You are not alone. I have asked the same question, "Lord, how can I know that I am saved"?
The answer goes back to the scriptures. What does God say about this?
John the apostle had something to say about this. "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
Why did John write these things down for us? So that we would know that we are saved from God's wrath and have eternal life.
The question is then "What are we saved from?"
Most of time when I ask people what their understanding of salvation is, they say "Jesus died for my sins so that I would be in heaven one day." I usually follow up with "What does the resurrection mean to you?" Usually they look up and say "Well it proves that Jesus was God."
If there appears to be some openness and time, I then launch into my salvation schpeel. This message is the gospel message I heard when I was 30 years old, when I was depressed out of my socks. I was listening to Christian radio and trying to find something to uplift and help me.
Then I turned to WYLL radio and heard something I never heard before.
The radio host was talking to a caller who had a question about salvation. The caller appeared to be down and out and was looking for answers.
"Joe, what is your understanding of salvation?"
"Um, well Jesus died for my sins", the caller said.
"Is that it Joe?", the host said. "What are you saved from?"
Joe said "Jesus took away my sins, so that I can go to heaven one day".
The radio host was very used to these types of calls. They seemed to happen daily on every show. So many of the people calling in were struggling with life, depression, anxiety, losing their salvation and more.
What I learned over the years is this from listening to this radio broadcast was..
We Were Born into This World Spiritually Dead, in Need of Life!
We often confuse how Adam was created as the first man, with how we are born into this world. Adam was created in God's image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). What does that mean? It means that the God breathed his Spirit into Adam nostrils and made him from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). Not only was Adam physically alive, but he was spiritually alive. God's Spirit was living in Adam.
God then put Adam in the garden to work it. God gave Adam one and only one command...
"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die"
You know the story, the serpent deceived Eve and said to hear "You will not certainly die".
Ah ha, the first lie by the devil to the world. God just got done telling Adam that he would die, and the devil comes along and contradicts Him completely.
Adam, with Eve's help, did exactly what God told him not to do. That day, Adam and Eve died. But how did they die? Did they die physically that day? No, Adam went on to live 930 years (Genesis 5:5).
That day Adam and Eve die spiritually. The Spirit of God that Adam was created with, left him. That day they were condemned to hell and were under God's wrath.
What Does That Have to Do With Us?
Let me ask you a question: Were you born into this world in the image of God? If you said "Yes", that is incorrect. That is according to the scriptures.
We were born into this world not in image of God, but in the image of Adam, spiritually dead and in need of life.
Let's look at Genesis 5:1-3:
This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
Whose image and likeness was Seth born into? Whose image and likeness do you think you were born into?
All of us were born into this world in the image and likeness of Adam, spiritually dead and in need of life.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—Romans 5:12
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22
And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. 1 Corinthians 15:49
As for you, you were dead in your sins and transgressions. Ephesians 2:1
This is the bad news.
Now for the good news.
Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Gives us New Life
Now we can see that we have a bigger problem than just being a sinner in need of forgiveness, we are spiritually dead and in need of life.
That is why Jesus came, to give us new life.
I have come that you might have life John 10:10
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (Notice that we will not perish spiritually)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:36
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11
The Cross Keeps Us Saved
What then was the purpose of the cross? It was to forgive us of ALL our sins, and to keep us saved. The Spirit of God will never leave us. Why? Because all our sins are forgiven. It's an impossibility. To see more about this, click here.
We don't have to ask God over and over to forgive us because we are forgiven. Why ask for what you already have? Does that make sense? To see more about this, click here.
Yes, God has completely taken away our sins through the death of Jesus Christ.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:27
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12
Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. Hebrews 10:2
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:12
Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus
I believe that we must go all the way in our faith, from the cross of Jesus to the resurrection of Jesus in order to be saved. In order to do that, we must know our first know our condition of spiritual death before coming to God for his provision of not only forgiveness of our sins, but of new eternal life in Jesus.
Imagine if you went to a doctor and he gave you the wrong diagnosis?
I have talked to countless numbers of people who said they were Christians. They never heard in church that they were more than a sinner in need of forgiveness, but spiritually dead in need of life. They never heard their true diagnosis.
When they hear however, the full picture of salvation, they are amazed! They say "Why wasn't I told this earlier?" and "Why wasn't my pastor teaching this?"
I don't know the answer, but I am so thankful I heard it. I have passed this good news to all of my family and friends. Along with me, they are grateful and have become evangelists.
I pray that you too will tell others you love, that Jesus came to give us life. Amen.