Mountain climbing is one of the most dangerous things a person can do.
Yet, each year thousands of thrill-seekers attempt to scale the largest mountains in the world for a few precious minutes at the summit. Climbers face many obstacles for their 15 minutes of fame, from altitude sickness to avalanches to snow storms. When things go bad on an 8000-meter mountain, rescue isn’t a given, it is a miracle.
The highest-ever rescue took place on Nepal’s 26,545-foot Annapurna, the world’s tenth-highest peak. During the climbing season of 2010, three Spanish climbers were stranded at 22,900 feet due to a fierce snowstorm. Enter courageous and resourceful Swiss pilot, Capt. Daniel Aufdenblatten, who had no place to land on the mountainous terrain. With resourceful thinking, and an assist from his co-pilot, they dropped a long line and carefully extracted each climber off the mountain.
This act of bravery was a rescue against all odds.
God is also in the rescue business and, just like the heroic helicopter pilot, he miraculously saves sinners. My life has been transformed through the power of the gospel, and I now live to glorify, worship, and serve God. However, in my 13-plus years of walking with the Lord I have experienced the mountain tops where the view is glorious and the deep, dark valleys where sadness, confusion, and frustration were my constant companions. I have wandered through endless deserts for weeks on end, wondering why I hadn’t found the oasis.
During those challenging days I wondered whether I was saved. All of this brought me to the question: How does a person know they are saved?
The Object of Our Salvation
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:11-13 states:
And this is the testimony; that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
This was written by John, one of the 12 apostles, to believers who needed assurance that their salvation was real. Charles Spurgeon once said,
Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.
So assurance of our salvation starts with the Object of our salvation: Jesus Christ. Whoever has the Son has life, John says. He writes these things to Christians “who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The Fruit of our Salvation
As believers, many of us have prayed some sort of “Sinner’s Prayer,” inviting Christ to be Lord and Savior of our souls. Most of us have a salvation story that details who we were before Christ, how we met Christ, and how Christ has changed and is changing us. Our testimonies, which range from the simplistic to the dramatic, are a way for us to witness to others who do not have hope in Jesus Christ, while remembering what he has done for our souls.
While our testimonies are important, they do not tell the whole story, especially when we question if we are truly saved. Our assurance of salvation must rest on the Object of our salvation, and this assurance will show itself through the bearing of spiritual fruit. A saved person bears fruit for the Lord.
In 1 John, we see several fruits of our salvation that a saved person will yield if they truly have the Son.
We will love God (1 John 2:5).
There are many ways to love God, but perhaps none is greater than to glorify him whenever we can through our words, thoughts, and actions.
We will love one another (1 John 3:1-24).
As soon as we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become children of God. We join an ever-growing family of true believers who love and care for their siblings. Therefore, we should demonstrate love and affection toward the body of Christ, his church, whenever possible. This is a way that we show our love for God.
We will desire to keep his commandments (1 John 5:2).
Because we love God, we will want to keep his commandments. Our posture should be reverence and humility, that what God commands, we will strive to obey because we love him.
We will overcome the world by our faith in Christ (1 John 5:4).
We live in the world, but we are not of the world. Our faith in Christ and his finished work will be on full display for all to see as we wrestle with worldly things and triumph over the darkness.
We will abide in him (1 John 2:28).
To abide in him means that we persevere in the faith, clinging to its Object all the way.
We will practice righteousness (1 John 2:29).
As believers, we will pursue a holy and righteous life through abstaining from sin and participating in repentance. Our goal should be to live a righteous life by displaying the Lord’s righteous nature, which is proof that he lives in us by his Spirit and is changing us.
The Outcome of our Salvation
Are you questioning your salvation? It is sometimes challenging to know if we have eternal life with Jesus because we sin, we are weak, and we change. So we wonder if God will be angry enough that he will rescind his free grace and the gracious gift of heaven.
But Jesus Christ never changes. What we must realize is that God’s love is unconditional, and the Object of our assurance is immovable. What God has started, he will complete! David Jeremiah says, “Saving us is the greatest and most concrete demonstration of God’s love, the definitive display of His grace throughout time and eternity.”
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the one who miraculously saves, and he is the one who bears fruit in us. He is our assurance!