Was I really saved?
Salvation can be like buying a new electronic gadget. At first, it's exciting, but soon you get confused and frustrated as you try to make it work. You might have trouble reading the instructions or, despite your best effort, you can't understand the guy at tech support, and it seems easier to give up on the shiny new thing and return to the old comfortable one.
When we first give our lives to Jesus, it seems simple. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose on the third day, and lives in heaven to reign forever. He loves us and wants us to have a blessed life with Him. We get that and want that. We believe and accept it. And then somehow, we get confused and frustrated, and our lives seem a bit out of control. We fall back into old habits and our lives are anything but blessed. And we start to wonder, “Was that salvation experience real?”
Then we hear a sermon that seems preached just for us, and we feel the need to “rededicate” our lives to Jesus. Those feelings we had before resurface — that excitement and peace, that desire to love and please Jesus, that enthusiasm for the church and the people we meet. But after a while, it all starts happening again — the confusion, frustration, and sense that we have lost control. What is going on? Have I lost my salvation?
What does it mean to be saved?
In a nutshell, Galatians 2:20.
There are two other things that may be helpful for you to know.
1. Salvation is of God, not man. Salvation was God's idea. He sent Jesus to show us who He is and how to get to Him. Jesus searches us out and draws us to Him, each and every one of us, for He wants us to have abundant and eternal life (John 6:35-40).
2. Salvation is a gift freely given that we may accept or reject (Revelation 3:20).
All we have to do to accept that gift is confess Jesus as Lord and believe He did what is recorded: that He died, was buried, and rose again (Romans 10:9-10). If you can do that, you are saved — period.
How can I be sure my salvation experience was real?
Everyone's experience is different, but it doesn't make it less authentic.
Maybe you were a child who loved Jesus and understood Him as a friend who loved you. You wanted Him to be with you all the time and do what He said.
Maybe you were a teen who recognized the horrible death Jesus suffered and realized what it meant to have your savior die for your sins, and you wanted to love and serve Him.
Maybe you were an adult who acknowledged Him after a life of running or meeting Him for the first time. However you met Him, you confessed past sin, repented, and accepted the gift of salvation.
Maybe your experience was totally different from any of these. The bottom line: If at any time you have asked Jesus into your heart, repented of your sin, and accepted His gift of forgiveness, you are saved.
What about my doubts?
“If that is true,” you say, “why do I feel this unrest, this periodic need, this confusion, frustration, that I must rededicate my life when I've not measured up to what I feel Jesus is expecting me to do — to what I know I've been supposed to be doing?” Welcome to the family of God and the realization and conviction of sin.
The Bible tells us that salvation comes through faith, there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it (Romans 3:21-27). If there is nothing we can do to earn salvation, there is nothing we can do to lose salvation. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only thing that saves us, and that secures us with God forever.
Helpful and encouraging verses:
James 4:7-8. He will supply you each day with what is needed if you are following Him.
Philippians 1:6. He talks to us through the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16-17. We talk to Him through prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7. Our anxiety decreases and our effectiveness and peace increases in direct proportion to our drawing close to Him.