you choose Q: how can I know I’m saved?

Q: I was born in a Christian family, my parents served God. I attended many meetings and answered many altar calls, confessed my sins many times, accepted Christ many times. I don’t no whether I’ve sincerely prayed and am convicted—still lacking the assurance of salvation. I face nagging doubts. It almost drives me off. I don’t really understand how to come out of it. I want complete freedom in Christ and the assurance of salvation and assurance of sins forgiven.  —Paul

A: I’m sorry that you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness and lack of assurance of salvation. Jesus’ strongest words of criticism were reserved for Pharisees, who—unlike you—were unwilling to acknowledge their own sinfulness (Luke 11:39,46). One of their worst sins was self-righteousness (spiritual pride): “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8).

In Romans 7:15, Paul told of terrific struggles he faced as he found himself doing the very things he hated. The more the Spirit sanctifies us, the more we will be aware of our sinfulness and our dependency on God’s grace. The “accuser of the brethren” sometimes uses even our growing awareness of sin to make us feel insecure (Revelation 12:10).

This is why one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to gauge the reality of our salvation on our feelings. So many different things affect our emotions that it’s misleading to base our security on them. Each of us grows up with emotional scars. Everyone feels anxious and tense at times because of events in their past. Others are afflicted with anxiety because of neurological disorders or imbalances in their body chemistry.

Since our salvation is based on the fact of Christ’s death on our behalf (Ephesians 2:4-5), the road to healing is not in directly seeking the right emotional experiences but in behaving in a manner that reflects basic trust in God. By changing our behavior in a consistent, long-term way, we will experience a spiritual healing that will extend even to our feelings and emotions. This, however, is a gradual process, and one that involves occasional setbacks.

Your salvation is based in the provision of our loving heavenly Father through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8). Satan wants us to distrust God and agonize over our salvation (Remember the serpent’s strategy in the Garden?). The less we give in to Satan’s accusations and lies, the stronger our faith grows. Don’t be surprised or alarmed by times of spiritual depression and doubt.  —Dan VanderLugt

Feel free to submit a “you choose Q” to ODJ by using the contact us form on the home page!

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3 Responses to “you choose Q: how can I know I’m saved?”

  1. castaway says:


    I struggled with these items and many others like never, ever wanting to evangelize…ever. I never wanted to give my faith away, witness by handing out tracts, etc…

    I also struggle with certain sins that I never “gained victory” over as some call it.

    I know better (seminary graduate) but these two areas cause me to wonder and even doubt or many, many occasions.


  2. kewi says:

    Paul, I understand your feelings in this as I was raised in a Christian family, became a Christian when I was young, but still had doubts about my Christianity.
    I have found verses like John 3:16-18 very helpful.
    Notice verse 17 and 18 where it says that God sent his Son not to condemn us, but through him we will be saved, going on to say that whoever believes in Jesus and what He did is not condemned. We just need to believe this and confess our sins.
    I also like Proverbs 3:6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, In all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
    If you trust God to direct your paths, then you don’t have to feel guilty about doing things other Christians do, he will use you to do what He wants you to do and thats what counts


  3. mike wittmer says:

    Paul and Castaway:

    These are very helpful responses. I would only add that the key is to look to Jesus, for He forgives any sin–both in our actions and in our faith. The faith that looks to Jesus will never be perfect or entirely sincere, but as long as we are looking to Jesus, his blood covers even that. Having been saved by faith alone, it’s so easy to smuggle works in the back door of assurance. We will only have permanent assurance if we look solely to Jesus, as the Israelites looked to the serpent that Moses raised in the wilderness. They didn’t have to look in any certain way, with any quota of sincerity–but just look, and they were healed.

    And Paul, the tone of your question makes me think that you are much more sincere than you think. For instance, an insincere person wouldn’t even bother to ask your question. So be encouraged!

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