Question: Is it right for a person to say that he is saved? In other words, may I know that I am saved, and if so, on what authority?
If you really are saved, you may know it on the authority of God's Word. God says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life" You know whether you believe in the Son or not. If you do believe in the Son, you know you have everlasting life because God says so here in so many words.
This is also emphasized in 1 John 5:11-12: "And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." When one who believes in the Son doubts that he has life, he makes God a liar! This is indicated in the preceding verse, where we read: "He who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son" (v. 10).
Furthermore, anyone who has received Jesus as his Saviour and Lord and King may know that he is a child of God. God says so in so many words in John 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God." If you have received Jesus, you have a right to call yourself a child of God. You have no right to doubt that you are a child of God.
Again, everyone who believes in Jesus has a right to know that he is justified, that his sins are all forgiven, and that God regards him as righteous in Christ. He has a right to know it on the very best authority, namely, because God says so. We read in Acts 13:38-39: "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things." Notice that it says, "Everyone who believes is justified." You know whether you believe or not. If you do believe in Jesus, God says you are justified. Many people doubt their salvation because they rely on their feelings instead of looking at the Word of God. It is not at all a question of whether you "feel" that you are a child of God; it is simply a question of what God says. If you rely on your feelings instead of the Word of God, you make God a liar for the sake of your own feelings.
God caused the book of 1 John to be written for the very purpose that everyone who believes in the Son of God might know that he has eternal life: "These things [are] written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). If God caused a book of the Bible to be written so that we might know this, then certainly we may know it. The above verse teaches us that the way to know it is from what is "written". The first thing to be sure of is that you really do believe in Jesus - that you really have received Him as your Saviour, surrendered to Him as your Lord and Master, and confessed Him as such publicly. When you are sure of this - [and are sure that yours is NOT an intellectual belief only], you may be absolutely sure that you are saved, that you have eternal life, that your sins are totally forgiven, and that you are a child of God.
~R. A. Torry~