Yesterday, I was looking through an old Bible that I received from my grandma when I was thirteen years old. In the front of the Bible, I had written a few notes to myself. Here is what I had written:
Thad Saved -- November 17, 1979
Thad Baptized -- February 22, 1987
What a coincidence that today is November 17th. Okay, let's get real for a minute. For some people, that date is a really big deal. For some people, they have the certificate hanging on the wall in their house that tells them the date they were saved. But I don't. Honestly, I don't remember much about it. I would not have known it was that day unless I saw it in the Bible. All I know about that day was what my mom has told me about it. We were driving to school on the highway. I was scared of going to hell when I died. She wanted to wait until we got to school and talk, but I was afraid she might wreck the car, so I made her pull over to the side of the road (I guess even back then I thought she was a bad driver). I was six years old and did not fully grasp the realities of the gospel in my life.
That doesn't mean I wasn't converted at that age. I might have been. But just because I have written in my Bible that I was saved that day doesn't mean that I was. What I do know is that it was between my Jr. & Sr. year of high school that things really started to click for me spiritually. But I was always sensitive to my sin before that time. I don't know when it happened, but here is what I do know: I know that today I am saved! You see, while it is cool to find a Bible with the date like that in it. My assurance and my confidence is not on that date. My assurance of my salvation is confirmed in my present life, not my past. In fact, I would argue that any real assurance of salvation is based upon three equally important aspects of our lives. And all three must be working in harmony with each other if we are going to have full assurance of our salvation.
The Word of God
Do I believe what the Bible has to say about salvation? Is my confidence in the God of the Bible? Do I believe salvation is by faith alone through Jesus alone by His grace alone? I must have the foundation understanding of salvation correct.
The Witness of the Spirit
Is the Spirit of God working and confirming in my heart that I am indeed saved? This is very subjective, but do I know because I know. The Scriptures say, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). One of the roles of the Spirit of God is to confirm upon our heart our desire and passion for Him.
The Walk of Obedience
Is my life progressively making strides towards holiness? Am I growing? The purpose of the book of First John is to test our assurance in the walk of obedience. Do we keep His commandments? Do we love one another? Do we practice righteousness? I think I could summarize it by saying, "are we growing in our faith?"
Now, just because you do not have one of these three present in your life does not mean you are not saved. But it might mean that you should stop to test yourself to see if your faith is real (2 Corinthians 13:5). Please do not just trust some prayer you prayed 32 years ago (as in my case). Please look at your current life and hold the Scriptures up as a mirror to your life.