Recently I pointed out that everyone in the world isn’t automatically a child of God but that only those who believe in Jesus are children of God. The question that naturally follows then is, “How can I know if I am a child of God?” I’m glad you asked! Let’s examine what the Bible has to say about the salvation available to each of us through the person of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is a gift, not a right!
First off, let’s make it clear that no human being can earn their way to heaven. We can’t get to heaven based on how good we’ve been here on earth. We can’t make it to heaven by being born into the ‘right’ family. We don’t make it to heaven because of our job or because of anything we have done. Salvation isn’t earned, it is freely given to everyone who wants it! While it is true that not everyone is a child of God, everyone can become a child of God. No one will be rejected who really desires to become God’s child. Now that’s good news!
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:11-12
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:16-18
What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
When the Bible talks about believing in Jesus it doesn’t simply mean to believe he exists. It doesn’t even mean that you believe that he paid the price for your sins. It goes much deeper than this. Belief implies relationship. It implies trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. This isn’t merely giving Jesus lip service. We are called to surrender our lives to him and to follow him. To allow God to shuffle our priorities. To allow him to take control over the direction and purpose of our lives.
When we surrender ourselves to God our lives will show it. They will demonstrate the conviction and authenticity of our belief in Jesus. We will begin to demonstrate the fruits or results of having the Holy Spirit inside of us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:22-24. Other people will notice that we are changing for the better. Things that upset us before don’t. Where we had a tendency to be rough before we are more gentle and calm. Where before we didn’t have any love for people, now God begins to grow love in our hearts for perfect strangers, the people in our life that annoy us or who try to control us. We find that we have more and more interior peace. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7.
Have Faith in God!
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6. How do we get faith? By reading the word of God, the Bible! “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17. The more you read the word of God, the more your faith increases. The more you seek after God, the more he reveals himself to you. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD” – Jeremiah 29:13,14a
So, how can I know that I am saved? The Holy Spirit within you will testify to you that you are saved. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:14,16. Seek after God. Ask him to give you faith. Read his word. Believe what you read. Repent of your sins. Ask Jesus to come live in you through the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to confirm to you that you are now God’s child. Believe that what you receive from God is real, valid and authentic.
Finally, go and change the world!