These are my notes from a sermon series. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.

One basic truth you ought to know beyond any shadow of doubt is that you are saved. Many believers struggle with insecurity about their salvation. For some they aren’t sure if they were actually saved. For others they are afraid they have already lost their salvation because of something they did or they are worried they may lose their salvation for something they might do. But every Christian needs the absolute assurance that he or she has had this experience of salvation. You should not have to walk around like a question mark with your head bent over but like an exclamation mark with your head lifted high. You should not be saying, “I hope I am saved,” or “I think I am saved,” but, “Praise God, I know that I am saved!”

Today we are going to talk about the assurance of your salvation. I’m going to assume that you have placed your faith in Christ for salvation and try to explain how you can know for sure you belong to Him. If you still have doubts, I want to encourage you to talk to someone about what you are thinking and feeling.

Two Types of Doubters

There are two types of people who doubt their salvation.

  • First, the person who is a Christian but has doubts because of their lack of knowledge about their salvation or because of a recurring sin in their life. Some followers of Jesus believe they can lose their salvation if they sin and as a result they walk around in doubt. However, God’s Word teaches clearly that it is impossible for a believer to become unsaved. It is called the doctrine of eternal security.
  • The other person who struggles with doubt is the person who thinks they are saved, but are not. They are confusing God convicting them of their sin for salvation with doubting their salvation. What’s really going on with this person is God is convincing them they need to Jesus for salvation. There are many people who made some kind of profession of faith in Christ years ago who didn’t mean it, they were baptized but they never were really born again. What they think is a struggle with doubt is really a struggle with Gods’ Spirit working on them to save them.

For the true believer, God wants you to know beyond any doubt that you are a child of God. One of the reasons God gave us 1 John is to help believers know they are saved. In 1 John the word “know” or “known” is used 38 times. God used John to write to people like you and me so that we might “know” that we have eternal life. Another title I like to call 1 John is The Book of Assurance. John tells us why he wrote this letter in 1 John 5:13, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (NLT).

Throughout 1 John you are given several test or ways to evaluate whether you are saved or not. It is a way that you can do an assessment of your salvation. Let me be clear here, to test something means to appraise, assess, and evaluate the presence, quality, or authenticity of something. We are examining our faith to judge the nature of it. We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test [appraise, assess, evaluate] yourselves” (NLT). 1 John gives us three important areas to examine when it comes to our faith and salvation. To help you test and assess what kind of faith you really have 1 John gives us three very important test. Here they are.

The Commandment Test

The first is the commandment test: this test deals with your attitude toward God’s Word. Look at what 1 John 2:3 says, “And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, ‘I know God,’ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did” (1 John 2:3-6, NLT). He says in effect, “Look, don’t tell me you are saved if you have no desire to let God’s Word guide your life. If you say you are a follower of Jesus, but don’t do what He says then you are a liar.” Let’s take a closer look at what John is actually saying.

The first thing he says is, “We can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.” You “can be sure” and have confidence that you “know him” and are saved by looking at your obedience to “his commandments.” Your assurance of salvation is closely related to your commitment to God’s Word. This is one reason you want to be in His Word reading it, discussing it with others, listening to good Bible teachers and learning how to apply it. The more you know it and the more you apply it the more confident you are in your salvation. John’s point is that your external obedience provides tangible evidence for an internal transformation brought on by your faith in Christ for salvation.

Then he says, “If someone claims, ‘I know God,’ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.” The commandments that John is referring to is more than just the Ten Commandments in the Bible. These commandments are referring to God’s Word in general – what God teaches about prayer, church, worship, evangelism, loving others, forgiveness, being kind, merciful, and patient. This deals with what God says about sexual purity, marriage, relationships, finances, how you speak, and host of other important subjects. So, if a person says, “I know God,” but there isn’t anything that says they do then that person is a liar. It’s like the person who claims to be a Christian, but they don’t read the Bible, they don’t go to church for worship with other believers, they don’t give to anything that has eternal significance, and they don’t seem to have a relationship with God that is noticeable in any way. They may be a nice person, but nothing really says they have a relationship with God and know Him. If that’s the case, then John says they are a liar, whether they know they are or not.

Then he goes on to say, “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him.” Let me be clear, John is NOT talking about perfect obedience or some kind of legalistic approach to God’s Word, he has something else in mind.

The key to understanding all this is in that word “obey.” It means “to watch over.” Some Bible translations use the word “keep” rather than obey. Here is the reason why. The word “keep” was used in ancient times by sailors. Those early sailors did not have global positioning satellites and radio signals to guide them, yet they sailed over the trackless seas. In doing that they sailed by the stars. They kept their eye on the heavens, and they called it “keeping the stars.”

Keeping the stars is much like keeping (obeying) the commandments. Any sailor could occasionally get blown off course, get distracted and waver this way or that way. But if he was still on tract and headed in the direction he supposed to be going he was considered to be “keeping the stars.”

When we “obey (keep) the commandments,” we steer our lives by them. Does this mean that some storms in life may blow you off course from time to time? Yes. This does not mean you will be sinless because no one is perfect except Jesus Christ. It does mean that your heart’s desire is to keep the Word of God. You may sin and get distracted from God’s will, but your life is consistently realigning with God’s Word by keeping the commandments of God. Your life follows the direction of God’s Word.

Then John says something amazing, “That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” Jesus ordered His life by God’s Word, you will do the same if you are truly saved. God’s Spirit in you will encourage you in this direction.

One test to build assurance of your salvation deals with your attitude toward God’s Word. Do you manage your life, decisions, finances, time, marriage, parenting, relationships, friendships based on God’s Word? Do you let God’s Word guide your life? Can you say with the Psalmist, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105, NLT)? If you have noticed a growing hunger for God’s Word, an increasing desire to apply it, and you are letting God’s Word direct your life more and more then you can have confidence that you have a new life in Christ and are born again.

The Companion Test

The second test John gives us I call the companion test: this test deals with your relationship with God’s people. This test asks the question, “What is your attitude toward other believers?” Are you drawn toward being with other believers for encouragement, fellowship, and ministry together? John described it like this in 1 John 3:14, “If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them” (1 John 3:14-15, NLT). Your new life in Jesus gives you a new attitude toward Jesus’ followers. If you were repelled by them you are now drawn toward them. If you hated them, you now love them. You go from having no interest in them, to being committed to them. You have a love for them and that love “proves you have passed from death to life.”

What does it mean to love other believers? God’s Word gives us direction on how to treat other followers of Jesus in what has come to be known as the one-another statements in the Bible. This will be very practical because love really is not complicated. Here is what loving other believers looks like.

  • Loving believers means forgiving them. As a Christian you are told, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13, NLT). Forgiving others can be difficult, especially believers who you may expect more from. The reality is believers will still do and say things that are going to hurt, annoy, anger, and offend you. Forgiving them is an expression of love and you are to forgive since God has forgiven you.
  • Loving believers means encouraging them. There are Christians in your life that need you to encourage them. You are perfectly designed to motivate them, inspire them, and build them up. There is something about you, that they easily receive encouragement from you are the key in them being inspired. Paul told some believers, “Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT). Strive to be positive. Reach out to discouraged believers through letters, cards, text, emails, or some form of social media to encourage them. Catch them doing something good and let them know you’ve noticed and appreciate their efforts. Be faithful to them by worship with them and attending Bible studies with them to discuss God’s Word and encourage them. How much do you think about encouraging the believers in your life in their own spiritually journey?
  • Loving believers means accepting them. This means embracing Christians as they really are, rather than as you wish they would be. We are told, “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (Romans 15:7, NLT). This may be difficult because of different personality, weaknesses, faults, and immaturity but as you welcome and receive them into your life you will be loving them and bring glory and honor to God.
  • Loving believers means serving them. God has given you special abilities that are uniquely designed to bless God’s people. They need you to serve them to help them grow and do what God wants them to do. Peter put it this way, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10, NLT). You have a spiritual gift that God gave to you and He wants you to use it “well” to serve other believers. There are a variety of gifts (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11) and you have at least one of them. Discover your gift by studying God’s Word, begin doing ministry and pay attention to what you do well and talk to other mature believers about what they think is your gifting. The bottom line is this, regardless of what your spiritual gift is you are designed to serve and bless other believers. When you serve them you are loving them.
  • Loving believers means instructing them. This means correcting, admonishing, or warning them of something or someone in their life that is not spiritually healthy for them. It has the idea of giving godly counsel and advice. God’s Word says, “My brothers and sisters, I myself am convinced about you that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14, CSB). The reason “goodness” and “knowledge” is connected with “instruct one another” is because this particular type of instructing may involves the willingness to confront, challenge, and correct Christians who are living in disobedience to God’s Word. This is to be done in love, grace, gentleness and with the goal of restoration. This is often called tough love, but it will be necessary at times. When you instruct and admonish believers you are loving them.
  • Loving believers means restoring them. This means getting involved in Christians’ troubles and problems. We are told, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2, NLT). You will be tempted to be critical of them, but save those comments to yourself and focus on helping them get back onto the right path. Sharing someone else’s burden can be costly, inconvenient, and disruptive. Ask God to help you do it anyway. Be available and flexible. When you are sharing another believer’s burden and helping them to get going in the right direction you are demonstrating your love for them.
  • Loving believers means honoring them. This means placing value on other believers. This is where you see them as significant and important regardless of how mature or immature they are currently are. God’s Word tells us, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10, NLT). Honoring other believers is to speak with respect, listen with undivided attention, and to genuinely believe their life matters. This is something God wants us to “delight in” doing. He wants you to enjoy and find great pleasure in lifting people up and giving them honor. When you do this you are showing your love for them.
  • Loving believers means motivating them. This means you want to inspire, stir up, stimulate and spur on other believers to reach their potential for God. You want to motivate them to do and be their best and experience all that God has for them. God’s Word says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24, NLT). God wants you to think about how to motivate the believers in your life and to inspire them to love others and bless others. Challenge them to get outside of the comfort zone and do something amazing for God and others. Spur them on to get up and leave apathy behind and get excited about serving God and serving people. When you think about how to motivate believers and put those thoughts to action you are demonstrating that you love them.

If you find yourself intentionally forgiving, encouraging, accepting, serving, admonishing, restoring, honoring, and motivating followers of Jesus then all those are proof that you love them and evidence you are a follower of Jesus yourself.

The Confirmation Test

The third test I call the confirmation test: this test deals with the supernatural certainty inside of you that you are saved. The first two tests were about examining you behavior. Does your faith produce actions of faith when it comes to God’s Word and God’s people? This third test deals with what God is doing inside you. God uses two things to bring about the confidence and certainty inside your heart that you are a part of His family. This has more to do with what God does, than what you do. Let me explain.

First, there is the work of God’s Spirit. Look closely at 1 John 5:6 where it says, “And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross —not by water only, but by water and blood.” That is John’s way of summarizing the gospel of Jesus. But look at what John says next, “And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony…. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony [about Jesus] is true.” What John is saying that a supernatural act of God happens in a believer’s heart that is produced by God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God takes the good news about Jesus and confirms it is true inside of you. “Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. 11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” In other words: God, through His Holy Spirit, is testifying (proving, affirming, confirming) inside your heart that you have “eternal life” because you have believed Him. God’s Spirit is at work in your life to convince you that you are a true believer. There is something inside of you that has convinced you that this whole Jesus thing is completely true. That something is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit confirms that the gospel is true and confirms the gospel is true in you.

Second, there is the work of God’s Word. One of the reasons why some believers doubt their salvation is because they don’t know what God says about their salvation. This is why John wrote 1 John. Near the end of his letter he wrote, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, NLT). I referred to this at the beginning, but this statement is very important. To understand the power of this statement let’s break it down into three parts.

  • Part one, “I have written this to you.” Even though John is the human instrument writing this, it was actually God who was writing this through John (this is called the inspiration of Scripture). This statement specifically refers to 1 John, but generally it refers to all of God’s Word. God gave you the Bible to help you understand the important things in life and one of those important things is your salvation. God’s Word was written to you to help you grasp why you needed to be saved, what happened to you when you were saved, and what’s happening now that you are saved.

God’s Word is personal because it is written to “you.” One of the great truths about God’s Word is that it is written to everyone and to just one, you. When I was a freshman in college I was attending one of our chapel services they held each week on campus. The speaker was talking about how personal the Bible is and he made a statement that God’s Word was like a love letter written to just me. That grabbed my heart and I took my Bible and above Genesis 1:1 I wrote, “Dear Jeff,” and after the last verse in Revelation I wrote, “Love, God.” This served as a reminder to me that God’s Word was written to me and for me by Someone who loved me enough to tell me the truth. The same is true for you.

  • Part two: John says, “who believe in the name of the Son of God.” This refers to believers. John wanted to help followers of Jesus, like you, know they are saved and be confident in that salvation. The reality is, all believers are human and they are going to have doubts from time to time about their salvation and what they believe. That’s normal. If you have doubts you are not alone and John is talking to you, so listen to what he has to say.
  • Part three, “so that you may know you have eternal life.” The phrase “may know” refers to absolute knowledge that is based on experience. Based on your experiences with God’s Word, God’s people, and your interactions with God’s Spirit you see God at work in your life and because of that you “know” without doubt that you are a child of God. Then just to emphasize the point the phrase “you have” refers to a permanent possession of something. This is not a transient, on and off possession, but a constant possession. What is it that God wants you to have absolute knowledge of that you presently and permanently possess? Eternal life!

That’s the power of God’s Word and that’s why you need to be in His Word every day or at least every week. God has a lot of important things to tell you about Him, you, and those in your life. One of those things is you belong to Him and no one or nothing can take you from His hands. If you ever feel like you are doubting your salvation ask yourself this question, “Have I been in the Word of God much lately?” If not, that may be the reason doubts have started slipping in.

In the Confirmation Test God uses His Spirit and His Word to confirm and affirm inside you that you belong to Him. Listen to His voice inside of you, He will speak to you.

Assurance of Salvation

Commandment Test

Companion Test

Confirmation Test


your life as it relates to God’s Word


your life as it relates to God’s people


your life as it relates to God’s Spirit

Ask the question,

“Does the direction and decisions of your life reflect someone who desires God’s Word and obeys it?”

Ask the question,

“Do you love other believers and want to be with them to encourage them?

Ask the question,

“Do you sense the Spirit’s confirmation in your heart that you are a follower of Jesus?”

Evidence that you are saved:

I read, study, and listen to God’s Word being taught in order to apply it to my life. I genuinely have a hunger for God’s Word.


Evidence that you are saved:

I demonstrate my love for the believers by wanting to be with them in order to  encourage, forgive, accept, serve, teach, restore, honor and motivate them in the things of God.

Evidence that you are saved:

I know the gospel of Jesus is true in my life because God’s Spirit and God’s Word has convinced me so.


2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test [appraise, assess, evaluate] yourselves” (NLT).