Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 13, 1969
NUMBER 44, PAGE 4+5a

How Do You Know You Were Saved?


Sometime ago I was in conversation with a friend of mine, and the subject of her twelve-year-old daughter came up. The mother remarked that her daughter had been "saved" a few nights before. She related some of the circumstances surrounding the occasion, all of which made me want to ask the question, "How do you know she was saved?" I forget now what prevented me from asking the question, but I do remember that I have thought about the incident many times since then.

Of course, neither the conversation nor the experience it related are unique. Surely such happens every day, many times a day. The problem is, these "saved" experiences have so many different and varied particulars about them that one would be forced to conclude that there are many different ways to be "saved," if all these be true experiences. That is what should trouble the honest seeker of truth. Are there, indeed, many roads to heaven and many ways to be saved? Is there no significance to the words of God's son, who declared, "For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth to life, and few are they that find it" (Matt. 7:14).

I recall hearing of one woman who stoutly declared she was saved, and she knew it because she opened her cupboard one day and saw Jesus sitting on a biscuit. He then proceeded to tell her she was saved. Others declare that all of a sudden a strange feeling came over them — a "feeling better felt than told" — and they concluded they had been saved. Some relate hearing a still small voice "speaking peace to the soul." Some avow they were saved at the "mourner's bench" when they "prayed through," and still others maintain that God saved them the moment they had the conviction of belief in their hearts. And on we could go, describing the various experiences that many claim as proof of salvation.

But can we not have some accurate guide or gauge upon which we can rely? After all, our feelings can deceive us. I remember thinking as a young man that I had a brain tumor. It was just before I was to get married (I'm not claiming any connection), and I had been reading something having to do with the brain. One article evidently discussed brain tumors, and I began to develop the symptoms that were right there in the article. Of course, it turned out that I didn't have a tumor, and thus my feelings deceived me. A well-known Biblical case of false feelings has to do with Jacob and Joseph. You will recall that after the older brothers of Joseph sold him into slavery, they dipped his coat in the blood of an animal they had slain and then presented the garment to their father, Jacob. Jacob was very distraught, and was convinced that a wild beast had slain his son. It was many years later that he learned the truth — that his son was not dead. True, he had been deceived, but that didn't change his feelings one bit! He would not have felt a bit different if Joseph actually had been slain. And this is why it is so dangerous for us to trust our eternal salvation to mere feelings. Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things..." (Jeremiah 17:9). The wise Solomon declared, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). We cannot get to heaven on our feelings or what seems right.

We must consider the role of Satan while on this subject. "He is a liar, and the father thereof" (John 8:44). He is called the "deceiver" in Rev. 12:9. When we note his approach to Eve, King Saul, Uzzah, yea all sinners, we must recognize that his whole campaign is one of deceit. Now, if he could deceive one into thinking or feeling saved, this would suit his purpose well. Is it possible for Satan so to do? Certainly! Therefore I say again, we cannot get to heaven on our feelings or what seems right.

What shall we do, then? Go to the Bible, the Word of God. It contains "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). Note the words of Romans 8:16: "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God..." Mark the difference between bearing witness "to" and bearing witness "with." The Holy Spirit does not come and tell me or anyone else that we are children of God. That is not what the text says at all, even though many misinterpret the passage that way. Rather, the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit. Observe:

The Holy Spirit Says My Spirit Says: Through The Word: Believe On Christ (John 3:16)18:24.1 I Have Believed Repent Of Sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38) I Have Repented Confess Faith (Mt. 10:32? Rom. 10:10) I Have Confessed Be Baptized (Mk. 16:16? Acts 1:38; 22:16) I Have Been Baptized

Therefore, I am a child of God. I know I have been saved, because the Holy Spirit bore witness that if I would do these things I would have my sins forgiven. When my spirit can testify that I have done these things, then the two spirits bear witness with one another and the results are certain. I don't have to depend on what someone else tells me, nor on the sometimes erroneous feelings of the heart. What could be simpler?

Dear reader, do you know you have been saved, or do you just feel saved? Take your Bible from the shelf and dust it off. Turn to the book of Acts (the book of conversions) and read there how thousands upon thousands of people became simple, New Testament, non-denominational Christians. Add all the facts together. Then when your spirit can testify that you have done what those did, then you will know that you have been saved, and that you are a Christian just as they were. Until you have done this, you have no hope of salvation.

Jefferson David Tant