Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1956
NUMBER 50, PAGE 6,10b

Evidence Of Salvation

Wm. E. Wallace, Akron, Ohio

How may a person know that he has received the remission of sins? Through what source of knowledge does he learn of his salvation? When we ask individuals such questions we receive many answers characterized conspicuously by a lack of scriptural parlance. Some say "I know I am saved because I feel it." The Bible says regarding a young man's faith, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise "unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." ('II Timothy 3:15.) The Bible tells how to obtain that saving faith: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17.) The Bible also tells about a man who was saved by his faith when he obeyed and how he went on his way rejoicing because he knew he was saved (Acts 8:26-40.) This man did not rejoice because he felt salvation, but because he realized salvation upon hearing and obeying the gospel. He did not join a denomination in order to testify of "heart-felt" salvation, but he rejoiced in knowing that he had complied with the Lord's terms of salvation and had thus been added to the church for which Christ died. To those who "feel" their salvation the Bible says, "There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12.)

In the field of medicine doctors cannot always determine the nature of a person's illness by a description of feelings. Saul of Tarsus was a man who felt as if he was doing good in persecuting Christians (Acts 23:1, 26:9.) How does a person know just exactly how a saved person is supposed to feel? The person who has never been saved, never had the feeling, may experience a new feeling, but how can he be sure he has the right feeling?

There is a sure way to knowledge of personal salvation. The New Testament outlines it for us. Peter said . . . . ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth. (1 Peter 1:22.) Souls are purified in obedience. Souls are purified in obedience to the truth. Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life." (John 14:6.) Therefore, one is purified in obeying Jesus Christ. What are the elements of truth involved in this purifying process? The Lord's part has to do with his sacrifice and blood and his commandments to man. Man's part has to do with his acceptance and reception of Jesus as his Saviour. This submission to Jesus is manifested in the love the individual shows for Jesus. Christ said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments .. . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ... If a man love me, he will keep my words." (John 14:14,21,23.) If a man loves Christ he will keep his commandments. A man who has the commandments of Christ and keeps them is a man who loves Christ. Knowledge of the commandments of Christ comes through the preaching of the gospel. (I Corinthians 1:21, Romans 10:17.) A man who has not the commandments of Christ cannot keep them and thus cannot manifest love for Christ.

Suppose the man who feels like he is saved has not the commandments of Christ? Do the words of Christ mean anything? Shall a man base his claim to salvation on how he feels, or, upon his knowledge and obedience to the commandments of Jesus? What saith the scripture?

Baptism is a command of Christ, (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15,16.) Oral confession of one's belief in Christ is a command of Christ, (Matthew 10:32.) Repentance is a command of Christ, (Luke 13:3, 24:47.) Belief is a command of Christ. (Mark 16:16.) Joyful feelings, and other natural sensations that follow the one who is assured of his salvation from sins, are natural results following knowledge of the good tidings.

When persons have complied with the commandments of the Saviour then they can say "We do know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments." (I John 2:3.) It should be evident to the enquirer that the only assurance he has of salvation is contained within the Book that reveals the will and promises of Jesus Christ. Are you saved? What saved you? Is it your feelings or is it the feelings of Christ that determine your salvation? Salvation is your status in the thinking and feelings of the Almighty. Which feeling is the more reliable — your own, or Christ's? How can you know the Lord's feelings? "But whoso keepeth his word in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him." (I John 2:5.)

A host of people are living and laboring under the impression that they have been saved because of some emotional experience. They' are uninformed as to the requirements of the commandments of Jesus. They walk in darkness and claim fellowship with Christ. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." (I John 2:6.) What a shame that people feel they are saved and spend a life time claiming fellowship with Christ in attempts at righteous living!

In obeying Jesus Christ one is transferred from that kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Of those who have obeyed Jesus Paul wrote, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Colossians 1:13.)

In Acts 2 remorseful Jews asked what they should do. Peter told them to "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (verse 38.) They were under the guilt of sin. They were told what to do and 3000 of them knew they were saved from their sin when they did what they were told. After they were baptized they were glad, joyful, and they praised God because they knew they had complied with the law of pardon.

Saul of Tarsus, blind and penitent, prayed at great length, but he was told 'by Ananias to "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:18.) He did not base his claim to salvation on feeling that might have come from his earnest praying, he claimed salvation because of his newness of life that followed his resurrection from the water of baptism. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4.) To his fellow Christians Paul wrote, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." (Romans 6:17.)

"If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (II Timothy 2:5.) How do you strive? Is your interest in religion based on emotional experience, or is it based on the law of Christ?

The law of Christ concerning the salvation of the sinner is not made up of mere rules to be observed in a mechanical fashion. The Lord's laws are living principles which undergird the Christian's life. Faith is our assent to and confidence in the Way, repentance is our turning from sin, confession is the oral announcement of a believing heart, baptism is the burial with Christ and complete submission to God's plan of salvation. When a man complies with these requirements then and only then can he truly know that he is saved from sins.