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Assurance of Salvation

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 5:9–11

The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ not only saves us but also secures us. Faith in Him gives us the assurance of knowing we are saved, reconciled, and safe in Him forever.


Queen Victoria once attended a service in St. Paul’s Cathedral and listened to a sermon that interested her greatly. Afterwards she asked her chaplain, “Can one be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?” His answer was that he knew no way that one could be absolutely sure. Well, this brief conversation was published in the Court News and came to the notice of a minister named John Townsend. After reading of Queen Victoria’s question and the tragic answer she received, he prayed for wisdom and then sent the queen a note, asking her to read John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10.

About two weeks later, he received the following note:

I have carefully and prayerfully read the portions of Scripture referred to. I believe in the finished work of Christ for me, and trust by God’s grace to meet you one day in that place He has prepared for us in heaven.


The Queen did not just write him back a note of appreciation for his biblical counsel; she was overjoyed with her assurance of salvation in the work of Jesus Christ alone. In fact, she began carrying copies of a small booklet to give away. The title of the book was Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment.[1] These were the things she had discovered in Christ, and they provide us with an outline for our study.

Safety . . . certainty . . . enjoyment. I believe all three of these words could easily be categorically arranged under one word. It is a controversial word that expresses what many people do not have. It is even a key element in the creation of distinct denominations. Some call it “eternal security.” In a word, it is simply assurance.

In Romans chapter 5, Paul informs us of the wonderful assurance we have in Christ Jesus. And he informs us with three statements, presented here in verses 9 through 11.

The first statement is found in verse 9: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

You could write the word safety in the margin beside that verse. We are safe from something terrible; we are saved from the wrath of God.  

There are two different aspects of God’s wrath in the Bible. First, there is immediate wrath. That is the penalty people experience during their lifetime as a result of sinning against God’s moral standard. They can bear the penalty of a sexually transmitted disease or a prison sentence for murder. These are actually expressions of God’s wrath. Sin may be forgiven, but God’s anger against those sins may have lifelong consequences that we experience.

Consider the myriad of psychological and emotional penalties that come from marriages being broken and homes splitting up through infidelity or selfishness. Think of the stress and guilt when men and women hide their crimes. Think of the wear and tear on the mind and body—the high price for betrayal or embezzlement, greed or deception. When the seeds of sin are sown, penalties are reaped even in this lifetime. This is what we call the immediate wrath of God.

Second, there’s the ultimate wrath of God. This is future wrath—the promised wrath of God against all unbelievers. While a Christian might experience lifelong consequences of his sin—sin that is forgiven—the future wrath of God will be unending as unforgiven humanity stands before God and is judged and condemned to hell.

This is the wrath of God Paul is referring to here in Romans 5:9. He promises the believer this: “We [shall] be saved by [Christ] from the wrath of God”—from the eternal judgment of God.

Notice that Paul does not tell the believer here, “We hope to be saved from the wrath of God,” or “We think we will be saved from the wrath of God.” He does not say, “We are doing the best we can so we can be saved from the wrath of God.”

No! We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Christ. Why? As Paul writes it here, because “we have now been justified [past tense],” we “shall . . . be saved [future tense] . . . from the wrath of God.”

Beloved, when you understand what the Bible tells us about the wrath of God, there is nothing more assuring than knowing that we are safe in Christ. While we might suffer temporary consequences of our sin, we will never endure the ultimate, eternal consequences of sin. We are safe in Christ!

Now here is the second key phrase—verse 10:

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

You could write in the margin of your Bible next to this verse, the word certainty. We have not only been saved from something—God’s wrath; we have been saved by Someone—God’s Son.

Notice that in this verse we are told that salvation has everything to do with the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. Our certainty is all about Jesus Christ!

That third and final word Queen Victoria often shared with others was the word enjoyment. Safety, certainty, and enjoyment.

We have been saved from something—the eternal wrath of God. We have been saved by Someone—the Son of God. Now we learn that we have been saved for something! Paul writes this in verse 11:

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

To rejoice in God is the greatest of all human activities. The Westminster Shorter Catechism rightly declares that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Are you enjoying God today?

If not, Paul would remind you that you have been saved from the penalty of sin and saved for the praise of your Savior. Let me put it this way: you have been saved from the wrath of God, and you have been saved for the worship of God.

I once read that Albert Einstein, the great physicist who was honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century, was once traveling from a speaking engagement on a train. The conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, he reached into his vest pocket but could not find his ticket. He fumbled in his other pockets but could not produce a ticket. He looked in his briefcase but could not find it there either. Finally, the conductor smiled and said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket, so don’t worry about it.” Einstein nodded but did not seem relieved.

The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the brilliant physicist down on his hands and knees, looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are; it’s not a problem.” Einstein looked at him and said, “Sir, the problem isn’t that you might not know who I am; the problem is I can’t remember where I’m going.”[2]

This truth of assurance is our ticket to enjoy the journey! Paul has simply reminded us of who we are, where we have been, and where we are going! In light of that, can we do anything less, as Paul writes it here, than “rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” with enjoyment over our security forever?

Beloved, if you are saved, you have been saved from something—do not forget that! You have been saved by Someone—do not forget Him. You have been saved to something—do not fail to praise Him, your Deliverer and living Lord.

[1] Raymond Ferreira, Durban, South Africa, Sermon Illustrations,

[2] John Huffman, "Who Are You, and Where Are You Going?" Preaching Conference, 2002.        

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