“How do we know that we know?”

“The same compassion which moves God to pardon a mourning, brokenhearted sinner moves Him to comfort that mourner by witnessing to his spirit that his sins are pardoned.” – John Wesley

Question for the day:  “How does God witness to your spirit that your salvation is assured?”


Salvation is a tricky subject.  Nobody is really comfortable talking about it, because not many know how to define it.  In most cases, when I have asked people if they are sure of their eternal salvation, the answer has been, “I hope so.”

“I hope so,” is a horrible answer to this most important of questions.  We are talking about our eternal existence.  Forever.  Will I be in heaven with Jesus, or will I be in eternal damnation and torment?  The reason this answer is so terrible is that it leaves us open to so much doubt and meaningless worry; especially when there is absolutely no reason for it.

John Wesley struggled with this question greatly, even though he was an ordained priest in the church of England.  He was continually plagued early in his life with the question, “How can I really be sure?”  So he set about trying to assure his salvation by doing what any of us would do – he tried really hard to be a good person.

He prayed, he studied his Bible religiously, he looked after the poor, he preached, and he taught.  But that question was always there, in the back of his mind.  And then one day, our gracious God showed him what was missing – a heart relationship.

Through all of John’s hard works and “methods” he had missed the main thing. He didn’t have that true heart relationship with Jesus.  It wasn’t personal, it wasn’t emotional.  Poor John had been like a hamster on a wheel for years, trying to earn something that was already free – GRACE.

See, John had a personal encounter with Christ one night where he described his heart as being “strangely warmed.”  That was his first real encounter with the risen Savior.  And from there he began to understand that God does speak to our spirits and our hearts.  He learned that once we let Him in, God will give us all the assurance we need.  And better yet, he spent the rest of his life preaching this good news.

What about us?  Do we know that we know?  Have we experienced that witness in our spirits that we are truly children of God, redeemed by the Lamb?  If not, how do we get there?  What has to change in the way we relate to God in order to have that kind of relationship?

These are questions that have monumental, eternal consequences for each of us.  I pray that all of us will begin to search and take seriously our relationships with Jesus, for this is where the peace comes from.

Gracious Father,

Your love for me is extravagant.  I know that an eternity with You is only once decision away for me.  Help me to open myself up to your kindness and mercy.  Flood my soul with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be one, and I would be assured of my eternal salvation in You.  Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace.  And thank You for never leaving me to wonder in the “I hope so” realm.  Speak to me today in a way that I can understand.

In the name of my Savior I pray,


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