Can I Know
I'm Going To Heaven?
"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of
God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He has
testified of His Son. He that believes on the Son of God has the
witness in himself: he who does not believe God has made Him a liar;
because he has not believed the testimony that God gave of His Son.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and
this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; and he who
does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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 believe on the
name of the Son of God." 1st
UNCERTAINTY (Doubt) CAN BE A TERRIBLE
Here is a sweet young lady who knows she loves a certain
prince charming, but is uncertain that he loves her.
A married man picks up signals that his wife is
infatuated with another man. He is tortured by the
uncertainty she will stay true to him.
A man has an unexpected heart attack. Doctors and nurses
work feverishly to save him, and the family waits in
Someone lost in the jungle where killer animals and
poisonous snakes lurk. Night comes and the sounds of
movement bring uncertainty.
Most terrible of all, it is time to die and we face the
uncertainty that we are not properly prepared to be accepted
TRULY SAVED CHRISTIANS CAN HAVE UNCERTAINTY
Because of sin.
It is a rather common
experience for newly saved Christians to fall to Satan's
temptations in thoughts, words, and actions in those first
days after they have received Christ as their Savior. Satan
then accuses them and taunts them that they would not have
sinned if they were truly saved. Even mature believers have
experienced these Satanic tactics.
Because of neglect in spiritual growth.
Peter gives all believers the exhortation "…Giving all
diligence, add to your faith virtue…knowledge…
temperance…patience…godliness…brotherly kindness…and love"
and then adds, "For if these things are your and
abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks
these things…has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old
sins." 2nd Peter 1:5-9
I know from personal experience what it is
to suffer the consequences of failing to heed Peter's
admonition. I was saved when I was eleven. Even though I was
certain that God's call to preach was upon me, I gave no
diligence to add the essential qualities of spiritual maturity
to my saving faith. Just before I turned seventeen I had a
climactic experience in which I truly surrendered to preach
and prepare myself for ministry. About three weeks later I was
enrolled in a Baptist University. I think I entered into
fellowship with the most fervent Christians on campus the
first two or three days I was there. Soon I began to compare their
zealous service and witness for Christ with my rather careless
attitude over the last six years. I experienced doubts about
my salvation for many days.
THE SAD CONSEQUENCES OF UNCERTAINTY (Not
True believers will have many sad experiences when
they doubt their salvation.
Loss of fellowship with Jesus and the
It is self evident that believers who doubt have fallen into
the sin of unbelief. This is usually accompanied by other sin.
John reminds us, "If we say that we have fellowship with
Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth."
1st John 1:6.
There is a loss of joy.
John also reminds us that it is when we are
in unhindered fellowship with the Father and the Son that our
joy is full. 1st John 1:3,4. Doubting our salvation
evaporates this joy.
Our service is hindered.
D. L. Moody, an evangelist greatly used mightily by God
said, "I have never known a Christian who was any good in the
work of Christ who did not have the assurance of salvation."
Neither have I.
Our witness for Christ is stifled.
It's impossible to doubt our salvation and
have a vibrant, confident witness of being saved through faith
Our battles with temptation end in defeat.
Our source of spiritual power comes from an
unbroken and unhindered faith in our God to give us victory. "And
this is the victory that has overcome the world, ---our
faith." 1st John 5:4b. When there is doubt our
faith is weakened and victory is turned into defeat.
It is truly a sad time in a Christian's
life when they are walking in doubt, misery, and defeat
instead of fellowship with God, fullness of joy and victory
THERE ARE FALSE SOURCES OF ASSURANCE
Some trust their emotional experiences.
While conducting a revival in southern
Kentucky I was told about a man who came to the altar on
several occasions, praying earnestly each time he came. In his
words, he "couldn't seem to do any good." However, not long
before I came he was praying and weeping at the altar and
happened to open his eyes. He looked down on some tobacco cuds
that someone had spit out on the floor. He said they seemed to
"glow like stars. It was then I knew that I was saved!"
I fear for people who put their faith in
emotional experiences like that. There is not one verse of
scripture that teaches we receive the assurance of salvation
from feelings. Many of us experienced feelings of relief, joy,
peace, and love when we got saved, but we had those feelings
because we were saved. We weren't saved because we had those
Some trust their religion.
Jesus referred to Nicodemus as "the
teacher of Israel" He also said to this devout rabbi, "Most
assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot
see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. Certainly the parable of
the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:10-13 should make
clear to us that religion is powerless to make us acceptable
Some trust their works.
Any person trusting their works for
salvation should ponder what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:21-23.
He made it clear that there will be people who will not be
allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven even though they called
Him Lord, Lord; prophesied in His name; cast out many
demons and had done many wonderful works. The reason: "I
never knew you." No matter what our earthly religion we
need to be sure we are not trusting our works for salvation,
but that we know Jesus Himself through saving faith
Some trust their own righteousness.
The problem is that no matter how righteous
we are in our eyes, we still fall short of pleasing God. The
Bible does not teach that we are all equally sinful, but it
does teach we are equally sinners who come short of the glory
of God. "…There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans
3:10. None of our righteousness will pass the searchlight of
an all holy God. Indeed, we read "…all our righteousnesses
are like filthy rags…" Isaiah 64:6.
THERE IS TRUE ASSURANCE - YOU CAN KNOW FOR
The apostle Paul had true assurance.
While in prison and fully expecting the
death penalty, the apostle Paul testified, "…for I know
whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep
that which I have committed to Him against that day." 2nd
True certainty and assurance comes from
Philippians 3:4-5 Paul told where his faith was before he came
to know Christ. He was an Israelite, a Hebrew of the Hebrews,
a Pharisee, the most zealous of his day and righteous before
the law. In verse 8 he wrote, "…I also count all things loss
for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…"
In verse 9 he explained that through faith in Christ he
received a perfect righteousness that made Him acceptable to
the all holy God. Paul had true assurance because he had come
to know Christ by saving faith.
True assurance comes from the Word of God.
Nowhere is this made more clear than in the
epistle of 1st John 5.1, "Whoever believes
that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…´ The gospel is
not a message about a religious system that needs to be
obeyed, but good news to be believed. When any sinner hears
the gospel story of how Christ died for their sin, was buried,
rose again, and ascended to Heaven and that Jesus will save
them when they trust Him as Savior they will be saved the
instant they place their faith in Him.
"If we receive the witness of men, the
witness of God is greater…for this is the witness of God
which He has testified of His Son." "And
this is the testimony: that God has
given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who
has the Son has life and he who does not have the Son of God has
not life." Verses 9,11, 12. God has extended to all
mankind the gift of eternal life. That gift is enclosed in His
Son. When we receive Jesus as our Savior by faith we also
receive eternal life. "These things have I written to you
who believe in the name of the son of God; that you may know
that you have eternal life…" (verse 13). There we have it. The reason
John wrote this epistle was so that all of us who have placed
our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior may have a know-so
assurance that we have eternal life. It is not written that we
know that we have eternal life by our feelings, our religion,
our works or our goodness, but because we have believed
(relied on) Jesus Christ to save us.
How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say, than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted