"Am I saved?"
It’s the question, isn't it? Something about it is oddly terrifying, and it comes from a place of fear. For me, the fear of false conversion was always looming. I would sit in my theology classes and practicum classes and think, "Am I really born again? Am I just faking this?". Which seems silly, doesn't it? To be focused for most of my day to day life on the Scriptures, in prayer, and fear that I was fooling everybody around me, including myself. Why would such a fear arise?
Because I am a sinner. Yes, I was often in prayer, in the Bible, focused and thinking on the deep things of God. Yes, I long to know God deeply, but I am a sinner. I know my thoughts, my words, my secret deeds, far better than anyone else. "Is it not possible that I could be faking it?" was the prevailing thought racking my mind in the long dark night hours. No peace and no assurance, just fear and doubt. But this does not mean that we should not have real assurance. In fact, I would argue that true assurance is one of the greatest benefits in the Christian life. It is something that we can experience. So often we white tower away any sense of emotion. Is it possible that we have felt the threat of postmodernism so far that we have forgotten that feeling anything is sometimes a good thing. Surely Christ has come and set us free from all the guilt of our great enemy!
Oh, that accuser of the brothers and sisters! He so often comes and wrecks our fragile peace. Do we not hear him? As he twists our sin and flesh to seek hope and rest from any other would-be "savior." Then he condemns for the very act. As often as the Devil tears at our guilt and shame, Christ has come to set that right too. But we must be careful in how we are answering this question. So often we fall into the trap of basing on our assurance on what we are currently doing or not doing. "Am I reading the Bible enough? Am I praying enough? Am I obeying? Am I doing my all?" Dear Christian, the answer to that question is no. If you're basing your assurance on questions like "Am I always obedient?" or "Do I have a conversion experience?" then you are looking at the wrong thing. Because our right standing with God has nothing to do with human exertion but rather on the grace and mercy of God (Romans 9:6). To be more clear, if your assurance is based on your obedience, your merit, and your law-keeping, it is based on something that cannot hold you.
You can’t do it.
You do not and will not measure up to the standard of “good enough” for your assurance.
It’s really bad news, and it’s really good news.
Because there is a question that we can ask to evaluate our assurance.
"Am I resting in Christ as he is freely offered in the Gospel?"
Rest. Yes, dear Christian, the question is, "are you resting in Him?" Are you looking to Him alone for your assurance? And it's so hard to do it sometimes. It's so hard to let go of every desire to earn, to work, to strive. But His load is easy and light. He calls us to come and rest in Him; to look to Him alone for our salvation and assurance. Looking to Him by faith, are resting in His promise, "Whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37).
So then if you are looking for the pragmatic answer in this article, you won't find it. I won't tell you to run to the mission field; I won't ask you to take such and such twelve steps. Look to Jesus. The one who bore your sin and is all-sufficient for your needs. See him in your baptism, taste him in the Supper, rest in him as you hear the Word, sing the Word, and pray according to the Word. Only in him do we find our assurance.