How Do I Know if I Am Really Going to Heaven? How Can I Know I Am Really Saved? I Am Worried I Am Not A Christian? I Am Scared I Am Going to Hell
Many Christians ask themselves these questions at times. It can be a moment of extreme anxiety. Perhaps there are sins plaguing your life that you feel such guilt and shame over, you question if you were ever even born again to begin with. Well in the book of 1 John, the Apostle wrote a chapter specifically addressing how to know for sure that you are going to Heaven. This article will show the Biblical answer to a common worry that has troubled many believers for centuries.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW that ye have eternal life…” – 1 John 5:13. [emphasis added].
In 1 John 5, the Apostle “whom Jesus loved” tackled the doubts that can creep into the mind of many well-meaning believers. How can we know that we are truly saved? His answer, like the Gospel message itself is simple – it comes back to belief:
“Whosever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” – 1 John 5:1.
The foundation of our salvation is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in Scripture:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – John 3:16-17.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” – John 3:36.
” I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” – John 8:24.
With great power and authority, Christ Jesus proclaimed the way to eternal life: through belief in Him as the Son of God and Messiah as prophesied throughout the Old Testament. It of course it not based on any work or action, but a question of the heart. So, the question is beloved, do you believe? Who is Jesus to you? A mere “great man”, “source of wisdom” or “teacher” will not suffice. It is the belief that He is THE Son – the image of the invisible God. The fullness of the Godhead bodily. Do you carry that faith in Him? If you do not, then how could you possible expect Him to save your soul?
The good news is that if you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions the Bible proclaims that the Spirit of God is working in you. In 1 John 5:1 the Apostle wrote: “WHOSOEVER believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…” It is impossible to have saving faith without being born again. It is the Spirit of God – the new man – that is only given at salvation, that can open the eyes of poor, depraved wicked sinners to the glorious light of Christ. If you speak to Jesus in prayer, worship Him with joy. Pray to Him with hope and trust He can provide, then you have that Spirit.
Worship, prayer and faith go hand in hand with LOVE. Notice love is the what the Gospel is premised on. God “so loved the world…” that He gave Christ. We so love God because He redeemed us. And if we love God the Father, we love God The Son.
“By this we know that we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is love of God, that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1 John 5:2-3.
What, you say, we must keep all the commandments to prove our love to God? In our earthly flesh, that is impossible. So, what then, are these commandments that we are to keep? Again, The Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John provided the answer:
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:11-13.
Jesus’ commandment in the Gospel of John is for us to love our sisters and brothers in Christ. We are to care for each other, support each other and grow together.
The Lord repeats the commandments again in verse 17:
“These things I command you, that ye love one another.”
Does this seem too easy? It should. The Lord invited us to salvation saying His burden was light and his yoke was easy. Living the Christian life is not one of slavish compulsion. It is one of joyful, loving, voluntary submission and service to the Lord we adore. Do you have love for the brethren? Do you support those in your church? Do you encourage and fellowship? Do you even go to church? If you have that love, then you are keeping the commandment of Christ.
The other commandment Christ gave was again, belief: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47). Notice the verb tense: “hath.” In present tense, The Lord proclaimed that those who believe from that moment have everlasting life. The Apostle John confirmed this as a commandment for New Testament believers:
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” – 1 John 3:22-23.
The 2 Commandments of the New Covenant are clear: 1) Belief in The Lord Jesus Christ and 2) Loving one another. Do not let your own feelings or teachings and vain philosophies of others add more burden than what Jesus explicitly commands. His yoke is easy, rest in it.
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4-5.
We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. The saving faith you have is the victory over this sinful world and the curse of sin. If you believe, rejoice! Do not let your own daily struggles with the flesh ever deny you of the inheritance Christ won for you on the cross. There will be trials in this world. There will be battles with sin. There will be guilt and shame from succumbing to our flesh. There will be fear, doubt and questioning of belief. In this world there will be tribulation. But be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome the world and in your faith, you have too.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath that witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” – 1 John 5:7-10.
Long before humanity’s creation – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were in full agreement on the plan of salvation for humanity. It was through the lamb slain from “the foundation of the world.” God knew we would fall into sin and from Genesis 3 pronounced how we would be reconciled: through His Son – the “Seed of the Woman.” On earth, at the crucifixion, the blood and water (both which came from Christ’s body on the cross) along with His Spirit that did so many mighty miracles, bore witness on Earth that He was indeed that Divine Seed who would save us from sin.
So again, the question is: do you believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for your sins? Do you believe He rose 3 days later and ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of The Father? This is the witness from Heaven and Earth. And if you believe it, you are begotten of God. Trust in it. Millions upon millions have trusted the witness of men – believing the Bible is fictional, or that Jesus existed but was not Divine or any of the numerous deceptions that would sway one from believing the Gospel. All these people accuse God of being “a liar.” If this repulses or offends you, rejoice! The Bible is giving the clear evidence within you that you are a child of God and not the fallen, cursed world.
But What About the Sins That Give Me So Much Doubt?
“And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hat the Son hath life. And he that not the Son of God hath not life.”
You may read this and say, “this is well and good – but I know that I am deep in sinful rebellion that displeases God. I know that I am falling and backsliding and do not feel like a Christian at all! How can I truly love a God who I sin against daily?” Well beloved, what this passage above is telling you is that the fact that you even care and are grieved over your sin is proof that you are spiritually alive. Many, many people today blaspheme God’s name, mock His Son, attack the Bible and commit all manner of sin without the slightest worry or concern. Masses live their lives without the Word or judgment of a perfect and Holy God ever even crossing their minds. Why? Because they do not have life. It is the life that comes from the Holy Spirit that convicts. Jesus Christ confirmed this in the Gospels:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me…” – John 16:7-9.
If you are “reproved” or feel guilty about the sin you know you are willingly committing it is The Holy Spirit within you that is doing. Absent the Spirit, you would not care or remotely feat God’s judgment. Your doubt and worry about your soul’s salvation IS PROOF THAT YOU ARE SAVED. The unsaved world cannot have these feelings or worries because they cannot “See” the Holy Spirit or receive Him. They do not “hath life.” They are spiritually dead in “trespasses in sin.” But you beloved, have been “quickened” or brought to life, through your faith.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13.
The Apostle closes his exhortation with a confirmation. If you believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Son of God who died for your sins on the cross and rose to glory – you are saved. You are going to Heaven. You have God’s Spirit. And you will never lose it. Do not let the guilt over your sin derail your faith. Do not let the doubts planted by an enemy who wants to ruin your testimony, service and love for God cloud your thoughts and deceive you. Are you going to believe the Bible’s clear words or your own deceitful heart? Are you going to trust Christ or you flesh? If you believe Christ is the Son of God, humble yourself and trust in His infinite grace.
As long as you are in your sinful flesh, you will battle the fight against sin. And you do well to immediately pray for forgiveness and fight to overcome those sins (for more on battling your worst sins please see our article here). But that struggle does not somehow disqualify you from Heaven. You did not work for salvation. Christ did. Believe upon His name, love others and rejoice in the eternal life you have already received.