“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Is our only foundation for salvation the feeling that we are saved? If it is, then we had better be right about its reality! Feelings are not an adequate test for assurance for they change like the weather. The apostle Paul encourages us to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith, for there will be many standing at the Judgement Throne who had deluded themselves into thinking they were saved on earth. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). To these the Lord will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). How terrifying it must be to discover that Hell is your final destination rather than Heaven.
The delusion about salvation
It is good to state that we are sure we are saved, but our assurance must stand upon solid facts rather than feelings or positive confessions. The evidence of salvation is not a mere affirmation of the word of God or trust in a baptism certificate, for even the devil can declare that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Saying the “sinners prayer” cannot be the only grounds upon we build our faith, for unless there has been true repentance and faith towards God, such a prayer is meaningless. How many drunkards say this prayer but continue to booze their way through life and disregard the plain warning of 1 Corinthians 6:10 and Galatians 5:21, “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God … Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”? They are deluding themselves if they think they can sing the songs of Zion with a beer glass in their hands.
The evidence of salvation
Each of us has to examine whether we stand firmly upon the word of God or are just believing that we are saved because some preacher said we are. No one can confirm our salvation for us; it is a matter we must take up with the Lord with an open Bible before us. Thankfully God has placed within His word the way we can test our faith in Him. In 1 John 5:13 it is written, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” The apostle John offers us three tests to determine if our profession of Christ is sound or not. If we examine ourselves according to these we will know our true state.
 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1 John 5:1-2). The greatest commandment of all is for us to truly love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. How can someone claim to be a Christian if he does not love the Lord in this way? We love Him because His forgiveness and mercy were abundantly poured out upon us even while we were lost in sin and death (Romans 5:8, 20). This love for God is further evidenced by our love for those who belong to Him, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now” (1 John 2:9). Whatever we think we have, it is certainly not saving faith, if we hate others. “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:15-17).
 The second test directly relates to our love for God. Holy living, or obediently serving God, is another way we can examine ourselves. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:2-3). A believer who loves God literally desires to serve Him by walking in holiness and righteousness, a less a thought is unknown to such a one. This applied righteousness overcomes the flesh with all its passions. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-6). These are the ones who have eternal life. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17). Basically this is evidence that divine love has blossomed into a holy life.
 The third test is the witness of the Holy Spirit. “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son” (1 John 5:6-9). We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lived, died for our sins, rose again, and will return exactly as He said He would. In other words, we must accept that Jesus alone is the Saviour of the world. This is not mere mental assent to the words written in the Bible, but instead it is also, and here is something the unsaved do not have, the inward witness of the Spirit. The witness is impossible for those who neither love nor serve God. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son” (1 John 5:10).
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Feelings are no substitute for faith. If we love and serve God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, then the Holy Spirit will assure us that we are saved. Anything less than this is a delusion and proves that we are still lost. If the love for God is at the very centre of our lives, and we express that love by serving Him and His people, then the Spirit will guide us. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Assurance is the privilege of the believer, so if we do not have it, then we must find out why by going to Him who can give it to us.