Do You Feel Saved?
Guest Author: Jonathan Jones We all have good days and bad. This is also true of our personal relationships with God. But we must remember that feelings are not the basis of our salvation. Our salvation is based upon God’s promises. When I rely on my feelings, I am trusting in myself. When I do well, I feel saved. When I don’t do well, I feel lost. But just because I feel a certain way, that does not mean it is actually the case. Feelings are not a sure indicator of reality.
We must be consistently reminded that we are not saved “by our own doing” but by “the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation is not the result of our own moral performance record. If it were, we would have no hope. No one is able to be “righteous” all of the time (Rom. 3:10-12). If I have broken even one of God’s laws, I am guilty of them all (Gal. 5:3; Js. 2:10). So I cannot rely upon my “own righteousness.” My only hope is the “righteousness of God” given as a gift and received by faith (Rom. 3:21-25). I cannot be saved by my own “power” so I must rely upon the “power of God” (Rom. 1:16-17).
Sometimes we have really bad days as Christians. We feel the weight of our own inadequacies and failings. Like David, I may feel that “my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3). We know the constant struggle of trying to do what is right but constantly failing to live up to the standard. We should be able to relate to Paul’s confession, “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:18-19). In those moments of weakness, we may be tempted to feel lost. But Paul reminds us with strong language: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Rom. 8:1). My failures may make me feel lost, but the truth of the matter is that I am saved, no matter how I feel! Salvation is based upon God’s promises not upon my feelings.
Certainly there is a sense in which we should “feel” our salvation. Trusting in God’s marvelous promises of forgiveness and salvation should solicit an emotional response. I should feel the “joy of my salvation” (Ps. 51:12). The emotion of joyfulness should accompany the promises of God. While I should have a “feeling” based upon God’s promises, my personal “feelings” are not the basis of my salvation.
So how can I know that I am saved? Paul says that the person who is “in Christ” is not condemned (Rom. 8:1). Initially, we surrender our lives in belief when we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). To remain in this saved condition, I must remain “in Christ.” That is, I must continue to believe and place my trust in Him. The saving power of Jesus’ blood is initially received and maintained in the Christian’s life by placing faith “in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:24-26). It is possible for a person to abandon their trust and belief in Christ, return to an “unbelieving heart” and thus fall away from the living God (Heb. 3:12). A believing heart that trusts in God’s gift of righteousness is the key to knowing you are saved. If I begin to trust in my own religious and moral performance, I actually can “fall from grace” (Gal. 5:1-6). I can “fall from grace” when I start trusting in what I do, rather than humbling relying upon what Christ has done for me.
Not only are we initially saved by God’s grace, but we also stay saved by God’s grace. I cannot initially save myself by my own “works done in righteousness” (Titus 3:5). Neither can I maintain my salvation by my works. Being saved and staying saved are both by God’s grace received by faith (a believing heart).
S.H. Hall wrote a book in 1931 called Scripture Studies published by Gospel Advocate. In this work, Hall asks a probing question, “Can we be faithful in spite of imperfections?” His answer was yes. He explains that faithfulness is not perfection or sinless law-keeping. He defined faithfulness as “yearning in [the] heart to do it right.” The one who is “most faithful” is not the one who works the most (or best), but the one who yearns the most.
Assurance of your salvation is not based upon your performance. It is not based upon how you feel. It is based upon trusting the promises of God. It is based upon faith—taking God at his word. If God has promised that those “in Christ” are not condemned, who am I to question that?
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