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How To Succeed In The Christian Life
Lesson Three

by R. A. Torrey

Assurance Of Salvation

If one is to have the fullest measure of joy and power in Christian service, he must know that his sins are forgiven, that he is a child of God, and that he has eternal life.  It is the believer's privilege to KNOW that he has eternal life.  John says in 1 John 5:13. R.V.,

"These things have I written unto you, that you may know that you have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God."

John wrote this first epistle for the express purpose that any one who believes on the name of the Son of God might know that he as eternal life.

There are those who tell us that no one can know that he has eternal life until he is dead and has been before the judgment seat of God, but God Himself tells us that we may know.  To deny the possibility of the believer's knowing that he has eternal life is to say that the First Epistle of John was written in vain, and it is to insult the Holy Spirit who is its real Author.  Again Paul tells us in Acts 13:39, R.V.,

"By Him [that is by Christ] everyone that believes is justified from all things."

So everyone that believes in Jesus may know that he is justified from all things.  He may know it because the Word of God says so.  Again John tells us in John 1:12, R.V.,

"But as many as received Him [that is Jesus Christ] to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name."

Here is a definite and unmistakable declaration that everyone who receives Jesus becomes a child of God.  Therefore every believer in Jesus may know that he is a child of God.  He may know it on the surest of all grounds, i.e., because the Word of God asserts that he is a child of God.

But how may any individual know that he has eternal life?  He may know it on the very best ground of knowledge, that is through the testimony of God Himself as given in the Bible.  The testimony of Scripture is the testimony of God.  What the Scriptures say is absolutely sure.  What the Scriptures say, God says.  Now in John 3:36 the Scriptures say,

"He that believes on the Son has everlasting life."

Anyone of us may know whether we believe on the Son or not.  Whether we have that real faith in Christ that leads us to receive Him.  If we have this faith in Christ we have God's own written testimony that we have eternal life, that our sins are forgiven, that we are the children of God.  We may feel forgiven, or we may not feel forgiven, but that does not matter.  It is not a question of what we feel but of what God says.  God's Word is always to be believed.  Our own feelings are oftentimes to be doubted.  There are many who are led to doubt their sins are forgiven, to doubt that they have everlasting life, to doubt that they are saved, because they do not feel forgiven, or do not feel that they have everlasting life, or do not feel that they are saved.  Because you do not feel it is no reason why you should doubt it.

Suppose you are sentenced to imprisonment and that your friends secured a pardon for you.  The legal document announcing your pardon is brought to you.  You read it and know you are pardoned because the legal document says so, but the news is so good and so sudden that you are dazed by it.  You do not realize that you are pardoned.  Someone comes to you and says, "Are you pardoned?"  What would you reply?  You would say, "Yes, I am pardoned."  Then he askes, "Do you feel pardoned?"  You rely, "No, I do not feel pardoned.  It is so sudden, it is so wonderful, I cannot realize it."  Then he says to you, "But how can you know that you are pardoned if you do not feel it?"  You would hold out the document and you would say, "This says so."  The time would come, after you read the document over and over again and believed it, when you would not only know you were pardoned because the document said so but you would feel it.  

Now the Bible is God's authoritative document declaring that everyone that believes in Jesus is justified; declaring that everyone that believes in the Son has everlasting life; declaring that everyone who receives Jesus is a child of God.  If anyone asks you if your sins are all forgiven, reply, "Yes, I know they because God says so."  If they ask you if you know you are a child of God, reply, "Yes, I know I am a child of God because God says so."  If they ask you if you have everlasting life, reply, "Yes, I know I have everlasting life because God says so.  God says, 'He that believes on the Son has everlasting life.'  I know I believe on the Son, and therefore I know I have eternal life - because God says so."  You may not feel it yet but if you will keep meditating upon God's statement and believing what God says, the time will come when you will feel it.

For one who believes on the Son of God to doubt that he has eternal life is for him to make God a liar,

"He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in him.  He that believes not God, has made Him a liar because he has not believed in the witness God has born concerning His Son and the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He that has the Son has the life; he that has not the Son of God has not the life" [1 John 5:10-12, R.V.].

Anyone who does not believe God's testimony that He has given us eternal life and that this life is in His Son and that he that has the Son has the life, makes God a liar.

It is sometimes said "it is presumption for anyone to say that he knows he is saved, or to say that he knows that he has eternal life."  But is it presumption to believe God?  Is it not rather presumption not to believe God, to make God a liar?  When you do believe on the Son of God and yet doubt that you have eternal life, you make God a liar.  When Jesus said to the woman who was a sinner,

"Your sins are forgiven" [Luke 7:48],

was it presumption for her to go out and say, "I know my sins are all forgiven"?  Would it not have been presumption for her to have doubted for a moment that her sins were all forgiven?  Jesus had said that they were forgiven.  For her to doubt it would have been for her to give the lie to Jesus.  Is it then any more presumption for the believer today to say, "My sins are all forgiven, I have eternal life," when God says in His written testimony to everyone that believes?

"You are justified fro all things" [Acts 13"39], "You have eternal life" [ John 3:36; 1 John 5:13]?

By very sure first of all that you really do believe on the name of the Son of God; that you really have received Jesus.  If you are sure of this then never doubt for a moment that your sins are all forgiven, never doubt for a moment that you are a child of God, never doubt for a moment that you have everlasting life.  If Satan comes and whispers, "Your sins are not forgiven," point Satan to the Word of God and say, "God says my sins are forgiven and I know they are."  If Satan whispers, "Well perhaps you don't believe on Him," then say, "Well if I never did before I will now."  And then go our rejoicing, knowing that your sins are forgiven, knowing that you are a child of God, knowing that you have everlasting life.

There are doubtless many who say they know they have eternal life who really do not believe on the name of the Son of God, who have not really received Jesus.  This is not true assurance.  It has no sure foundation in the Word of God who cannot lie.  If we wish to get assurance of salvation we must first get saved.  The reason why many have not the assurance that they are saved is because they are not saved.  They ought not to have assurance.  What they need first is salvation  But if you have received Jesus in the way described in the first lesson, YOU ARE SAVED, you are a child of God, your sins are forgiven.  Believe it, know it.  Rejoice in it.

Having settled it, let it remain settled.  Never doubt it.  You may make mistakes, you may stumble, you may fall, but even if you do, if you have really received Jesus, know that your sins are forgiven and rise from your fall and go forward in the glad assurance that there is nothing between you and God.

Feed Yourself Assignments


These assignments assume the student has completed the Feed Yourself course.

1.  Memorize 1 John 5:10-12.
2.  Look up in your Bible each Scripture reference mentioned in this lesson - even the ones that are quoted.
3,  Analyze 1 John 5:10-12.

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