Saved? Prove it…

I was recently challenged to prove that I was saved. To be honest, the only thing that really came to mind were two songs: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, The B-I-B-L-E” and “Jesus loves me! He who died, Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.” These both seem like pretty simplistic answers to a seemingly basic question. But as I thought about it more I wondered if just pointing to the Bible was all that was really required to prove my status as a child of God. This then leads to the question:

What are the Biblical “proofs” of one’s salvation?

Theologically

The main proof, since we were utterly incapable of performing what was necessary to gain salvation, is not in what we have done but in what Christ has accomplished in our place. Salvation is found in one person: Jesus Christ – Hebrews 12:2 “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Christ’s work recorded in the New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 17 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Everything regarding our salvation hinges on Christ and Christ alone. The question of one’s salvation dwells almost completely in the immaterial, spiritual realm, with Christ purchasing the justification of our sins before God. Hence 2 Corinthians 5:7 states “for we walk by faith, not by sight,” and we trust the work of Christ, which is unseen today, as the main proof  for salvation. But this does not erase the fact that we do operate and have responsibilities in this physical world in which we live. This then leads to some practical elements…

Practically

Attempting to transfer a spiritual reality into a tangible physicality is not simple, but neither is it complicated. James challenges all who hold to the Christian faith in James 2:18 by noting: “I will show you my faith by my works.” Jame’s statement here is not promoting a works-based righteousness, but rather advocating that the “fruit” of a saved life is manifested in visible works evidencing the changed condition of the heart. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus informs his disciples that “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” There is an element of self denial, as well as an association with the suffering Christ endured while physically present on earth. The centrality with which Christians are to emphasize Christ is also seen in Galatians 6:14 “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The demeanor of Christian living should be characterized by a genuine humility that deflects all glory towards Christ. Another critical element is brought out in 1 John 3:10 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” The issue that some might take with John here is that he seems to presents sinlessness as inherent to proper Christian living.  John is not advocating sinlessness, but rather a habitual practice of putting off  the old sinful lifestyle, and replacing it with  a true love motivated by a relationship with Christ.

So these are my initial thoughts as to how one can prove their salvation. All of these elements need to be present. Because of our imperfection the practical elements come and go as indicators to how much we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. But the theological element is completely established in the work of Christ. This is always present, never failing, and is what we can trust, whether at our initial turn to God, or at some later moment of our Christian living.  Christ is the only thing we can ever turn to, at any point of time to always prove that we are saved. Because “…the Bible tells me so.”

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One Response to “Saved? Prove it…”

  1. Frank Martens Says:

    Someone (an old college friend) asked me a similar question last year but in regards to their own salvation. Instantly that song popped into my head and I explained to him that even though the song was simple and aimed at children, there were HUGE theological truths behind it, emphasis being on God’s Word as our sure foundation for pointing us to our salvation.

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