Do You Know That You Know?
I was born and raised in a Christian home and I have been in church since the day I was born. My very first memory of my mom was her singing the hymn “Only Trust Him” while she rocked me. Pretty neat memory, huh? I accepted Christ and was baptized when I was 8 years old. I have great memories of my youth group. That is where I began playing drums; something that I still do in church today some 25 years later. I went to a Christian college where I met my wife to be, played 100 concerts a year in churches all across the state of South Carolina, met lifelong friends, and began my life as an adult. I’m very proud of my Christian heritage. I’m very thankful to the Lord for the people He has placed in my life that have deeply impacted my spiritual journey. Why do I start an article about the assurance of salvation this way? To let you know that for many years I doubted my salvation.
Maybe you’re like me. I was the kind of guy that every time I came across a Billy Graham Crusade being televised or attended an evangelistic event where the Gospel was preached, I questioned the sincerity of my original decision. “Did I really mean what I prayed when I was eight? Do I even remember what I said? If I can’t remember then surely it must not have been real.” “Others know the actual date of their salvation, I don’t. Does that mean I wasn’t truly converted?” So as Dr. Graham or others offered the invitation, I would pray for God to save me so that I could “Know that I know, that I know” I have been saved. Surely this time it would be guaranteed that my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
My journey began when I was eight. Notice that I used the word journey. In Hebrews 12:1, the writer used the word “race.” He wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the RACE marked out for us.” I want to illustrate my point by using the analogy of a race. Imagine that you are attending a track meet as a spectator. The runners are in the starting blocks waiting to hear the starter fire his pistol to begin a 1,500-meter race. The 1,500-meter is a long race. It isn’t over in a few seconds like the 100-meter dash. The 1,500 demands endurance — each runner must run several laps around the track in order to finish.
Now imagine that the gun has fired, the runners have taken off. After only one lap, one of the runners turns around and runs back to the starting line. The runner crouches down in the starting position, and once again listens for the gunshot to start the race. As a spectator, what would your reaction be? You would most likely be shocked or confused because once the race has begun, a runner doesn’t start over – he runs run until the finish. Can you see where I’m going? Spiritually speaking, I have started over many times. Perhaps you have done the same. When we doubt our salvation and then ask God to save us again, it is like we turned around and went back to the starting line. If that continues to happen, we never finish the “race” that is set before us. We only run for a bit and then start over. We never experience the rich and meaningful journey that God has for us.
Let’s make sure you know.
I never know who reads these articles and I don’t want to assume anything. Perhaps you are similar to the person I have previously described. You are genuinely a believer, but you have your doubts. I don’t want to offer you any false hope or minimize what you are experiencing. You must come to a point where you know that you have been saved. Once you know, however, you shouldn’t continue to doubt. The times when I have doubted my salvation have not been joyful times. My greatest fear in life is thinking that I was separated from God. It is not an enviable position. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to continue in your doubt. I would encourage you to read and consider James 1:5-8 so that you can stand on the truth of that passage.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
In our presentcontext, “wisdom” refers to assurance of salvation. Perhaps you are still searching for confidence or assurance. You need to know, but once you know you must understand where to go with nagging doubt when it arises. You must have faith –we can’t please God without it. As the Scripture says, if we don’t have faith, we can’t expect to receive anything from the Lord because we are too busy being tossed about. In my analogy, we are too busy rushing back to the starting line. Once we know, however, we are able to run. Satan is the author of doubt, not God. God wants us to know. Once you have determined from the truth of Scripture and by the Holy Spirit living in your heart that you are truly saved, believe it! And live like you believe it!
There are some of you reading this article that may not be saved. That is the starting line. The Bible says that you must be born again. One day each of us will stand before God and give an account for our lives. God will either declare us to be righteous (right with God) in His eyes or unrighteous (not right with Him). There is only one Way to be declared righteous in God’s eyes –it is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
You must have a clear understanding of what salvation is in order to be born again. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by GRACE through faith – and we don’t produce it ourselves, but it is a gift from God. There is nothing that anyone can do to earn it -no one can boast about being good enough on his own.
Grace is a gift of God. We can’t earn salvation! There was a tremendous cost paid for our punishment — Jesus gave His blood and His life for it. That price was paid for you and me. His gift of grace enables us to be cleansed from us from all unrighteousness if we confess our sins. He is faithful and just. He will forgive us (1 John 1:9). You must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and repent (turn from) your sin. You must come to Christ in order to be born again. That’s your starting line. I would ask you to surrender your life to God by repenting and believing in Him. Start running the race that He has for you. You will sometimes get tired. You will sometimes mess up, but you don’t have to start over. You look to Him for strength and you keep running.