How Can You Be Sure 
of Your Salvation Status?

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If you are trying to obtain or maintain your salvation status based on your performance, you have yet to believe the gospel. A believer in Christ has given up the idea that by his performance he can obtain the righteousness of God. As Paul writes

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4,5
Rather he has put his faith in God's grace alone to save him.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:8,9
To the believer, though having a hopeful anticipation of going to heaven, yet even now reckons himself to have already died and passed through the judgement.
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24
HOWEVER, the promises concerning eternal life are only applicable to those who actually believe. The quality of faith that God requires for justification to be applied is not trivial. It is not a sort of "experiment" belief or wavering opinion characteristic of those who fall away, but an unwavering conviction as Paul describes, giving the example of Abraham:
"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Rom 4:20,21
And so though a Christian may say to the world and to himself that he believes in Christ, how does he know whether he believes with the quality of faith that saves? It is with this uncertainty that Paul warns the Corinthians.
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5
As does Peter:
"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." 2Peter 1:10
How can a Christian measure his salvation status?
How can he be certain about his election?

Though a believer is completely confident in the promise of God, yet in determining his salvation status, there is a measure of uncertainty. For it is based on a relative measurement of his outward behavior. And though a person's salvation status has a huge effect on a person's ultimate destiny and standing before God, yet it may only have a subtle effect on his behavior. However, in the extreme cases, one can speak with more certainty about a person's salvation status. Examples:


"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2Tim 4:7,8

1Thess 1:3-8 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,

because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia— your faith in God has become known everywhere.
"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10

However, most Christian's behavior falls somewhere in between these extremes. More often I find it more common to disqualify those who merely claim to be "Christians" to be Christians in name only because their behavior and convictions are so contrary to what the Bible teaches. These are in a class I call "nominal Christians". Of these, the apostates are those with totally unchristlike behavior. Such are mentioned in Jude, 2Peter 2 and 1John 2:19 where they are referred to as "They".
Nominal Christians
Christians born of God







Nominal Christians

Christians born of God

In this way, the more Christlike a Christian's behavior, the more certain he is of his salvation status. Jesus said "You shall know them by their fruit". These are some characteristics whereby you may measure your salvation status:


Obedience to God's commands Subjective feelings produced by the Holy Spirit Agrees with the Bible Understands the Bible Persevering Faith Confident Faith Bears "Fruit" Does not live a lifestyle of sin
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources