Confess, ask, believe, receive: These are four steps to the assurance that you have been saved.
1. CONFESS - The Bible tells us in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".
If I flip the light switch, the light will shine. If I turn the key, the car will start. If I confess my sins, God will forgive my sins. It all depends on me. I have to confess.
Remember that God has promised to forgive. Isaiah 43:25 tells us that, " I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins". And Micah 7:19 says, "You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea".
Don't try to do God's work for Him. This is where our doubt of our salvation comes in, because we're basing our salvation on our works. We need to base our salvation on Jesus Christ and His works, His righteousness. That's where we get assurance from. To confess means to admit your sins in sorrow, and let Jesus give you the victory.
2. ASK - In Luke 11:9, we are taught that we should ask and God will answer. It's up to us to do the asking. Eternal life is a gift. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Can you earn a gift? At Christmas time, can you earn your gifts? At birthday times, can you earn a gift? You can't do it. And salvation is a gift. It's not a wage. We cannot earn it or any part of it. We cannot save ourselves.
If you ask Jesus to save you, he will save you because He has promised to be your Savior. If we receive Christ and His salvation, we are saved, and we're saved right now. I John 5:12 say,s "He who has the Son has life"! It's that simple. If you have Jesus you have eternal life.
3. BELIEVE - John 6:40 says, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Believe! You need to believe. Not like a person believes in skydiving. I believe in skydiving, but I avoid it.
Blondin, who is considered to be one of the greatest tightrope-walkers of all time, became famous for crossing Niagra Falls on a tightrope. In 1860 a Royal party from Britain that included the Prince of Wales saw Blondin cross the tightrope on stilts, and again blindfolded. After that he stopped halfway across and cooked and ate an omelet. Next he wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other, and returned with a sack of potatoes in it. Then Blondin approached the Royal party. He asked the Prince of Wales, "Do you believe I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?" "Yes, I do", said the Prince. "Hop in, then", replied Blondin. Well, the Prince declined Blondin's challenge. He might have believed Blondin could do it, but he wasn't about to trust him with his life.
You need to believe in salvation with all your heart. We have to trust Jesus. If you can have that relationship with Jesus, you have eternal life. Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved".
So, we confess our sins to Him, we ask Him for salvation, and we believe that He does save us. And then...
4. RECEIVE - You must receive it. At Christmas you're never going to enjoy what's inside that package unless you receive it and open it, are you? It won't happen. Salvation must be received. You can't believe that it is yours and not take it or use it. You must receive it.
Here is an illustration to answer the question, how do I know I am saved? What is the difference between a hog and a sheep? If they both happen to come up to a mud puddle and fall in the mud puddle, one difference is the hog enjoys it. He's down in it making the most of it. He's in hog heaven, a mud hole.
What happens to the sheep when he falls in the mud hole? Does he like it? No! He wants to get out of there. And when he gets out, is he happy with the mud that's on his wool? No! He says, "Please wash me. Make me white again." Do you see the difference between a hog and a sheep? They both end up in the mud puddle occasionally by accident, but the sheep hates it. He can't stand it. That's how you know the difference between a hog and a sheep.
If you sin, and you think, "that was kind of enjoyable. I'd like to do that again." You may be a hog. But, if you get in that mudhole, if you sin, and you hate it, and when you get out of it you say to God, "please forgive me. Please cleanse me." That's a mark of a true Christian.
Do you know that you're saved? Every morning Jesus renews His love with you, He's there. He's real. Believe and trust in Jesus and you're going to be with Him in heaven. Remember: Confess, Ask, Believe and Receive. Jesus wants you to have the peace that comes from knowing that he has saved you.