Q: Dear Pastor,
How can I know I am truly saved? I am experiencing such heavy doubt, I fear for my salvation.
Dear friend, our relationship with Jesus is about trust. We trust him with our lives; to guard us, take care of us, love us and help us. Even when our doubts come forth, we must still hold to our trust that Jesus knows our struggle and will strengthen us to faith again.
Sometimes our faith seems more focused on the church we attend than it does on the Savior who founded the Church. When this happens we must resist our religious emotions...not often based on truth, but based on church doctrine or someone's opinion from the pulpit(!) ...and realign our thinking in the right direction: toward Jesus himself. I believe your cry for reassurance in salvation is a good example of what I'm talking about. You've simply forgotten who it is who created your church, your faith and your belief system called “Christianity.” It was Jesus who did all that! He has never left your side and he never will. (Hebrews 13:5) Christ made that promise thousands of years ago.
He also promised many other things that are written down in the Holy Scriptures. This is why we are urged to read the Bible as often as possible...and I challenge you to do this. The Book of John especially, contains perspectives about the Savior that are not the same as the other Gospel writers of Matthew, Mark and Luke (though all of them are important and wonderful!)
John was also called "John the Beloved" because over the centuries, readers of the Bible and studious theologians have concluded what the Bible often stated: that John was Jesus' favorite disciple. Why? Perhaps it was because in Jesus’ humanity, he longed to be fully understood, as we all do. John understood Jesus on a more human level. They were friends. John loved him with a holy understanding about the Savior's life, his struggles and his passions.
John recorded a critical statement Jesus made that seals our salvation-knowledge: John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
He boldly proclaims eternal life to all the people who have decided to make Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord. In other words, when we receive Jesus as our only God, forsaking all other gods, we secure our place in a heavenly eternity the Bible calls, "paradise." (Luke 23:43)
Jesus referred to himself as "The Good Shepherd" (also found in John's Gospel), so naturally, he warmly considers us his sheep. He explains in this scripture above that his sheep know his voice when he speaks and calls to us. What a comfort! We can hear God talking to us! Then, he goes on to say that we will follow that voice into eternity where we will never perish. Yet Jesus doesn't leave us hanging there on a platitude, he goes further: “No one can take them out my hand,” he says, with assurance. When we belong to God, even our Father in heaven is on board with guarding and keeping our salvation through Christ safe forever.
You have no reason to worry! If you are living a life that honors the Lord, which includes repenting of sin, fighting against evil in all its forms and bringing glory to God with your lifestyle and love...you belong to Jesus and he will never let you go.
I pray this gives you all the comfort you are seeking!
Rest in the Lord now, my friend.
You are safe.