Dear Pastor Charles: I have been a member of a Christian church for most of my life. I fully believe that the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that Jesus is my Savior. My problem is that when my pastor asks us if we know for sure that we are going to heaven, I cannot honestly say for certain that I am. Other people around me seem sure of their destination and I want to feel that way too. Am I asking too much from God? Is it really possible to know for sure or are these people just deluding themselves? Please give me a straight answer that I can understand. Uncertain…
You have asked a question that is very near the core of what it means to be a Christian. Here is a straight answer for you that you can understand. Yes. God wants you to know for sure. How else can you truly serve and love Him with “all your heart and all your soul and all your mind” if you cannot trust Him to deliver what He has promised over and over again in the Bible. Dear friend, please do not think that your problem is unusual. In fact, I can honestly say that there are times when I do not feel that closeness to God that gives me complete assurance of my salvation. I’ll bet you never heard a preacher admit that before.
Consider for a moment what the Apostle John is saying to you in 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in the name of the Son of God? In other words, do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the One who paid in His own blood for your salvation? My guess is that your answer is “yes, I believe with all my mind.” You see, we human beings are very practical by nature. We believe in what we can see, feel, touch, smell and hear. We can see a chair in the corner and we believe that it will not collapse when we sit down in it because it is sturdy looking. We trust that the person who made the chair did a good job. We trust that the materials are strong enough to hold our weight. With all this evidence we are convinced that it is safe to walk over to the chair and sit down, resting our full weight upon the chair and trusting all these things we have observed. Plus, if the chair is in our own house we have probably sat on it before without it collapsing. The chair has proven itself trustworthy so we are not afraid to rest in it.
My prayer for you is that you will grow to a full and complete richness in all that it means to be a child of God. If you have given your life to Christ, remember your checklist: study the Word, worship regularly with all your heart, pray without ceasing, associate with other believers regularly and serve faithfully.