There is a question that has entered the minds of every believer. It arises in seemingly mundane moments or strikes when shame makes its unwelcomed call. Am I really a Christian? For some of us, this question appears but we quickly dismiss it or don’t give it much thought. But for others, this question can haunt us throughout our day and keep us awake at night.
The question of whether or not we are a believer is a good question to ask, but it is a question that can send us into a frenzy if we are not careful. Assurance of our salvation is something we all desire as believers, and thankfully, God’s Word gives it to us. God’s Word give us assurance of salvation. Therefore, we must go to God’s Word and cling to His Word. While Scripture has much to say to give us assurance, Scripture gives us these two answers to the question: how do I know I’m a Christian?
You are a Christian if you trust and believe in Jesus Christ
Acts 4:12 declares, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Jesus also teaches that He is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Belief in Jesus Christ is essential to our salvation. If we do not believe in Jesus, we do not know Jesus as our Savior. After all, how can we be in a relationship with someone who we don’t believe in?
God’s Word tells us that Jesus is the Son of God who came to us, died for us, and rose from the grave. To be saved, we must believe in these essential truths. These basic but foundational aspects of our salvation are extremely important. If we look to anything or anyone other than Jesus for our salvation, we won’t find it.
Salvation is given to us by Christ’s grace through our faith in Him. So in answering the question about our salvation, we can ask ourselves: Do I believe Jesus is God? Do I believe that He came to die for my sins and rose from the grave? Do I believe that through Christ I am forgiven and given life eternal? If we can answer these questions with a yes, then we can be assured that we are believers.
Yet, it is important to remember that struggling with doubts sometimes over who Christ is and what He has done for us is normal. After all, it is a beautiful but also mind-blowing reality that God Himself came to us, took on flesh, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. But we don’t have to allow these doubts to cause us to panic over our faith in Christ. Instead, we can bring our doubts to the Lord and ask that He strengthen our faith in Him.
You are a Christian if you are daily putting off sin and walking in obedience
“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” This is the question Paul asks in Romans 6:2, and it is an important question. Paul answers this question in Romans 6:3–5 by reminding us of what Christ has done for us. If we are in Christ, we have been brought from death to life. Our old selves have been crucified, and we have new selves that live for the Lord.
Because Christ has made us new, we no longer live as we once lived. We no longer live in sin or delight in sin. Instead, we daily put off sin by turning away from sin and pursuing obedience to Christ. We do this daily because of our sinful flesh.
In Christ, we are set free from our sins, but we still struggle against sin. We will still stumble in our obedience to God as believers and give into sin. But the mark of a genuine believer is continuously fighting against sin, through the power of the Spirit, and seeking to be obedient to the Lord. Part of daily putting off sin and walking in obedience is confessing our sins to God. True believers will bring their sins to God, knowing that they receive forgiveness from Him (1 John 1:9). But those who deny their sin or walk in a pattern of continual unrepentance are likely not true believers (1 John 1:8).
Rest in the assurance God’s Word gives you
Often, the question of the validity of our salvation can appear after we mess up in our obedience to God. It can be easy to wonder if we are truly saved because of our mistakes or our battle against sin. But this is where our faith in Christ comes in. In the moments we feel ashamed about our sins, we can rest in Christ’s grace. We can remember that Christ has taken on all of our sins on the cross and cleared our guilt. As we rest in these truths, shame will dissolve and will be replaced not only with peace but assurance.
Again, God’s Word has much more to say to give us assurance. I would encourage you to take some time to read what Scripture says about the truths of our salvation if you have any doubts over your assurance. Also, don’t underestimate the power of prayer. If you are struggling with questions about your salvation, go to God in prayer. Ask Him to give you peace and assurance and to remind you of what you know and believe. And if going to God’s Word and coming to God in prayer reveals that you do not truly know God, it’s not too late to place your faith in Him.
When we believe in the gospel, our lives are changed and our eternity with Christ rests secure no matter what.
Additional resources on assurance of salvation
I Keep Messing Up. Will God Keep Forgiving Me?