There are many things in life that have no need of certainty. How did things like pogs, yoyos and crocs ever become national sensations? Why is it called a “pair of jeans” when we don’t call one half of a “pair” just a “jean”? What on earth really happened to Jeffrey Epstein?
This doesn’t simply apply to matters that have little bearing on our lives, either. Ultimately, what car or home we buy, where we work, and even who we choose to marry—while all being very important here and now—only matter for a finite period.
When you get down to it, only one thing in all of life has everlasting implications: whether I am saved.
The “I” part, of course, is not simply about Brian Rossiter but is about all of us. You must ask yourself the same question—am I saved? Ultimately, nothing else amounts to a blade of grass or clump of dirt if the answer to that question is no.
I have been asked many times throughout my ministry—typically by honest, God-fearing people—how (or if) we can know for sure that we are saved. My answer is always the same: Yes, we can know that we are saved.
Don’t worry; I plan to unpack the “how” part throughout this article.
However, we must briefly begin with what it means to be saved in the first place. Without an explanation of that, the rest could never make sense.
What is Salvation?
Acts 4:11-12 makes it clear that salvation is found only through one name: Jesus, the Son of God:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Jesus said these famous words concerning himself in John 14:6:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Further, this simple—but life-changing—reality is echoed multiple times and ways throughout the Bible:
“Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Those who truly seek the Lord will find salvation. This reality is made clear all throughout the New Testament, and was prophesied in the writings of the Old Testament.
Salvation is typically characterized with descriptions like “to save, help in distress, rescue, deliver, or set free.” While this often refers to perilous times or calamitous events, I am of course talking about something different.
Salvation, in the holistic sense, is about being forgiven for our sinful acts and spared the much-deserved consequences of these acts. Chiefly, salvation is about being spared from an everlasting sentence to hell (Gehenna) and instead being rewarded with everlasting life in the new heavens and new earth.
While many terms—like justification, regeneration, and sanctification—and some very involved issues—like the role of faith and works—are involved in the reality of salvation, it essentially comes down to my explanation above.
Being “saved” is something that begins when we invite Christ into our lives but has no ending; not in this life or the life of the world to come. Further, salvation is not something one seizes and then inherently possesses for the rest of time. Salvation is an unending process that we very much participate in.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purposes” (Phi. 2:12-13).
Salvation is an ongoing process that involves a continuous relationship with God, the results of which have indescribable—and everlasting—effects.
How Do We Know We Are Saved?
With a workable explanation of salvation in place, we are now prepared to answer the question raised in the title of this blog: Am I really saved?
I recall once running into a group of “evangelizers” at a festival and being asked if I was a believer. Trying to be polite, I said: “I know the Lord.” My courtesy was rewarded with this smug response: “Well, how do you know that you know Him?”
While this individual was clearly more invested in making a show of himself than assisting in my spiritual life—the group had banners, signs and such, after all—the truth is that the question is a vital one. How do we know that we know the Lord? How do we know that we are saved?
There are many ways that one could attempt to answer this question. We can certainly first understand this reality: we can know that we are saved because God tells each of us.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16).
The true believers will feel the Spirit of God’s indwelling presence and know that we are part of God’s family. This is both true and incredibly powerful. However, I want to suggest that there is more to this.
As previously mentioned, salvation is not simply a feeling or a “one and done” experience. Rather, salvation is an ongoing process that lasts throughout our lives here and in the hereafter. With that said, let me offer what I feel is an all-encompassing suggestion about how we can truly know we are saved, and pardon me for answering a question with a question. In this case, I feel it’s the most impactful way to appropriately frame the issue:
Are we becoming more like Christ or more like Adam?
That’s it. The answer to this question will determine if we are saved and, nearly as importantly, how we can know it. It’s truly that simple but, as with any serious theological discussion, a basic reality requires adequate unpacking.
My rationale for framing the matter this way is based on my understanding of the entire sinful predicament that we find ourselves in, and on Paul’s comparison of Adam and Jesus. Let’s briefly start with the former, which is a fundamental biblical teaching.
Our Fallen Nature
We live in a fallen world, and each of us possess a fallen nature. The world is out of sorts and has been since essentially the creation of our race. As I have pointed out in my most recent book, the Bible contains approximately zero chapters where the world operated as it was intended. At least, zero chapters that include the existence of human beings.
No sooner did God create His prized creatures that we mucked up the rest of “very good” world! The Fall of Man, as recorded in Genesis 3, reveals this plainly . Adam, being the first created human being, functioned as our representative; he was the “federal head” of humanity. When Adam fell, we fell. Because of this fateful decision—which was enabled by the evil lure of Satan—we are now born with corrupted bodies that must be transformed, just as we are born with a sinful human nature that must also be transformed.
This reality is literally the great predicament described in Scripture and is the very matter that God has been rectifying since that time. Ultimately, this will only be fully accomplished when Jesus returns and gives us new bodies that can marvelously dwell in the new world he will create.
All this means that we are born to be like Adam; we are born into his image and are under the control of the evil one. That’s our starting point, and there is nothing we can do to prevent that.
Jesus and Adam
Since we are born into Adam’s fallen image, the obvious conclusion is that we must somehow get out of his image. We must not—we cannot—be like him and expect to be saved. But how does one accomplish the task of being made into a different image?
The bottom line is that there is nothing we can do at all. We have no way of changing our starting point, or even our trajectory, on our own.
The “good news”—quite literally—is that we don’t have to. One facet of Jesus’ entrance into the world and his divine achievements is that he provided the only way to leave the image of Adam and be reborn into another image: his image.
Paul explains this clearly in several places. Of note, Romans 5:12-19 describes the contrast between the only two men in history that served as the heads of humanity. Adam—the “one man”—brought about sin, death, and condemnation to all people. Alternatively, Jesus—the “one man”—brought righteousness, life, and forgiveness to all who follow him.
Paul further explains in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus not only reversed the spiritual effects of Adam’s corruption, but also rectified the physical effects.
“If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man” (15:44-49).
That’s right: though our current bodies are frail and fallen, our resurrection bodies will be patterned after the glorious body of Jesus.
In these two sections of Scripture, Paul clearly contrasts Adam and Jesus, even calling Jesus the “last Adam.” This means that Jesus—being both fully man and fully God—was able to do what no one else could ever accomplish: replace Adam as the head of humanity.
Are you becoming more like Jesus, or are you remaining like Adam?
This is the pivotal question that we must all ask ourselves. If we are becoming more like Jesus, then we know that we are saved. This does not mean that we will lead spiritually flawless lives. Instead, it does mean that the trajectory of our lives is on the upswing.
It means that we are being spiritually transformed as we go along and are constantly improving: shedding the sinful nature and being transformed into the image of Christ.
A person who is not exhibiting spiritual growth is not saved, plain and simple. Every branch that bears no fruit will be cut off (Jn. 15:2). Every person who does not bear the fruits of the Spirit are indeed performing the acts of the flesh.
Everyone who is not becoming more like Christ is not only becoming more like Adam . . . but is, in fact, becoming something far worse than imagined.
In the end, there are only two paths to take in this life. Each of us are either walking with Christ or walking with Satan. We are either becoming more like Jesus or more like Adam. The former will lead to everlasting life, while the latter will conclude in everlasting condemnation.
The stakes could not be higher and, ultimately, nothing else—not your house, your job, your health, or even your family—means a thing if this issue is not settled in your life.
So, what about you—are you becoming more like Jesus or more like Adam?
I will continue to work this out in my own life and strive to be transformed into the image of the risen Savior. I pray that you will do the same.
For those interested in knowing more about the Bible in nearly every important way, please see my brand-new book, Simply Scripture. (I keep no proceeds from my books, but reinvest them into my ministry)
 See Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:21, and Romans 10:13 for a few examples.