Christianity Today had a column on the assurance of salvation, addressing the question of how can you know you are saved if you can’t remember the moment of your conversion. Read it here. The conclusion:
For those who question their salvation, the best evidence is not the memory of having raised a hand or prayed a prayer. Nor is it having been baptized or christened. The true test of the authentic work of God in one’s life is growth in Christ-like character, increased love for God and other people, and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25; James 2:18). A memorable conversion experience may serve as an important referent to God’s saving work in one’s life. But the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in making a person more like Jesus is the clearest indicator that one has been made a new creation in Christ.
Internetmonk replies, “The ‘best evidence’ is ‘growth’ in ‘love’ and ‘fruit.’ Being more ‘like Jesus.’ Good grief. Can anyone spell ‘despair?’”
Trusting how good we are for our salvation? Getting assurance from how much we are like Jesus? It isn’t downplaying good works to question whether one can find assurance of one’s salvation by measuring oneself by Jesus! We should indeed do that, and the result should be conviction of our sin, followed by the realization that this Jesus has borne that sin and imputed to us His righteousness. (See post below.)
Internetmonk (a.k.a. Michael Spenser) goes on to refute the column in detail. Assurance of salvation, he says, comes from believing that you are a sinner and that Jesus died for your sins. That is to say, JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.