“The testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1John 5:11-13
Assurance of salvation begins with the sinner’s prayer and the name of Jesus on our lips, and it grows as the nature of Jesus transforms our lives from the inside out. Salvation isn’t in a prayer, an altar call, or in a baptismal tank; it’s in a Person. “He who has the Son has the life.” Jesus said, “I am the way and truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by Me.” (John 14:6)
God doesn’t want us to live trying to be accepted by Him. We get to start the Christian life with assurance that salvation is not about our performance, but Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on our behalf. We begin being accepted, forgiven, loved, and favored as God’s very own children. (1John 3:1-3) To be in God’s family and to take His name is a great privilege, and God’s will for each of us.
But we must remain in Jesus to be saved. We can’t reject the ongoing relationship and expect that an event in our past will save us; that’s presumption and produces a false assurance. Jesus said it this way, “If anyone does not remain in Me they are cut off like a branch that withers and is thrown into the fire.” (John 15:6)
Jesus is the Friend of sinners and He takes all that come to Him just as they are. (John 6:37) But we must receive Him just as He is, and He is both Savior and Lord. We can’t take the benefits of forgiveness and reject the call to follow Him. Here’s another way of saying it: We can’t just add Jesus to our life and expect to be saved. Jesus must become our life, and following Him must be our primary identity.