I have a question about the salvation process. Specifically, how do you know you are saved & do you have to “feel” something? As far as I know, my Dad does not yet fully believe in Jesus. About 6 years ago my Dad said he believed in an “impersonal being” as our creator. I think he had a lot of hurts in his past that made him angry at God. Since that time, God has done SO much work. My Dad has read through the Bible cover to cover TWICE. He’s very intellectual and has many doubts and questions so he also read countless Apologetics books. He still has many questions but says he understands not all of them will be answered. My Dad likes the idea of Christianity and the morality of it and said he wants to believe, just isn’t quite there yet. When I talk to him he tells me “I’m trying Chelsea.” He really likes Charles Stanley and watches it on tv every Sunday with my Mom. He told me that when Charles prays the prayer of salvation at the end he always prays it too “to see if anything happens.”
I am going to see him on Monday and really am hoping to have a conversation about how you don’t necessarily get a feeling when you get saved, sometimes it’s gradual. Something else to note is that my Dad is a stereotypical “tough” guy…he isnt exactly very emotional. I was wondering if you all had any thoughts on this? Also, I am wondering why God isn’t revealing Himself more to my Dad in those moments so that my Dad can experience him? I know God is doing a great work and am SO thankful, I just can’t wait for the day to hear my Dad say he truly believes. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and provide your input, can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!
@Chelsea_Casali Thank you for sharing about your dad. I would like to share my thoughts on that as a person who is saved by His grace and since I am an Asian (Nepalese) my way of thinking could be completely different that you but I verily beleive that we are part of the same body , the body of Christ.
As it says in Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," i believe the first step in salvation would be acknowledging that we are sinners and that the only way to be reconciled with the father and be forgiven of sins is through believing in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross and then confessing and declaring it and as we make that decision the Holy Spirit leads us into His likeness day by day and step by step.
I know it sounds simple but honestly that is all that it takes to be saved as per what i beleive.
And as a saved Christian I believe i was saved , i am being saved and will be saved in the future.
Christ’s righteousness is given to us the day we believe in Him but Holiness is something that we grow towards each day. We cant be less righteous at our worst day or more righteous at our best days , the Lords righteousness has been given to us all equally. As the book of Romans says that we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus. I would really encourage you to read through the book of Romans. I hope my words help.
@Chelsea_Casali That is a great question. The Book of I John is written specifically to help believers know that they are walking with Christ - those who love are born of God. In a similar way the Gospel of John was written so that unbelievers might believe.
The article from Gospel coalition suggest that there are 3 signs: theological, moral and social.
theological - we believe in Jesus as revealed by the Scriptures
moral - growing in righteousness as defined by Scripture gives us confidence (whereas sin leads to confusion)
social - our love for other Christians and those in need should be a sign of indwelling of the Holy Spirit
I 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.
John 20:31 - But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John Stott shares his testimony in this interview and, if I remember correctly, says he never had a great overwhelming feeling after he accepted Christ. But after a few weeks as a believer he realized that the God who had been outside of him now lived within him. I think this is a helpful testimony.
Everyone’s experience is not the same, so I would not focus on what your father is feeling. Rather focus on whether or not he is willing to place his trust in Jesus. If he asks Christ into his heart and begins learning to pray / read Scripture / obey daily I believe he will grow, though the steps may be incremental and will look different for him than someone else. Also, if he wants to accept Jesus then pray together that God would fill him with the Holy Spirit to guide him.
Luke 11:13 - If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
But again, do not focus on what you think he should be feeling. Just trust that if you ask from a sincere heart the Lord will do his good work.
May Jesus fill both of your hearts with His Spirit and guide you in your walk. Hope those thoughts are helpful
I totally empathize with your question and concern for your dad. I, too, watch my loved ones struggle with questions of God and faith. Believe me, I wish some in my immediate family were more at the point where your father is by simply wanting to believe. That is a huge step in the direction toward God.
And Chandra is correct, Romans 10:9-10 is absolutely the verse to direct a person on how to be saved. I remember when I first memorized that verse; the only verse (at the moment) that I really know by heart that is more than five words. It is so simple and yet so powerful!
The thing I’ve learned on my journey of faith is that there is a real relational aspect to all of this. Prior to Romans 10, we read in Romans 5:8,11:
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners…. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
How beautiful to be called friends of God!?!?! We were designed for relationship by a creator who was in relationship Himself before He even separated the water from the sky. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in our image” (emphasis added). This is our example. There’s a discussion to be had here about horizontal and vertical relationships, but I’m not sure how to phrase it in written form just yet.
I think it can be easy for us to acknowledge that fellowship and group worship with other believers is important. Just as important, if not more so, is our relationship with God Himself. As much as you foster a relationship with your own earthly father, it is equally as important for each of us to cultivate a relationship with God our Father.
How do you know your earthly father loves you? How does your earthly father know you love him? Perhaps the conversation about how he can know he’s saved starts there. Just as you build (or rebuild as the case may be) a relationship with another person, do the same or similar with your relationship with God. And like any good relationship, it can take a lifetime to really know the other person. It is a life-long journey and death is just a door-way into a new and more intimate relationship with God.
I hope this helps and I pray that you have a wonderful relationship and conversation with your father. God bless!!
Hi @chandrakishore, thanks so much for your response! I love how straightforward Romans 10 is. I think what you said about acknowledging our sins is so important and something I forget to talk about sometimes for some reason. I will definitely bring that up to my Dad in our conversation!
Hi @SeanO! Thanks once again for a very helpful and insightful response! I like the three signs of salvation in that article. Thank you for your encouragement to focus more on whether or not my Dad wants to choose to follow Jesus rather than focus on what he is feeling. I will bring that up to him. It’s funny because I think he likes the moral aspect of following Christ a lot, he loves that Christians tend to be “good” people. But for him I think his pride is a barrier, I’m sure choosing to actually surrender his life to Jesus’ Lordship is harder for him. I’ll try to bring that up in our conversation too- that it’s a decision to follow Jesus, i.e. allow Him to be Lord of your life.
Hi @Aleone1207! Thank you!! That is so beautifully stated! I love your point at the end- it really is more easily understood when you think of it in terms of our relationships with each other. Thank you so much for your encouragement!!
@Chelsea_Casali Will be praying for him Pride was a barrier for me in my teenage years as well. I was quite a moral person and I thought less of those who lacked self-control. But a quote from Lewis I encountered while reading Mere Christianity helped shake me out of my self-righteousness.
“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” C. S. Lewis
I really like this passage of Scripture where Peter has a moment of realization as to who Jesus really is and of who he was - a sinner in the presence of the Lord and in need of mercy.
Luke 5:4-8 - When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
I wanted to share an excerpt by Lysa TerKeurst from her new upcoming book. This was from a recent Daily Devotional from faithgateway.com.
I especially like this paragraph and I think it applies here also:
We see that all those harsh realities aren’t the end, but rather a temporary middle space. Not the place where we are meant to wallow and dwell. Rather the place through which we will have to learn to wrestle well. I need this wrestling. I have honest feelings where I want to throw my hands up in utter frustration and yell about the unfairness of it all. To deny my feelings any voice is to rob me of being human. But to let my feelings be the only voice will rob my soul of healing perspectives with which God wants to comfort me and carry me forward. My feelings and my faith will almost certainly come into conflict with each other. My feelings see rotten situations as absolutely unnecessary hurt that stinks. My soul sees it as fertilizer for a better future. Both these perspectives are real. And they yank me in different directions with never-ending wrestling.
To wrestle well means acknowledging my feelings but moving forward, letting my faith lead the way.
Hello Chelsea (@Chelsea_Casali). I’m encouraged by your love for your dad. I can resonate on it, since I’m praying for my dad’s salvation as well.
@SeanO and others have provided good answers already, perhaps, I’ll re-arrange some of what is already shared to answer your question, which I hope would help.
First, scripture tells us that we can know that we are saved.
1 John 5:13 says that,
“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.”
This shows that we can know, here and now, whether we are saved or not. But what are “these things”?
Let’s see 1 John 5:10-12:
“Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
This passage says that whoever has the Son has life. The eternal life that God gave is in his Son. How do we know that we have the Son?
Let’s look at John 3:16-18:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Second, since it’s clear that believing the gospel is necessary for salvation. This gospel should be presented clearly to your father, so that the work done in reaching out will not be in vain. Then trust God for the results. We could be sure that we will be saved when we trust in Christ, because God is faithful. He does not lie. He says then fulfills. He is not like any man.
Hi @Chelsea_Casali , can see your zeal for your dad! Above all the nuggets of wisdom we all have shared with you here, do ask Wisdom Himself to fill you with His Wisdom to minister His Love to your dad, for only He knows the real depths of the human heart and its hidden corners. At best we all can only confer.
For some of us, even as lovers of God, our feelings at times totally taunt our salvation. A recent post also addressed this plaguing thought:
In light of the below scriptures, there is great hope for us to believe that God is at work in your dad’s life as you had said:
Jeremiah 30:21 KJV (emphasis mine)
And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord.
John 6:44 KJV (emphasis mine)
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Philippians 1:6 KJV
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Also, with the aspect of feelings, you had mentioned your dad is not an emotional person. Perhaps you could engage him in asking if he loves or believes in love? If so, does he always feel love for the things or people he believes he loves?
If so, again, what does he mean by that feeling ?
Dr. Ravi Zacharias talks about ‘Love’ in his article that unveils the gospel:
“Love is the supreme ethic. Where there is the possibility of love, there must be the reality of free will. Where there is the reality of free will, there will inevitably be the possibility of sin. Where there is sin, there is the need for a Savior. Where there is a Savior, there is the hope for redemption. Only in the Judeo-Christian worldview does this sequence find its total expression and answer. The story from sin to redemption is only in the gospel with the ultimate provision of a loving God.” Dr. Ravi Zacharias
Love is a deep foundation that could even transcend emotional feelings, whereas emotional feelings alone cannot transcend love or to say, feelings alone cannot make someone to love. So, you could minister to your dad perhaps on these premises.
At first, many unbelievers can just sulk at the thought of having to ‘submit’ or a more harrowing word would be ‘surrender’ to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. The very thought of this action brings within dreadful thoughts of a life of absolute restrictions, pain, sacrifices, boredom, melancholy, curbs and the feel of our freewill being snatched away only to be controlled as a slave for the Master’s use and pleasure. But on the contrary, it is the exact opposite.
Haven’t we heard people being proud of their homelands or countries and boasting of being a proud citizen? Is it because they have refused surrender to the Constitution of their particular country? Absolutely not! Rather it is their very submission to the Constitution that they now enjoy a protection and freedom they have not experienced beforehand. It is this very submission that has procured the very citizenship that avails them every freedom, benefit and protection. They realize the Constitution was made for true citizens like them and not against them.
Now, how much more when you become a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). How much more do you gain rather than lose in this heavenly surrender to the only Faithful King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender means not losing but benefiting. For it is after all your only Deliverer that asks you to surrender!
We all know that His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and even when we don’t understand yet, we trust Him to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
Though we are all familiar with ‘Romans 10:9’, many a time the emphasis is on the confessing part (i.e. prayer of salvation) whereas, confessing is only the fruit of believing. Belief is the very root that sustains the professing (Romans 10:10).
I’m reminded of a man in the scriptures who didn’t believe in Jesus immediately even after he had received a marvelous miracle from the Lord (John 9:1-39), but as we see in the below scriptures, the man eventually progressed in his understanding and his heart finally believed:
John 9:11 KJV (emphasis mine)
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
John 9:17 KJV (emphasis mine)
They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes ? He said, He is a prophet.
John 9:33 KJV (emphasis mine)
If this man were not of God , he could do nothing.
John 9:35-38 KJV (emphasis mine)
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
Pray the Lord does a marvelous work in your dad’s life. Amen.
I would like to reinforce the thought that not everyone gets knocked off a mule like Paul or Sargent York. With many people God moves slowly, this was the case in my life. I would encourage your Dad not wait on a feeling but take stock of things in his life that have changed. Example, is his Bible reading more or less alive? Does he find that he has more patience or compassion with or for people or situations that ordinarily would have evocated an unpleasant outburst?
Just some thoughts.
Here is a book that your Dad and you might read together. Here is the first paragraph of the preface:
Exceptionally intelligent, intensely skeptical, very strong-willed, and seventy years old—could a more unlikely candidate for conversion be found than my father? He had given me little grounds for hope. My father never showed any openness to the gospel. He harbored only resentment toward the church and was outspoken in his animosity toward what he called “born-again types.” The few talks about the faith he and I had had during the fourteen years I had been a Christian up to the time our correspondence began had all been somewhat awkward, very short, and totally futile. I had, quite frankly, all but totally given up hope for his salvation.
Thank you so much everyone for your extremely helpful input. @SeanO I love that quote from C.S. Lewis, such a profound point. @Aleone1207 I can relate to that devotional very much and appreciate the encouragement to trust God through the wrestling. Thank you @omnarchy for your clear summary of all these thoughts. Thank you @patrick for your very thought out and encouraging response- I look forward to meditating more on those verses and words as I pray tonight. The love analogy is very interesting and definitely something I will bring up to my Dad. @Jimmy_Sellers I am very interested in reading that book as it sounds extremely relatable-thanks so much!
As I’m reading all of your encouraging and profound thoughts, I am reminded that it always comes back to the gospel. I truly appreciate your prayers and will let you know how the conversation goes!
firstly, I could not or never tell if a person is saved or not… I think one should always examine themselves.[But one can not lose there salvation.]
secondly, pride and self righteousness those are really hard obstacles than reason and intellectuals in my opinion…
I suggest watching these sermons called " God the Just and the Justifier of the Wicked - Paul Washer" and “Ray Comfort: Hell’s Best Kept Secret”
I hope they help, I should also talk to my dad and ask him to examine himself, pray for me too. he actually believes in Christ but its sad we never talk much. I hate this world. wish it was not so. I will talk to him, Pray for me and that god will bring the right circumstances. I know, I know I should man up a bit. Pray for me.
But I can share How I was saved, So, I trusted people, soon I realized that they are not trust worthy, really none are, God actually found me I think, through the church and through the videos online in search of truth, I found a real solid ground to stand on, and oh boy… you wouldn’t believe but once I knew the grace of god was sufficient, my sinful heart broke… I was crying and laughing at the same, screaming “Good God!!! That’s it!!! really!!! Thats it!!! How Good are you!!” that’s when I knew, nothing is worth more than him. He is my treasure, my everything… All my sins are paid for, though I sin now too… But man I hate it now… I want to be like my god… be clean for him… started reading books to learn more about him then… it was the best time of my life even today I have that joy inside me you know… and the world can never steal it
I like two of C. S. Lewis quotes “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” and “Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.” and I think its true. anyway I need your prayers guys, and pray that I pray more to him and that I read the bible.
The Case for the Resurrection of Christ it helped me too, these video resources are good for that " Lee Strobel The Case for Christ" , “The Resurrection of Jesus (The Historical Evidence - InspiringPhilosophy” and videos by Jim Warner Wallace and frank turek, of course Ravi Zachariah’s video lectures are also good for building your faith. All the best
Such an amazing topic that I reckon each one of us has experienced in some form or another.
I am quite a radical follower of Jesus and will take any opportunity to confess that and expound the wisdom that He has given me. BUT one thing that I have discovered. We, well meaning and passionate disciples cannot talk somebody into the presence of our Lord. It is simply not possible. The scriptures alludes to this as well in a number of areas when the knowledge of the scriptures and of the prophets does not make people believe. Only God in His infinite grace can do this.
So where does that leave us? Well simply speaking we have to portray Jesus and be obedient to His teachings in in every thing we do, think and say. By doing that we instill a sense of jealousy in the inquisitive person which allows the Spirit to convict and save. Only God can do that.
In a nutshell relax in Jesus. Be prepared to defend and answer any questions but allow God the space and time to move.
I’m speaking from my own experience here in that it took a dear friend of mine 10 years of this course of action to bring me to a point of wanting what he had. He had Jesus in his life.
May God bless you and guide you.
@rocky thank you, it is definitely good to remember that it is God who ultimately does the work, not us.
@Demitri thank you for your encouragement and relatable story. I will most definitely pray for you as you seek to talk with your dad about his relationship with Christ. It’s hard to talk to our parents about those things sometimes, but God will lead you. It is awesome to hear how God has worked in your life already. He really is the only one who can bring true hope and fulfillment. I will look up some of those sermons. It’s interesting that you bring up the resource about the resurrection as that seems to be my dad’s main struggle.
So to update everyone I was able to have a conversation with my Dad yesterday. Thank you so much for all of the feedback and prayers. I was able to bring up a lot of these points. One thing I am very thankful for is that my Dad said he had no problem believing he is a sinner. I was relieved to hear that, because I wasn’t sure if he realized that. He said he knows that he can believe while still having doubts, but he still has some barriers he needs to work through. He has no problem believing in God and he wants to follow the Christian way of morality and all of that. But he said he struggles to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. He believe Jesus was a real person, but struggles to believe that He resurrected and took on the world’s sins as the Son of God. He doesn’t get why sacrificing Jesus would be the only option if God is all powerful. But, I know this is a separate conversation so maybe I’ll start another topic for that soon.
Anyways, I am thankful that my Dad is seeking so much. He said he’s trying and in his words he’s “not going backwards.” He told me that sometimes he wishes he could just believe without needing to explore anything like my mom (she basically just believes God is love and refuses to think about wrath towards sin or hell). I explained that I’m so thankful he is thinking critically and that will make his relationship so much deeper in the end. So that is the update! Thanks again for your prayers and support!
Thanks for the update, Chelsea! That is great news and I’m confident the Holy Spirit is working well within your dad. It is encouraging to hear that you and he were able to have an open and honest conversation about such an eternal topic. As long as he’s walking towards God, he’s walking in the right direction, and isn’t that sometimes all we can hope for with our loved ones? We’ll keep praying for you and your dad. God bless!