God wants believers to be assured of their salvation. He wants them to know without doubt that, having repented and trusted in Jesus, they have eternal life and will never perish (John 3:16; 6:47; 10:28; Heb 6:11,17-20; 7:25; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:12-13). God promises believers eternal security, and his promises are certain. God is faithful, and his promises can be trusted (John 6:37; Rom 10:13; 1 Thess 5:24; 2 Tim 2:19; Heb 10:22-23; 1 Peter 1:5).

The response of believers

These great facts are all concerned with what God has done, and they are the basis of true assurance. In addition, however, believers are aware within themselves that they are children of God (Rom 8:16). This added assurance within believers comes from a variety of experiences relating to their new life. Such experiences include their desire to obey God (1 John 2:3-6), their sensitivity to sin (2 Tim 2:19; 1 John 3:4-10,19-21), their awareness of God’s discipline in their lives (Heb 12:5-8), their love for others (1 John 3:14-15), their desire to know more of God and his Word (1 Peter 2:2-3), and their constant perseverance in the faith (Mark 4:18-20; 1 Peter 1:6-9; Heb 6:11-12). Without these evidences of a changed life, those who claim to have assurance of salvation are deceiving themselves (Titus 1:16; 1 John 2:4,9-11; 3:10; cf. Matt 7:22-23, 25:41-46). (See also BACKSLIDING; PERSEVERANCE.)

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