Assurance of Salvation

  • Jeff Crotts

By the time you are reading this blog post I have already preached the sum and substance I am about to write. In my sermon a few weeks ago, for my conclusion I took a few moments to pastor our congregation in the matter of having the assurance of salvation.

The longer I have pastored at Anchorage Grace Church I am increasingly aware of congregants who come to our worship services and hear me preach and yet remain in a state of paralysis over their poor spiritual condition. These are dear people, often young adults, who faithfully arrive Sunday morning in the aftermath of worldly living and general carousing from just the night before.

Feelings of guilt and defeat create a pall over someone’s conscience, casting a striking contradiction between the desire to experience Christian joy while carrying self-induced anxiety. There is real frustration that builds from patterns of falling back into sins believed to have been a thing of the past. Vicious cycles of sinning, now believed inescapable, multiply guilt through repeated sin patterns. Instead of these patterns being repented of, they become the rational for sinning more.

Someone’s attitude might be expressed through exasperation in a statement like, “Oh well, I’ve already compromised, so why not do it again?” Assuredly, this kind of thinking only promises to make things much worse. The Bible is clear that when you sow in the flesh, you will reap harmful outcomes (cf. Gal. 6:7-9). Sins like fornication violate another person, their body, and their heart and these sins leave scars on both involved. Repentance and restoration is always the Bible’s solution. The opposite of dealing with sin directly is the world’s recipe to escape to experience more temporary pleasure that backfires to leave a deeper well of personal emptiness. Pleasure based on lust instead of love is defined as taking rather than giving. Love of course can be defined as mutual sharing, self-sacrifice, and friendship which flow from Christ, which is in direct contrast to the buzz of worldly appetites which flow from the flesh.

The fruit of the flesh might seem attractive on the surface, but the untold story is not only personal guilt but often leaving people with physical maladies. Though children are always a blessing, unexpected pregnancies outside of the context of being married is very complicating, leaving people to ask, “What should I do now?” The answer is to turn to Christ who gave you this precious child and to seek loving support from other Christians (hopefully being grounded in a godly church) where you can consider how this child can be nurtured and loved in a godly family. With the Lord’s help, facing this life circumstance, though it may be difficult, is not hopeless and can actually be an amazing blessing.

Yet still, if you are involved in a sin cycle (like fornication) and want to escape it, let me offer some guidance from God’s Word to lead you to make some practical considerations. I want you to take a quick five-question diagnostic test based on a five-chapter book of the Bible. Does this sound like it’s too much? I promise it is not and will be worth your time to lift you out of your discouraging slump. To make this exercise as simple as possible, I will provide a link where I preached this five-minute conclusion as the end of my sermon. That way you can pull up what I said to follow the Bible passages and look them up and think about them at your own pace.

Before you click on the link, let me set the stage for this New Testament book called 1 John. It is best understood in terms of where it ends. 1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you that you might know you have eternal life.” It is here that the Apostle John, in his final chapter, invites his readers to apply everything preceding up to that point in the book. John’s brief, practical letter should be read as a personal test, so by taking it, you come out knowing and having the real assurance of your salvation.

What is promised in having this assurance is nothing less than feeling relief by knowing with certainty that you are God’s child. Being God’s child, like being anyone’s child, can bring an upside and a downside, where through the journey of life, your personal choices both bless and disappoint parents. So, there are temporary joys and temporary losses but what makes the difference in a relationship like this is knowing that you are loved unconditionally. You may or may not have this assurance with a living parent, but you can have this with God.

Knowing and having this kind of assurance with God is dynamic and personal. Qualitatively different than possessing a mere insurance policy like so many naïve Christians claim to have with God. Opposed to that mindset, what John speaks of as “believing” relates to knowing God personally and, more importantly, being known by God (cf. 1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9). Knowing and having parents who really care about you is far more reassuring than being in contract in terms of a signed agreement, locked away in a fireproof safe, where “your house might burn down but you won’t lose everything.” Instead, assurance with God relates to deep, personal joy, not working through some kind of spiritual negotiation where you are secure by way of a past prayer commitment you made with God.

Now it is time to take the test by asking yourself five questions. These questions come right out of the flow of reading the five chapters of 1 John. It is worth your time to work to hit the target aim that these questions pose.

Link to 3/17/24 sermon conclusion:


  1. Do you believe God is holy and confess personal sin? [1 John 1]
  2. Do you love the world or fellow believers? [1 John 2]
  3. Do you trust the true Christ and true Gospel or do you trust a false gospel? [1 John 2]
  4. Do you want Jesus to return? [1 John 3]
  5. Is your life moving toward or away from Jesus? [1 John 4-5]