This is one of the most common questions that we get at SeekFind.net. It seems that many people are unsure about their salvation.
“I believe I have been saved. I was so worried about my death and what would happen if I died, and I knew I had no place in heaven. I found my wife’s Bible and read for hours, and I broke down in my heart and I knew I had to change. I didn’t outright ask Jesus into my heart, but I knew I needed Him in my heart right there. The next morning, I was so down about how my life was, my actions and perspective on life and realizing all my sins and how far I was from God. at the same time, I didn’t want the same things, I only wanted to be right with God. After a few weeks of being down, I began talking with some other Christians and I felt the hope Christ had provided for me. Currently, I am dealing with a lot of doubts of my salvation and whether or not I have received the Holy Spirit. Others tell me, “Yes,” because of the changes in my heart and awareness of sins. I get chills down my back and throughout my body when I pray sometimes and confess my sins, and when I speak of Christ to others. How do I know if I have received the Spirit? My pastor and many others have told me it is given when we are saved? I need to know. The doubt is growing and eating my heart.”
No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit of God. “You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute [incapable of articulate speech] idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:2-3) If you believe that Jesus is your savior from sin, death, and the power of the devil, you have the Holy Ghost. No one can want to serve Jesus without the Holy Ghost. If you say that Jesus is your Lord and you are His servant, His slave, then you are born again.
Being born again is the first part of being saved. Saved is a more comprehensive word than “born again.” This may be a new concept to many Christians, but study the phrase “born again” and the terms “saved” and “salvation” through the Bible and you will see the difference. (Some helpful links are included.) Many Christians never have a true confidence that they have been born again because they have been taught a false idea that being born again is the whole story and the end of all the things that God is doing. Sometimes they are taught a very extreme view of eternal security that leaves no understanding of what it is to grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4) or to come to manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8).
Some theories, based on the Bible plus rationalism, make it difficult to know if you are born again. Some people think that the whole Gospel is about being born again, getting other people born again, and then going to heaven. In conflict with this viewpoint is the fact that most of the New Testament is written to people who have already been born again. And most of it does not talk about witnessing to the unsaved. It talks about growing up. When we are born again, we are babies who need to grow up. With some of these theories, much of the Bible is rationalized away.
Every line of the Bible is real and applies today. When someone says that certain parts no longer apply, that becomes confusing because it is a lie. Yet, we humans like to explain away the parts that we don’t particularly like, so you will have people explaining parts away. Some want to do sexual sin so they explain that away. Some want to be saved without Jesus, so they explain that part away. Some want to set up the Church the way they want the Church to be, so they explain those parts of the Scripture away. Some want to stick with doctrines that are not true, so they explain other parts of the Bible away. Typically, you will hear, “Oh, that was for the apostolic age.” or “You can’t take the Bible literally.” or some such.
Here are some pages you may want to study:
“Is being baptized like this necessary to enter Heaven? And I have been praying to be filled with the Holy spirit, but I have not had any spiritual miraculous gifts or tongues. I just want to find the true way of Jesus.”
In Scripture and in my experience, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is different from having the Holy Spirit move on you. It is like the difference between being sprinkled with water as opposed to the experience of diving into the deep water and going fully under the water. I believe that Jesus was speaking about the born again experience when He said that we must be born of water and of Spirit–Actually, the original just says “Water Spirit.” It could have just as well been translated as the water of the Spirit since Water is a type of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus spoke of the fountain springing up in His followers, I believe that He was referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are incidents in the Book of Acts that point up this difference… especially when Paul asked about 12 believers whether or not they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit since they believed. They were born again but had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Paul laid hands on them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke in tongues. This is a pattern that God gives us in Scripture.
I can tell you this: when I got baptized in the Holy Ghost, God gave me a whole new level of dedication and also understanding. It has helped me to keep growing in Christ. Often, it is the only thing that has sustained me. I don’t know how people cope without it.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not given because you are holy. It is given to make you holy. When you speak in tongues of angels, you are built up in your spirit, but your mind/soul is not built up. This type of tongues is for private use. Those who have the gift of tongues speak in the tongues of men that they have never learned and it is a miracle as a witness to the unbeliever. We need that gift more fully restored to the Church.
The Scriptural pattern for receiving gifts of the Spirit is obvious. They are given by prophecy the laying on of hands of the presbytery (a gathering of elders). They are not discovered. They are given. God has directed us that no individual give personal prophecy over any other person. It is a group and, so far, God has instructed us that an apostle must be among the members of the presbytery. Also, this is only done at the direction of the Holy Spirit. So, there is a clear pattern in Scripture, but God has place some further restrictions on us, at least for the present, through His leading.
To talk about the pattern for referring gifts, the pattern of apostles has to be mentioned. Without the apostles, this order would go wild with all sorts of fleshly manifestations. God had to restore the office of the apostle, or else none of this could have really taken place. That office was restored in the mid-twentieth century. Since that time, and especially in the last few years, there have been many “apostles” springing up all over the place. Whether they are truly sent from God, I don’t know. I do know, by their works, that some of them are total frauds. There will always be counterfeits of everything that God does, but that doesn’t make the real any less real. You can see in Scripture that the apostles established the doctrine in all the local churches. Apostles didn’t pastor local Churches. They traveled. Apostles. No apostle had authority to teach his own doctrine. They taught the apostle’s doctrine. They got together to get the mind of God when there was a controversy as there was in Acts 15.
“What about being baptized in the Spirit? Is that different? Is it necessary? Is it the only way to unveil the gifts God shall work through us?”
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is absolutely NOT necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You are born into the Kingdom of Heaven by belief (faith) in Jesus. Actually, the faith is imparted to you by the Holy Ghost and this faith is what causes you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Whoever is born again will go to heaven and not go to hell. Satan tries to shake you by saying that maybe you haven’t got enough faith or have the wrong kind offaith, but it takes very little faith to be born again. Think of it this way. When you are born, you are a baby. How much responsibility does a baby really have?
When we are born again, we are saved from total slavery to Satan. We are saved to the condition that allows us to yield to the Holy Spirit and to allow God’s Grace to do His works through us. Works are part of salvation. They are a free gift. Righteousness is a free gift that comes with salvation. You can see this if you prayerfully read through Romans.
Speaking in the unknown tongue builds you up and gives you power to walk and to hold up under the attacks of Satan, but if you never received the gift of speaking in tongues, you would go right to heaven if you were to die. Of course, our lives are not just about making it to heaven should we die. The fact is that the Bible talks about growing to the fullness of Christ. That is the purpose of the Church. The Church is a very specific Body that is being formed and built according to the pattern of Scripture. It is being built by God, the master builder. We all walk toward that maturity, but if we die before the Church walks into this blessed state of maturity, then we go right to heaven. And even if a Christian is not faithful and walks in sin, that Christian will find that they are in heaven–although Jesus said that those who sin and encourage other Christians to sin will have the lowest place in the Kingdom of Heaven.