Can We Trust Our Feelings About Salvation?
by Mike Johnson
Some people claim to rely solely on their feelings for assurance of personal salvation. They may say, "I know that I am saved because I feel that I am." They will often ignore very plain passages in the Bible about salvation because of a "feeling" that they have. Some are heard to say, as they pat their chest, "I would not give up this feeling that I have in my heart for all of the Bibles in the world." Are our feelings the correct way to determine if we are saved or not?
Suppose we were to ask the attendant at a delicatessen for a pound of sliced ham. What would we do if the person got some meat and said, "This feels like a pound, four dollars please"? We would probably ask the person to weigh the meat.
Further, many people have felt fine just prior to the time that they died. Thus, feelings are not always reliable as to our physical health. There are many examples in secular matters that could be given which would show clearly that feelings are not always reliable.
Consider the Old Testament example of Jacob. He was deceived by his sons into thinking that his son, Joseph, was dead, but his feelings were wrong (Genesis 37).
We must be careful about our feelings in religious matters also as they can be incorrect. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death." Again, Solomon said, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26). Saul is another example here when he was persecuting Christians. He thought he was doing right (Acts 26:9), and he could have said, "I know how I feel!" However, clearly, he was wrong.
How can we know if we are saved or not? We can turn to the Bible and see if we have done what it says. Feelings change, but the Bible is a safe, steady standard. John wrote in I John 5:13, "These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God." One of the things that John had written is found in I John 2:17 which says, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." We can know that we are saved when we have done what the Bible says. Let us not be guilty of using our feelings as a standard instead of the Word of God.