Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078

Do You Know You're Saved I

In Matthew 7 we read that Jesus said some who believe themselves to be saved are going to be surprised to learn that they in fact are not (Matthew 7: 21 - 23). How terrible would that be, to go through life believing you're in good shape spiritually only to some day stand before the throne of God and discover that you were wrong? That may sound like a rhetorical question, but it deserves an answer nonetheless. So I'll tell you how terrible that will be.

Many of those very same people that Jesus was referring to do not believe that there is any such place as Hell, by which they mean the Lake of Fire. But scripture tells us quite explicitly that there really is a Lake of Fire, prepared for Satan and his demons, and that every man not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into that Lake of Fire (Revelation 20: 11 - 15). That's how terrible it will be for those people who have deceived themselves into believing they're spiritually okay when they are not. They will spend eternity in that Lake of Fire.

Well, this immediately begs the question, can we know for sure that we are saved? Clearly it's possible to be wrong, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to be right. So can we know for sure that we're saved, and if so how? Of course the answer is yes, and as always, by turning to scripture.

In the first of John's three epistles we read that he wrote "these things" precisely so that we may know that we have eternal life (I John 5: 13). So as a starting point from which to seek our answers, let's consider this verse carefully. In particular, I want to emphasize a few points.

Consider the phrase translated herein (and elsewhere too) as "believe on the name of the Son of God." The phrase means so much more than just to intellectually accept something as true. It certainly means to believe something is true, but implicit in this phrase is the idea of reposing on something. In other words, it carries the idea that something is foundational, upon which all else rests. This is why the phrase is commonly translated "believe on," instead of "believe in," despite the added awkwardness the translation brings to English. In any case, this is the difference between believing on something, and simply believing in something.

Still, let's take care not to overlook just what it is that we are to believe on. Note that John didn't write to those who "...believe on Jesus...." Instead, he wrote to those who "... believe on the name ..." of Jesus. Now think about what Jesus' names mean. In this verse John actually calls Jesus "the Son of God," so certainly to believe on His name is to believe that He in fact is the Son of God. But don't forget His other names.

The name Jesus is transliterated from the Hebrew Joshua (pronounced Yeshua). Indeed, Joshua and Jesus are the same name, and they both mean "Jehovah is Salvation." So, to believe on the name of Jesus is to believe that God is Salvation. Furthermore, Jesus was called Immanuel which means God with us (Isaiah 7: 14; Matthew 1: 23). Thus, to believe on the name of Jesus means to believe that He truly is God with us.

And before we go on, let's pause to note that John said he wrote "these things." What things? What did he write to those of us who believe on the name of Jesus, who rest all that we are and hope to be on the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is Salvation, and that He is God with us? What did John write to reassure us in that belief? Bear in mind that John did not subdivide his letters (i.e. epistles) into chapters and verses. He wrote the entire epistle as a single letter to be read as a whole. And so this is my final point from this verse, that "these things" are the whole epistle. Thus, in order to know with certainty that we are saved, we need to study the whole book.

Matthew 7: 21 - 23    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Revelation 20: 11 - 15    And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

I John 5: 13    These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Isaiah 7: 14    Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1: 23    23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.