There is a day appointed by God for the salvation of his elect, a day fixed from eternity when grace will come to the chosen sinner, an hour determined before the world began when the Good Shepherd will seek out and find his lost sheep. There is a time fixed before time began, called “the time of love,” when the predestined child, the elect sinner, redeemed by the blood of Christ, must be saved. At that hour, salvation must and shall come to the soul loved of God with an everlasting love.
Perhaps you are in such a state of mind that you are already asking yourself, perhaps you have been asking for some time, “If God is pleased to save me, if he is pleased to grant me life and grace in Christ, how will I know? How will I know when the Lord has saved me? How will I know that God has performed his work of grace in me?”
Before I show you from the Scriptures how you may know that God has saved you, I must give you a word of warning. A word of warning is needful. Experience is not the standard by which we must judge whether or not we are saved.
While there clearly is a pattern of grace revealed in the Word of God, it is only a pattern. There are several, specific things God does in and for sinners when he saves them by his grace. But the experience of grace differs widely. With some of God’s elect, conversion is an instantaneous, climatic, revolutionary experience, as it was with Saul of Tarsus. With others, it is a very gradual thing, as it was with the Ethiopian eunuch. We must never judge the validity of a person’s faith by the yardstick of our experience, or the validity of our faith by the yardstick of another’s experience. We examine our faith by the Word of God alone.
It is, also, a mistake to make the order in which we experience the various aspects of God’s grace a matter of great concern. Our perception of things in the experience of them is often very different from reality. For example: There is no question that the new birth is the cause of faith; but we know we are born again only after we believe. Repentance and faith are so closely mingled that it is impossible to distinguish one from the other, though they are separate graces. Election, redemption, and pardon all come before we believe; but we experience them only by believing. So the order in which we experience, or perceive, God’s grace is not important in so far as our assurance is concerned.
Only one thing is really important in this matter, only one question must be answered, only one issue must be settled. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” You will know that God has saved you, that you are chosen, redeemed, and called by grace, when you find yourself believing the gospel. Do you believe? If you do, the Lord has sought you out and found you by his grace.