Permit me to begin this article by stating it is not about Disney's darling Movie "Enchanted" or Amy Adams who portrayed the quintessential fairytale princess in it. However, the title of the catchy song in this movie "That's How You Know" seemed to be a good way to introduce this blog.
This article is about is knowing if you are saved, born again, born from above, a Christian, etc. Have you ever doubted your salvation or perhaps have known someone that doubted their salvation? Perhaps Satan has "enchanted" you to doubt your salvation or convinced you to attempt to earn the free gift of salvation. (Galatians 3:1-5) Well then, this article is for you!
1. To be saved, you must first realize you are hopelessly lost and in desperate need of saving.
You must realize you are lost before you can be found. That is, you must realize you need a Savior before you pursue Him. The original sin occurred when Eve and then Adam ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. (1) This resulted in the "throwing down" or fall of creation. The entire creation plummeted from its perfect state of being in harmony with God. Everything fell, including the spirit of mankind which died to result in the loss of intimacy with God that he was created to enjoy.
Consequently, we have all "missed the mark" or sinned. That is the mark of being perfectly holy and incapable of sinning like God.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NET)
There once was a scorpion that desired to cross a river. Seeing a duck, he asked if it would be willing to carry him across on its back. The duck stated that he would not carry the scorpion because it would sting him and he would drown. The scorpion then reminded the duck that if he drowned, then it would, too. Reluctantly, the duck allowed the scorpion on its back and headed across the river. About halfway across the river, the scorpion proceeded to sting the duck. While dying the duck asked the scorpion why did it sting since they will now both die? The scorpion replied, "it is part of my nature to sting."
Similarly, lost humanity sins because it is part of their nature, their fallen nature. Sin pays a minimum wage of death. (Romans 6:23) Death of relationships, prosperity, peace, health, etc. Ultimately, spiritual death or separation from God that dooms us to temporary confinement in a place called Hell. (Luke 16:22,23) After the Great White Throne of Judgment, the lost will be sentenced to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, the second death. (Revelations 20:14,15)
But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers. (Isaiah 59:2 NET)
For the payoff of sin is death (Romans 6:23a NET)
But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15 NET)
Again, it only took one sin to cause the fall of everything and mankind's separation from God. Furthermore, it only takes one sin in our lives to be separated from God, and we sin routinely. As a minimum, we sin in our spiritual hearts and minds with evil thoughts (e.g., lust).
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matthew 15:19 NET)
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28 NET)
Consequently, the reality is that our sins are beyond numbering and ever increasing! What hope do we have? Are we simply doomed? Who can fix this debacle?
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned– (Romans 5:12 NET)
Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24 NET)
For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. (2 Corinthians 5:14 NET)
That is, all of us have died spiritually meaning all of us need Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
2. Next, believe the fact that Jesus Christ has paid the price for the original sin and all our sins and intentionally receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior!
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25a NET)
For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19 NET)
Jesus willingly allowed the Jews to condemn Him and the Romans to crucify Him. In so doing He conquered the power of sin and death. Consequently, all that realize they need saving call upon Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord they will be saved. (Acts 2:21)
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 NET)
Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NET)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NET)
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31 NET)
Jesus is the only way back to the Father God, the only way to be saved, born again, born from above, etc. Because He alone died to pay for the sins of the world! As a result, salvation is offered to all without distinction but not without exception. That is, salvation is offered to all that choose (1) to believe in and follow Jesus without partiality or discrimination.
Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NET)
(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NET)
For the scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:11-13 NET)
because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. (Romans 10:9,10 NET)
When we have believed with our heart (i.e., not just our mind) our spirit is regenerated, our spiritual heart is made sensitive to God again, and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, comes to dwell in our spirit. Resultantly, the connection between God and man that was lost in the Garden of Eden is re-established. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is legally imputed to us making it as if we have never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). Going forward when we sin, and we will, if we confess them God forgives them and cleanses us from their effects. This does not imply that He removes the consequences of our sins, but He will remove the footholds and strongholds the enemy has gained in our lives through the sin(s). (1 John 1:9) That is, He will deliver us from the evil one! (Matthew 6:13. John 17:15).
With the Holy Spirit inside our spirit and a sensitive, spiritual heart, we will begin to desire holiness in our life. Consequentially, we begin the sanctification process where we learn to appropriate the victory of Jesus over every temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit residing inside our renewed spirits. This results in a decreasing propensity for sin in our lives over time. The more we are obedient to deny temptation and obey God the more we mature spiritually. The more we mature in Christ Jesus, the stronger the desire to be holy becomes (1 John 2:3-6).
Instead of being motivated to obey God out of duty or obeying rules and laws we are now motivated by the love of Christ Jesus filling our spiritual hearts to serve and obey Him.
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. (Titus 2:11-14 NET)
That is, we do no longer religiously obey Him because we "got to" but rather relationally because we "get to." Consequently, we have been returned to the original plan and relationship between God and man before the fall in the Garden of Eden. Realize that salvation is not by your works because you cannot earn your salvation. (2)
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NET)
The journey of being transformed into the image of Christ from glory to glory has many false starts and dead ends as brilliantly depicted in "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. However, the more we spend time in His presence experiencing His love the more we will be transformed. (2 Corinthians 3:18. Philippians 2:13. 2 Corinthians 1:21).
3. Lastly, look for signs in your life that you are saved.
Do you desire things that are true, respectable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or praiseworthy? (Philippians 4:8) Do you desire to meditate on and practice God's Word? (Psalms 119:15,27,48,148)
"If you love me, you will obey my commandments. (John 14:15)
Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. The one who says "I have come to know God" and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. (1 John 2:3-6 NET)
And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us. (1 John 3:24)
By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13)
By this we know that we love the children of God: whenever we love God and obey his commandments. (1 John 5:2)
Do you see a decreasing tendency of sin in your life? While Christians sin, we do not live a lifestyle characterized by sin. Unregenerated humanity cannot help but sin due to the fallen Adamic nature; however, after salvation, we sin as a free choice (1).
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 ESV)
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18 ESV)
I am not referring to addictive strongholds that we repeatedly give into and as a Christian, we hate, have immediate remorse, and no peace having given into the sin until we repent. These strongholds, (1) that we brought into our lives, can be used by God to shape us into the image of Christ as we struggle against them in His power (2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Romans 8:28,29). What I am referring to is not having a desire for the things of God but rather the sinful things of the world. (2 Timothy 4:10)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15,16 NET)
Does it seem that you never get away with sins? Well, that is a good indicator that you are one of God's children. If you are genuinely born again, then you will not be able to get away with a thing! (1 Peter 4:17)
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts." Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. (Hebrews 12:6-8 NET)
Be keenly aware that just as a parent disciplines his child, the LORD your God disciplines you. (Deuteronomy 8:5)
I will become his father and he will become my son. When he sins, I will correct him with the rod of men and with wounds inflicted by human beings. (2 Samuel 7:14)
Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8 NET)
However, you may get away with sin for a season as God gives you time to repent. Nevertheless, some have interpreted this as God's approval of their sin and continue in it until their conscience is seared to the point that they feel no remorse. (Psalms 50:21. Ecclesiastes 8:11. Romans 2:4. 1 Timothy 4:1,2) This is a very dangerous condition to be in for a Christian.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19,20 NET)
Have you been surprised by the Christlike behavior that has manifested in your life? Perhaps words come out of your mouth that sounded more like Jesus than you? Maybe you supernaturally held your tongue when you wanted to give someone a piece of your mind (Matthew 12:33. James 3:12)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25 NET)
Perhaps you would say that you know all about the story of Jesus and that you believe there is one God. (James 2:19)
My oldest son enjoys going to conventions to meet and have his picture taken with celebrities. I have accompanied him on some of these photo ops and they were fun! I can say that I have met some celebrities and can even quote facts about their career and even some of their lives as revealed on the Internet. I could spend some time relating all of this information to the delight of many. However, the reality is that I do not know any celebrities intimately nor do I have a relationship with them. Unfortunately, many have the same level of knowing Jesus. He is a celebrity that they can discuss to some degree, but they do not have an intimate relationship with Him as their personal Savior and Lord.
If you do not see any of the signs described in Part 3, "That's How You Know" above then I would recommend seeking the Lord Jesus (1) for Him to become your personal Savior and Lord.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven– only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!' (Matthew 7:21-23 NET)
Note in the passage above that the person has "we" faith and not "me" faith. For example, did "we" not all go to church, did "we" not all go down to the front of the church during the invitation, did "we" not all get baptized, did "we" not all... Juxtaposed to: did I not I cast out demons and do many powerful deeds or better: Did I not accept you as my personal Savior and Lord? Again, works, even signs and wonders, will not save you. I believe the person doing the talking in this passage had not cast out any demons nor performed any powerful deeds but rather was with a crowd that did, similar to Judas who was one of the twelve apostles and the one that betrayed Jesus. (John 6:64,70,71. John 17:12) Being in the right crowd may lead to your salvation; however, it will not save you.
Nevertheless, if you do see the signs but have doubt then take those rejection (1) thoughts captive and rejoice in the Sovereign Lord Jesus your Savior! Your assurance of salvation is not by your feelings because feelings are fleeting. What is your assurance of salvation? The promise of God’s Word. If God says it, that settles it, because God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). You can trust and rest in the promise of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus replied to the criminal hanging on the cross:
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43 NET)
Your assurance of salvation is the same: God’s promise that you will be in Heaven with him one day if you believe!. (3)
That's How You Know!
(1) Left click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.