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Eternal Life: You Can Be Sure

Once you understand what Jesus did for you at Calvary, you can know you have eternal life.

December 2, 2023

Are you sure you have eternal life? Many people are bothered by that question and respond in uncertain, doubtful, and defensive ways. But if you truly understand what Jesus did for you at Calvary, you can know without a doubt that you have eternal life.

Sermon Outline


KEY PASSAGE: 1 John 5:13

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Matthew 12:31-32 | Matthew 28:19-20 | John 3:16 | John 5:24 | John 6:37-40 | John 10:27-29 | Acts 16:31 | Romans 5:6-8 | Romans 6:3-5 | Romans 6:23 | Romans 8:16 | Romans 8:33-39 | Romans 10:9 | Ephesians 2:8-9 | Hebrews 7:25 | Hebrews 9:11-12 | Hebrews 12:7-8 | 1 John 1:9


If you were to die today, are you confident that you have eternal life and would go to heaven?

For some people the question is disturbing because it raises doubts and fears, but for those who have professed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it should be answered with a confident “yes.” Yet some Christians don’t have assurance of their salvation and are plagued by doubts despite the teachings in Scripture regarding eternal security. God wants His children to live in confident assurance that He has saved them, rather than in fearful doubts about their eternal destiny.


The apostle John revealed his purpose in writing the book of 1 John: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). Throughout the letter he provides traits that characterize genuine believers so they can know with certainty that they are saved.

Eternal life is a gift of God that comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ. It begins at the moment of salvation and extends into eternity when we will dwell in heaven with our triune God, the holy angels, and everyone throughout history who’s been saved. Salvation is only given to those who have recognized their sinful condition and by faith have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, accepting His work on the cross as sufficient to provide forgiveness of sin. Without faith in Christ, there is no eternal life.

The Difference between Eternal Security and Assurance of Salvation

Eternal security is God’s guarantee that the gift of eternal life, once received, can never be lost. Every genuine believer in Christ has this life and is forever secure. Assurance of salvation is the confident mental and spiritual realization that one possesses eternal life.

A believer’s eternal security is a fact that never changes, but assurance of salvation can fluctuate. It’s possible to be a genuine believer, yet be uncertain of one’s salvation. Some people assert that a lack of assurance is what God desires for us because it causes us to try harder, pray more, be more dependent, and avoid sin. But none of this is true. The Lord wants us to live with assurance of eternal life and not be tormented by doubts. Salvation is not based on our works and neither is our perseverance in the faith. Both are accomplished by God’s grace, not by our efforts.

Reasons People Doubt Their Salvation

  • They have never been truly saved. Perhaps they’ve had some good feelings about Jesus, lived a moral life, attended church, and even professed Him as their Lord and Savior—but genuine conversion has not taken place. This person shows outward signs of Christianity without having a true inner faith in Christ. Nor do they have the Holy Spirit living within them to assure them they are a child of God (Rom. 8:16).

  • They may have sin in their lives. Sin short-circuits a believer’s fellowship with God and causes feelings of distance and estrangement from Him. The result is a lack of assurance. God deals with sin in a believer’s life with discipline, but never rejection and condemnation (Heb. 12:7-8).

  • They may have been taught false doctrine. Some churches teach that salvation can be lost if a person sins too much or doesn’t keep certain rules. The emphasis is on working hard to maintain salvation. It’s very difficult for some Christians to overcome these teachings. The only way is to learn what God’s Word says and live in the truth.

  • They may doubt because of an overemphasis on emotionalism rather than truth. Some people get caught up in the emotional high of a worship service, but when it’s over, they have no foundation of truth to ground their lives. Without knowledge of Scripture, these believers are tossed about by emotions that may cause them to doubt their salvation.

  • They hear but do not believe the teaching of God’s Word. Those who doubt their salvation may claim to believe the Bible, but their uncertainty about the truth of what God has said concerning eternal security proves otherwise. In relying upon their own feelings about the issue, they are in essence saying that God is a liar, even though they’d never verbalize it that way.

  • Sometimes their doubts are caused by satanic attack. The devil always wants Christians to disbelieve the Lord and His Word. The enemy interjects the idea that past or present sins can cause God’s condemnation. Since Satan is the accuser and father of all lies, believers should compare every thought or feeling to the truth of Scripture.

  • The source of uncertainty about their eternal security may be due to an inability to pinpoint the date and time of salvation. This is a man-made idea. The Bible says nothing about such a requirement for salvation. Some recall all the details of their conversion; others do not.

  • Another reason for insecurity about salvation is concern that they didn’t do it right. God brings people to Christ in a variety of ways. Salvation is the result of the regeneration of a heart by the Holy Spirit, not of an external method.

  • Doubts could also arise from resistance to obey God in a particular area. Sometimes believers rationalize away the necessity of obedience when God’s will is difficult for them. Baptism is an example. Believers are commanded to be baptized after salvation as a witness of their conversion and a picture of having died with Christ to sin and having been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-5).

  • Some people worry that they have committed the unpardonable sin. Jesus spoke of this (blasphemy against the Spirit) in Matthew 12:31-32. It applied to the generation of Jesus’ day because they rejected their Messiah. It is not applicable today. Now all who confess their sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness can be saved.

The Basis for Assurance of Salvation

  • The irrevocable promises of God (John 3:16; John 5:24; John 6:37-40; John 10:27-29).

  • God’s unconditional love (Rom. 5:6-8; Rom. 8:33-39).

  • The finished work of Christ on the cross (Heb. 7:25; Heb. 9:11-12).

  • The witness of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16).


  • Do you sometimes doubt that you’re saved? If so, which of the reasons given for doubting do you identify with the most?

  • Does confidence in your eternal security fluctuate with your emotions, or does it rest on the sure foundation of God’s Word?

  • If you are struggling with uncertainty about your salvation, read the book of 1 John. It was written so you can know one way or the other if you are a genuine believer.

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