By Bob Walters
Christian believers spend a lot of time wondering whether they are “really saved.”
The unsatisfying answer is … there is no way to “know,” at least not like that.
Not if we are demanding answers from God. Not if we are focused on our own needs. Not if we are measuring our estimable good works against God’s perfect grace. Not if we imagine that our salvation in Christ is some sort of transaction, trade or competitive status symbol. Not if we think God owes us an explanation. Not if we are challenging God to hold up His end of the “deal.” Not if we insist on an answer right this minute or else accuse God of fraud.
That’s the wrong entry to the topic; it’s the worldly door of me-first, off-point, give-me-something-in-return religion. It amounts to defining God in our image and tantamount to imagining that we carry managerial status in the Kingdom of God.
Salvation doesn’t come from God answering our questions; salvation comes from our having faith in God. It’s a point the Bible makes repeatedly:
“Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you, go in peace.’”(Luke 7:50),
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Paul in Romans 10:10),
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Paul in Ephesians 2:8),
“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:39).
Faith, you’ll notice, provides the answer to the question, “Am I saved?” If I trust God that I am, and have faith that I am, then I am, because that’s what the Bible says.
And really, the question should not be, “Am I saved?” The question should be, “Do I trust God’s faithfulness?” If we put Jesus first, and if we put our neighbor first – truly, truly put them first (Luke 10:27) – then we won’t have the time, the inclination or the need to check on our soteriological status. We’ll already be living the Kingdom life.
Remember, it’s not enough to merely “believe” – even Satan believes in Jesus (Matthew 4), but Satan is out for his own glory, not God’s. We must love, worship, glorify, trust, and as best we can, obey God. This is where our joy in the Lord resides.
On the cross, Jesus did the heavy lifting of salvation. For His sake, He did His job well.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) notes that many people who argue about salvation don’t really believe in salvation.