Certain Knowledge

We also need to consider the certainty of salvation.  Most Christians agree that followers of Christ can have certain knowledge of their salvation.  Yet how could our understanding of salvation be so radically different from one another with each claiming that they are certain?  Someone is claiming to be certain, but just as certainly is confused or deceived!

The Bible confirms in I John 5:13 (WEB) that we can have certain knowledge of salvation.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Let's consider our four categories of salvation, each in turn, to see if they reasonably allow for this certain knowledge of eternal life.


This view is rejected by nearly everyone calling themselves Christian, so we have not been giving it much attention.  Furthermore, it seems doubly impossible that certain knowledge of salvation can be known in this quadrant.  If Christ only did PART of salvation for PART of mankind, how could you be absolutely sure that you met the condition required for salvation?  You would have to rely on your own evaluation of your performance, yet on judgment day only God's evaluation will matter, not yours.  Then, even if you did make the grade since Christ only died for PART of mankind, perhaps you are not even in the winning subset chosen for salvation, even if you met your condition for salvation.  For example, the Jehovah Witnesses used to believe that only 144,000 were saved according to Revelation Chapter 7.  However, when their own adherents exceeded 144,000, they joined the rest of Christians interpreting that number as symbolic.  The point is that certain knowledge of salvation is doubly impossible with this model.


Arminian Christians claim that free will "faith" is the condition that secures their salvation.  Jesus did PART of salvation, but left the final PART to be performed by each individual person: the condition of faith.  God built the house, but the free will act of faith is the key that unlocks the door.  However, since faith is the final condition required to unlock salvation, then true security and certainty of salvation is ultimately dependent upon the so called free will act of "faith" instead of directly and fully on finished work of Christ.  Ultimately the adherents to this view must trust in their "trust" for certain knowledge of salvation.  Rather than humbly entering Heaven saying "Christ died for me," they will instead boast, "I trusted Christ!"  They can have no true security with this foolishness because they can never be absolutely sure that their act of "faith" is authentic and sufficient to guarantee salvation. They will agree that some are deceived with false faith and are not saved while others have true faith and are saved.  However, if salvation doctrine leaves any condition for salvation with man, then man ultimately cannot have certainty of salvation.  My Calvinist friends will acknowledge this point.


Calvinist Christians claim to have faith fully on and directly in Christ.  Their understanding of "faith" is radically different from the Arminian Christian.  For Arminians, "faith" is the condition satisfied by the free will choice of a subset of mankind, though salvation is available to all.  The question as to why some sinful people would choose faith while others do not is left unanswered by Arminians.  However, for Calvinists, "faith" is not a condition to win God's love, but instead an act of obedience commanded for all God's chosen people, enabled only by the Holy Spirit.  In their understanding, "faith" does not activate salvation, but instead is the fruit of being born again.  In the case of the Calvinist, salvation is only available for the chosen subset of mankind.  Only those people targeted by God's grace will ever come to faith.  Some Calvinists argue that possession of faith is proof that you are God's chosen.  But again with this understanding, faith itself becomes the object of confidence rather than Christ himself.  Either way knowledge of salvation for the Calvinist requires confidence that they are part of the chosen subset.  So, according to reason, they cannot have true security either.  Faith must be based on facts and the critical fact we have is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of ALL mankind.  Everything we objectively know according to the Bible is that the work of Christ is equally applied to every single human being that ever lived.  Christ has replaced Adam as the new federal head of humanity as explained in Romans Chapter 5.  Thus, faith that Christ saved only a portion of mankind is an impossibility and totally unbiblical.  Adherents of this view are in fact trusting in their imagination.  Again, fear of eternal damnation inspired their imagination to hope that God loves them and the minority, because they think that God hates and damns the majority.  How sad!  My Arminian friends will acknowledge this point.


So at this point in the discussion most Christians will attempt to find middle ground to stand upon between the Arminian and Calvinist views.  One man said to me that he is a four and one half point Calvinist.  Others will say that they are not Calvinist, but instead "Calvinistic."  I have even heard the term "Calminian" and "Arminisitic" as attempts to find the middle ground.  However, when I introduced my Four Square Salvation Evaluator, we agreed that our two questions needed to be answered absolutely with only one of two answers possible.  Did Christ do PART or ALL of salvation for those who are finally saved?  If even one condition is required of mankind, no matter how small, then Jesus only did PART.  Did Christ intend his salvation for PART or ALL of mankind?  The two answers to these two questions now drive us to consider the ALL for ALL quadrant in our Salvation Evaluator.

Only the view that Christ did ALL for ALL of mankind allows for the certainty of salvation that is promised in Scripture.  Only this view allows a believing person to say to their unbelieving neighbor with great confidence, "God loves you, me, and all mankind, but the only difference between you and me is that you do not believe it and are in grave danger of punishment for dishonoring Christ, God's only son who died for us!"