Can one be confused about whether they are saved or not? Is the verse that says “You know you have have passed death to life if you love the brethren” a good measuring stick to be sure of your salvation?
We know that the Lord is not the author of confusion. I Corinthians 14:33 says, “For GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION, BUT OF PEACE, as in all churches of the saints.” When a person looks to the Lord, there is peace, not confusion. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Who, then, is the author of confusion? II Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I fear, lest by any means, AS THE SERPENT BEGUILED EVE THROUGH HIS SUBTLETY, SO YOUR MINDS SHOULD BE CORRUPTED from the simplicity that is in Christ.” It is Satan that is the author of confusion. We see in Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, YEA, HATH GOD SAID, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Satan tried to confuse Eve, and get her to doubt and question what God had really said. (And, by the way, that is exactly what Satan has done in this generation with the multitude of Bible translations and preachers who are “Bible-correctors.” What has God said? The preacher stands up and says, “This verse really says…… in the Greek.” “This word or phrase should not be here…..” “This is a copyist’ error here in this verse…” The preacher is preaching out of one version, and the people in the pews cannot hardly follow along, because their version reads differently than the preacher’s. People in the pews are saying, or thinking, “What has God really said?”) Remember, GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION. If a person is confused about salvation, then that person is obviously either not saved, or is not looking to the Lord, but is listening to someone else.
How do we get “close” to the Lord? It is through Him talking to us (through His Word), and us talking to Him (through prayer). There is only one place to get FAITH, and that is from the BIBLE. Romans 10:17 says, “So then FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, and hearing by THE WORD OF GOD.” What is the source of a person doubting his salvation? A lack of faith. Where is the only place to get faith? From God’s Word, the Bible. You either ARE saved, or you are NOT saved, and it is only the Spirit of God working through the Word of God that will reveal which is true in your life. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Faith is NOT a “blind leap in the dark” as many try to define it. Faith is a SURE, POSITIVE thing that has PROOF in writing to substantiate it. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.” When you enter court with “substance” and with “evidence” for your position, then you will be the victor in a court of true justice. In other words, FAITH WINS in the COURT OF HEAVEN. Faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
When we set out to please God, He gladly comes close to us. James 4:4-11 says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. DRAW NIGH TO GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NIGH TO YOU. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”
When a person gets close to God, then he washes his hands of sin. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, YE SINNERS; AND PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, YE DOUBLE-MINDED.” When we have a desire to get close to God, then we are also going to have the desire to wash our hands of sin, and get far away from it.
Being “double-minded” is a HEART PROBLEM, according to the above verse, “purify your hearts, ye double minded.” If you want to cure a double-minded, doubting person, then you are going to have to deal with his heart.
James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But LET HIM ASK IN FAITH, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A DOUBLE MINDED MAN IS UNSTABLE IN ALL HIS WAYS.”
Being “double-minded” is a heart problem CAUSED FROM A LACK OF FAITH. A lack of faith is CAUSED FROM NOT SPENDING TIME IN GOD’S WORD. Remember Romans 10:17? “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
SIN brings DOUBT and CONFUSION into a person’s life. Proverbs 28:1 says, “THE WICKED FLEE WITH NO MAN PURSUETH: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” The wicked person is always running and afraid, because he is afraid that his sin will catch up with him. The righteous person is glad to see the police officer, but when a wicked person sees the police car, he is afraid, and wonders if the police will come after him. Proverbs 4:18,19 says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” A life of sin brings confusion; whereas a life of righteousness brings confidence. II Corinthians 5:6-8 says, “Therefore we are always CONFIDENT, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT:) We are CONFIDENT, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
The Book of 1 John teaches the same truth. I John 5:11-15 says, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the CONFIDENCE that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Part of your question was, “Is the verse that says “You know you have have passed death to life if you love the brethren” a good measuring stick to be sure of your salvation?”
Make sure that you understand that CONFIDENCE OF SALVATION DOES NOT COME THROUGH WEIGHING OUR WORKS, BUT THROUGH TRUSTING IN THE FINISHED WORK OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS. John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.” A person is saved by placing his or her faith in the Lord for salvation, and in Him alone. At that moment, we have passed from death unto life.
I John chapter 3 also uses that phrase “passed from death unto life.” “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
The context there is that the Lord loved us enough to give His life for us, but the world does not love us. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” God saw our need, and met it with His Son, Jesus Christ. How can we, then, do less with other Christians? As we think about these things, WE REALIZE THAT THERE HAS BEEN A DRASTIC CHANGE IN OUR LIVES THAT ONLY GOD COULD HAVE DONE. We now love righteousness, instead of evil. We now love Christians, instead of wicked, vile people. Proverbs 29:27 says, “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”
It is those things, when meditated upon, that are an evidence that we are indeed saved. Our whole lives have changed. Our desires have changed. The things we enjoy have now changed. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.”
If there is any doubt in your mind about whether you are saved, then get it settled once and for all. Write down the date. Follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. And from then on, rest on the written Word of God that you are saved and going to heaven.