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How can I be certain I have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour?
Thank you for this great question. There is perhaps no more important question than this! To give you certainty, I want to give you three key questions to find out if you truly have accepted Christ as your Lord and Saviour:
1. Have I repented of my old way of life?
The first two questions are based on Jesus' first message. He said this, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15). The first thing he asks us to do is "repent". "Repent" means to turn away from the evil things that we have done. Imagine you are running a marathon. As you are running, you discover you've been running the wrong way, the finish line is in the other direction! So you turn around and run the right direction.
Life is a bit like that marathon: everybody is running, but the wrong way. Perhaps some think the goal of life is to get the most money, others think it is to get married, or maybe to progress well in their career. All these are good things, but if they are our ultimate goal they leave us ultimately empty. Only God should be the goal of our life. A Christian recognises that the way they have been going is wrong. They recognise that living for money, sex or power is not enough; they realise only Jesus will satisfy. So they repent of their old way of life, they turn away from it as worthless. That's not to say that a Christian will never be tempted by those things and some of them are good in their right place. But if you really are a Christian, you will have decided not to live your life for them.
2. Do I believe the gospel?
The next thing Jesus says is that we should believe the gospel. The gospel is the good news about Jesus. A good summary of the gospel is something that another Bible writer called Paul said:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)
There are two key parts here.
First, Jesus died for our sins.
Sin is doing anything in disobedience to God. Living your life for your own selfish goals deserves punishment. But when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the punishment for you. That is the first thing you must believe.
Secondly, that he really was raised from the dead.
Paul lists many different people who saw Jesus raised as an evidence to us that it really happened. A Christian is confident that Jesus was raised from the dead. The resurrection shows them that they will be raised too. They will not be left dead forever, but will be raised with him. Jesus' resurrection shows that when he died for us on the cross, his death was accepted and his followers will no longer be punished.
So you need to believe that Jesus died for sin and was raised from the dead. However, it is not enough to just say "it happened". You must acknowledge that it happened for you. You must accept that when Jesus died, it was your sin that he died for, and when he was raised he showed that you would rise too. You must believe that he will do it for you. If you believe that, you are saved.
3. Does my life show a change?
The previous two are the only things you need to do to be saved. But there is a way of receiving confirmation that occurs after you have become a Christian.
The Bible teaches that a Christian will be recognised by a change in their life. John says by this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:5-6).
This does not mean perfection. In fact John himself earlier in that later wrote that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). Rather it means people will start to see a change in your life, a change that makes you more like Christ.
However, this test works better when you have been a Christian for a long time. Christians grow over the course of their life and so it is easier to see change over time. If you only recently became a convert, not much will have changed yet. What you should be looking for most of all are things we mentioned before. Have you repented and do you believe the gospel? If you do, you are saved and soon your life will change as a result.
In summary, repentance and belief in the gospel are the only requirements to be saved but a change of life will give another level of assurance that you are saved. I would urge you today with the words spoken to a man who asked to be saved "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- John 3:16-21
- 1 John 2:1-6
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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