The question of whether or not they are saved is the most important question anyone could ask themselves. Sadly, millions have taken comfort in a false hope. With eternity riding on the answer to this question, we must do a serious self examination of our lives comparing them to a known standard. Thankfully this standard is laid out plainly for us in the Scriptures. The assurance of salvation is not a foggy, ethereal “feeling” but one with real and measurable points. These points were not created yesterday, but instead have been gleaned from an exposition of Chapter XVIII of our doctrinal statement - the Westminster Confession of Faith. G.I Williamson’s book “The Westminster Confession of Faith” does a wonderful job with the topic. Williamson writes:
“What then is the difference between true and false assurance?
1) There is a difference, first of all, in the qualities manifested therein. As A.A. Hodge succinctly tells us,
(a) True assurance begets unfeigned humility; false assurance begets spiritual pride (I Cor. 5:10, Gal. 6:14),
(b) True assurance leads to increased diligence in the practice of holiness; the false leads to sloth and self indulgence (Ps. 51:12,13,19),
(c) True assurance leads to candid self-examination and to a desire to be searched and corrected by God; the false leads to a disposition to be satisfied with appearance and to avoid accurate investigation (Ps. 139:23,24)
(d) The true leads to constant aspirations after more intimate fellowship with God which is not true of false assurance (I John 3:2, 3). It is not the strength of one’s conviction which proves the validity of his assurance but the character of one’s’ conviction, A man may be fanatically sure that he is save, but often this only means that he is “sincerely wrong.”
(2) The second difference between true and false assurance is the basis of it. True assurance rests upon three things, all of which are absent in the case of those who possess false assurance.
(a) True assurance rests upon the infallible certainty of what God says. False assurance rests upon what man says (Heb. 6:17, 18, Ps.118:8, Pr. 28:26).
(b) True assurance rests upon the evidence presented by the actual possession of those graces unto which God’s promises are made. False assurance rests upon the mere semblance of such (II Cor. 1:12, I John 2:3, 3:14, 2 Pet. 2:10, Lk.18:10-14, etc.).
(c) True assurance rests upon the testimony of the Holy Spirit within our hearts (by applying the Word of God), so that we know that we are the children of God. False assurance rests upon the testimony of the spirit of error by suppression of the Word of God (Rom. 8:15, 16, II Thess. 2:9-12). This means, above all, that true, infallible assurance rests upon the Spirit and Word of God. God has said certain infallible things in his Word. He has said that whoever believes in Christ already possesses life everlasting (Jn. 3:36). He also infallibly declares that “we know that we know him . . . if we keep his commandments.” Moreover, the same God who declares these things also produces them in the elect. He enables us to believe in Christ and keep his commandments; the Holy Spirit enables us to know that we do. And because we know that we believe in him and keep his commandments, we are then in possession of true assurance. We believe that God’s Word is infallible when it speaks of us. It is of paramount importance to insist that this infallible assurance is never ours by some private revelation of the Spirit. To claim assurance on the basis of a witness of the Spirit apart from, or additional to, the Bible is to claim false assurance. God’s Word is sufficient. By Scripture alone “the man of God may be perfect” (II Tim. 3:16, 17). In effecting infallible assurance in the hearts of believers, the Holy Spirit does not impart new revelation. He applies that which is already revealed, namely, the scriptural truth that believers shall be saved. By bringing the sure Word of God (with the infallible promises it contains) and the actually existing graces of the heart (to which these promises are made) together, the Spirit enables the believer to say with assurance, “I am a child of God, and will be forever.””
There are the measurables. Now ask yourself and honestly answer the following questions:
1) Are you spiritually prideful? Do you look down on others who are not as far along in their walk as you are? If so you may be relying too much on your own works.
2) Are you striving after holiness? True Christians should be constantly evolving and thinking of new ways to purify their life. They should not be walking the line between the secular and the holy. The Christian cares nothing for dress, the size of their house, the car they drive. If you cherish these things you could be in trouble.
3) Are you constantly evaluating your walk and finding new ways to become more obedient? Do you diligently study the Scriptures, finding new ways to please God?
4) Are you seeking a closer relationship with God? Do you pray often? Is there a desire to pray?
If you lack in any of these areas, a more thorough self examination is warranted. Feel free to talk to the church Elders to learn more about this issue.