The Scriptures are plain concerning salvation. Salvation was designed so that a believer could know he was saved. That knowledge, according to the Scriptures, comes from the Holy Ghost.
“Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” I John 4:13
“The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16
“And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” I John 2:3
The Scriptures tell us we can know we are saved, yet there are many—preachers included—who do not know when or where they were saved. Of all the words I could use to describe such mindsets, the most accurate and powerful would be simply this: unscriptural.
Consider this question: Can a sinner actually receive Jesus Christ in repentance and faith and not know it or not remember such a wondrous transaction?
A well-known pastor in the United States has authored many books. In one he states, “Some Christians lack assurance because they don’t know the exact time of their salvation. Some can’t remember when they believed or if they ever believed. Many Christians, especially those raised in a Christian environment, can’t identify the moment they were saved. I can’t. I don’t know when I passed from death to life, but I know I did. There were times when as a little child I prayed special prayers. I specifically remember praying with my father on the steps of a church in Indiana where he was holding a revival meeting. His sermon convicted me because I had done some bad things that week, like trashing the schoolroom of the church. Then I remember as a 14-year-old going forward at a camp…teary-eyed and wanting to make my life right with God. I also remember I was in a serious car accident as a freshman in college, which vividly reinforced God’s claim on my life, but I can’t say for sure that was the time of my salvation. I don’t look for a past event to make my salvation real to me. I look at the present pattern of my life. Some people have a false assurance because they can remember a past event but their life doesn’t follow a righteous pattern. So don’t worry if you can’t relate a specific time or event to the moment of your salvation. Focus on your lifestyle and attitudes instead.”
I heard another pastor preach years ago and he gave his testimony. He said he had prayed the sinner’s prayer so many times throughout the years yet he continued to doubt. Finally, one day he just decided one of those prayers must have been real somewhere along the way and so he refused to question his salvation any longer.
The big problem with the preceding testimonies is that they are unscriptural. Let us consider the Word of God’s description of the lost: condemned, separated from God, no hope, spiritual darkness, lost in sin, God’s wrath is upon them…My question is how can someone be delivered from all that and more and not know if it happened? I’m not saying a person’s salvation is based on a date or a time. Some people may not have known those things, but surely they would know the moment they received Christ, were forgiven for all their sins, and were reconciled to God.
I maintain that you cannot meet God in salvation and be unaware it ever happened. As if one could just eventually morph into being a Christian. Ask Saul of Tarsus, the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost, blind Bartimaeus, Mary Magdalene—the list goes on and on. Some may consider this judging and maintain that you cannot know a person’s heart. I’m just aligning what people claim with the Scriptures.
Do you know you are saved? Do you know the moment you met the Master? You cannot—according to the Scriptures, claim to have the Son of God as your Lord and Saviour, have the Holy Spirit living within, yet not know you are saved.
One last thought. It is wrong for anyone to railroad a poor, struggling sinner into believing they are saved. That is the Spirit of God’s responsibility. If He is not convincing and assuring the person, is it not dangerous for us to do so? Why would we feel the need to usurp that holy office? Consider eternity.
Thank you for reading.