspect to love, humility, and obedience, that made me think. He mentioned the survival of one’s faith when encountering crises or bumps in our faith journey. There are passages in the Scripture that emphasize remaining faithful ‘til the end of one’s life on earth in order to be saved. During that same conversation with my pastor colleague, I asked about a person that both of us knew, and I was told that something happened and he was no longer involved in the church. This person was offended and left the fellowship.
I do not want to become dogmatic about this fourth point and I am very much aware that the hearts of humans are known only by the Lord, but staying focused until the end our our lives seems to be a very important aspect in the life of Jesus, whose last words on the cross were “it is finished,” and apostle Paul, who writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
I pray that all of us will be certain of our salvation, evidenced by our love for Jesus, our humility, our obedience to Scripture, and the steadfastness of our faith until our earthly races have been run.