I’m kind of fired up because without a doubt, I have the most important subject in the universe to talk to you about today. If you have “it,” you have everything that you need. But without it, you don’t have anything — no matter how much you have. Many people think they have this but they don’t, and sadly many people who do have it, take it for granted. Recognized in all of its splendor you would die for it, but ironically unless you have it, you will die.
What is it that I’m talking about? It is the story of Scripture. It is the miracle of the age. It is the reason that Jesus came, died, and rose again. Sinners call it conversion; theologians call it justification. Children call it, asking Jesus into their hearts, and Jesus called it, being born again. Most frequently the Bible calls it salvation.
Rightly understood, salvation is the crown jewel of Christianity and the constant comfort of the Lord’s people. But it can also cause much confusion. In fact, surprisingly even in churches that preach the biblical message of salvation, a lot of people are confused about exactly what salvation is and how it works.
This week on the broadcast, I’ll clear up three crucial issues about salvation:
1. How is a person saved? How does it happen?
2. How do you know if you’ve been saved?
3. Can you lose your salvation?
Right now, we’ll focus on the second issue, how can you be absolutely sure that you’ve been saved?
If you’re saved, you belong to God. God has made a mark on you. He has sealed you. What is that assurance that you belong to Him? Look at Ephesians 1:13: “Having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.” So here it is — if you’ve been saved, you have the Holy Spirit. If you’re not saved, you don’t have the Holy Spirit. So the question then is, how do I know if I have the Holy Spirit?
We’re gonna get this settled right now. Are you saved? If you’re saved, the Holy Spirit is doing these six things in your life. There’s many more things we could have included on this list but I chose what I thought were the six main ones.
1. The Holy Spirit is growing you. (Galatians 5:22) If you’re saved, you’re more godly than you used to be. You’re changing. You might have symptoms of your old problems but you don’t give into them like you used to. You’re being set free from addictions. Your character is growing. When you are saved, the Spirit is developing in you “… love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, self-control” — fruit of His character.
I’ll use myself as an example here. I’ve got problems; I’m not perfect. But the people who know me best, my family, my close friends, the people that I work with, all would say in unison, “James is not who he was five years ago. God’s growing and changing him.” Is God growing and changing you? That’s a work of His Spirit.
2. The Holy Spirit has gifted you. (1 Corinthians 12) When the Spirit of God comes into your life He gives you the desire and the ability to serve God. If you’re saved, He has gifted you with a specific way you can serve the body of Christ. You are prompted to get beyond selfish consumer Christianity and into the center of what He is doing to build His kingdom.
3. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin. (John 16:8 You’re like, “It’s the craziest thing, man. Before I knew Christ I could lie, and steal, and be mean to my sister-in-law, but never even felt bad about it. Since I got saved, every time I do anything wrong this siren goes off inside me.” That’s the Spirit at work, convicting you of sin. If you can sin and not be grieved, ask yourself if you’re really saved.
4. The Holy Spirit causes you to hunger for truth. (John 16:13) Was there a time when you couldn’t have cared less about the Bible? If somebody said to you, ?Are you reading the Bible?’ you would have been, ?No, I’m reading Louie L’Amour right now.’ But when you got saved, your desire to learn this book exploded in your heart. If that’s going on in your life, that a very good sign.
5. The Holy Spirit leads you. (Romans 8:14) What does that mean? God’s Spirit prompts you to make things right with others, to respond to the message that you hear at church, to want to do the thing that honors Him. When you’re being led by the Spirit, you know there’s something going on in your heart. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God these are the children of God.”
6. The Holy Spirit comforts you. (John 14:16) Has there ever been a time in your life when you struggled with just about everything? But since you came to know Christ, things don’t bother you as much. The Spirit supplies strength that you didn’t have before and you’re now able to get through things that you couldn’t before. God Himself bears you along and helps you get through the tough stuff. That’s one of the things the Spirit of God does — He comforts us.
God wants you to know that you’re His child, and if you’re wondering about it, read Romans 8:16, “the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” If you’re wondering, “God, am I your child?” do this: get alone, read the Scriptures that I’ve mentioned above and pray, “God, do I really know you?” The Spirit Himself will either bear witness, “Yes” or “No.” You don’t have to wonder anymore.
Get this settled right now. If you have more questions, listen to this complete message online. No one should be confused about this issue. Know that you know that you know. It’s that important.
Copyright © 2004 Walk in the Word. Used by permission.
Dr. James MacDonald is the Bible teacher on the daily national radio program Walk in the Word. If you enjoyed this devotional, visit James at walkintheword.com