Disclaimer: this article is a reflection of what I have learnt from the book ‘Can I be sure I’m saved?’ by R.C. Sproul. I highly recommend this book if you would like to delve deeper into this topic. It’s a very short book but covers the topic clearly.

Are you saved?

A tough question for a Christian to answer with confidence. It’s a question that I wanted to explore because I and many around me weren’t quite sure. Even people who have been ‘Christian for all their lives’ fail to answer this simple three word question. But, our life and death depend on the answer to this question.

First, it’s important to understand what it means to be saved. To be saved means to be regenerated or born again. Regeneration is when we are ‘transferred’ from the Kingdom of Darkness (being away from God) to the Kingdom of Light (being with God). Those who have been regenerated are the only ones that can receive salvation. The famous Romans 8:28-30 explains more about it.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

– Romans 8:28-30 (ESV) –

Here, Paul talks about a certain group or people. In other parts of the Bible, they are referred to as the elect. The elect are the people who God has called before the creation of the world to be regenerated and are the only people that can be regenerated or saved. If you are amongst the elect, you will be saved as God has sovereignly chosen you. Sovereignty is God’s divine will. So how do we know if we are amongst the elect?

The first step is to understand the different steps that lead to salvation. This is often called the Order of Salvation or ordo salutis. This is key to understanding what salvation actually is.

Often, we are told contradicting things about what we need to do to be saved. We are told we have to be good and just hope we’ve made it. Or sometimes, we think we just need to believe one time and that’s it; we’ve got the ‘ticket to heaven’. Maybe we think that everyone can be saved and it’s just unfortunate that some don’t believe in God.

Well, Romans 8:29 says that God foreknew [and] predestined. Foreknowledge is the knowledge that only God has about our future. God knows who we will be in the future because he knows all; he is omniscient. God knew that we were going to be the horrible sinners we are. Yet, in his love and grace, he still sovereignly chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. This is called predestination. God predestined those whom he sovereignly chose to be with him forever as part of the elect. Predestination is determined by God’s sovereign will. God’s nature is sovereign, therefore he has the highest power and authority. We cannot challenge it, since we are only God’s creation.

After we are foreknown by God and predestined, in God’s time, the elect will be called and regenerated. This is no ordinary calling. The Holy Spirit calls us from within and opens our hearts to be able to bring about God’s purpose in our life. This is followed by regeneration. As I wrote beforehand, regeneration is being born again; being ‘transferred’ from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light. Regeneration happens when the Holy Spirit first works in our heart. Naturally, when we fell into sin, we were unable to trust God or love Him. We were cold and hostile towards him. However, when we are regenerated, the Holy Spirit enables our hearts to be able to trust and love God. We have the ability to have true faith. Faith is trusting in God and in His word. True faith is given to us when we are regenerated. Faith is a gift from God, as written in Ephesians 2:8. We can’t work to earn it; it’s only by God’s grace we can receive it.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

– Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) –

For some, it is obvious when they are regenerated and for others, it isn’t. It is important to note that some people don’t have a sudden ‘conversion experience’ where their world is turned upside down. For some, it’s a little less noticeable. But, this doesn’t affect the sincerity of the conversion. But, it is important to be able to decipher a ‘fuzzy experience of emotions’ from the Holy Spirit beginning to work in our lives. 

So, how can we know if we are truly regenerated and truly have faith? How do we know that we’ve received the true faith? James 2:26 says that:

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

– James 2:26 (ESV) –

Therefore, if we have true faith, we will do something. True, sincere faith brings sincere obedience. Along with works, faith brings justification as well. Romans 5:1 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Romans 5:1 (ESV) –

In other words, faith justifies us. Justification is when God makes us right with Him. Previously, we were unrighteous sinners in God’s sight, but now we have been made righteous in God’s sight.

After this, there is the ongoing process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process where a person becomes more Christ-like. Then, in heaven, the elect are glorified. This is the process of the elect:

Foreknown by God -> Predestined -> Called -> Regenerated -> Given faith -> Justified -> Sanctified -> Glorified

Understanding what salvation really is in our own life is vital to knowing whether we are truly saved. So, how do we know if we are saved?

R.C. Sproul, in his book, ‘Can I be sure I’m Saved’, talks about how many people have come to him asking him how they can get assurance on if they are saved or not. Sproul answers that we should analyse ourselves with these three questions:

  1. Do you love Jesus perfectly?

The answer to this question for all is no. We do not love Jesus perfectly. Jesus says in John 14:15:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

– John 14:15 (ESV) –

No human keeps God’s commandments perfectly. None, not even one.

  1. Do you love Him as much as you ought to?

The answer to this is also no. Since we don’t love Jesus perfectly, we don’t love Him as much as we ought to. We know it, but we are too sinful and helpless on our own.

  1. Do you love Jesus at all?

The love that R.C. Sproul describes here, is love for Jesus. But not just any Jesus we imagine. It is only the love we have for the real Jesus that appears in the Bible to save us. The big question now is: do we love the Jesus of the Bible or do we love something similar to Him? Oftentimes we only love the characteristics of Jesus and not the person of Jesus Himself. 

If we can truly answer yes to this question, then we should look back at what regeneration is. Regeneration enables a person to be able to truly, genuinely love Jesus. If you truly love Jesus, you are saved. If you love Him one bit, you are truly saved. Even though we do not love Jesus perfectly and as much as we ought to, the Holy Spirit has transformed our soul to have true love for Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we do not have the power ourselves to love Jesus Christ one bit!

False assurance of salvation is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. He can make the true believer who is saved doubt forever that they are saved, restricting them from growing to know God more. When people misunderstand what salvation truly is, it can give them false assurance of salvation. This is the reason I wrote this article. I know many that don’t have full, true assurance of their salvation. I hope that after reading this, you can have the full, true assurance of genuine salvation. Don’t think that you can never obtain it. 2 Peter 1:10-11 says: 

 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practise these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

– 2 Peter 1:10-11 (ESV) –

After reading this article, do you still view going to heaven as just obtaining a ticket? Is there more to salvation than just believing Jesus exists?

I’ll pose the question again to you now. Are you saved? Do you truly love Jesus at all?

Ethan Chow (16) is one of the website managers for RE Generation-Z. Through RE Generation Z, he hopes that this generation can be truly ‘RE Generated’. He is an avid chess player, learner of new things, listener and player of music.

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