Mountain climbing is one of the most dangerous things a person can do.
Yet, each year thousands of thrill-seekers attempt to scale the largest mountains in the world for a few precious minutes at the summit. Climbers face many obstacles for their 15 minutes of fame, from altitude sickness to avalanches to snow storms. When things go bad on an 8000-meter mountain, rescue isn’t a given, it is a miracle.
The highest-ever rescue took place on Nepal’s 26,545-foot Annapurna, the world’s tenth-highest peak. During the climbing season of 2010, three Spanish climbers were stranded at 22,900 feet due to a fierce snowstorm. Enter courageous and resourceful Swiss pilot, Capt. Daniel Aufdenblatten, who had no place to land on the mountainous terrain. With resourceful thinking, and an assist from his co-pilot, they dropped a long line and carefully extracted each climber off the mountain.
This act of bravery was a rescue against all odds.
God is also in the rescue business and, just like the heroic helicopter pilot, he miraculously saves sinners. My life has been transformed through the power of the gospel, and I now live to glorify, worship, and serve God. However, in my 13-plus years of walking with the Lord I have experienced the mountain tops where the view is glorious and the deep, dark valleys where sadness, confusion, and frustration were my constant companions. I have wandered through endless deserts for weeks on end, wondering why I hadn’t found the oasis.
During those challenging days I wondered whether I was saved. All of this brought me to the question: How does a person know they are saved?
The Object of Our Salvation
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:11-13 states:
And this is the testimony; that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
This was written by John, one of the 12 apostles, to believers who needed assurance that their salvation was real. Charles Spurgeon once said,
Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.
So assurance of our salvation starts with the Object of our salvation: Jesus Christ. Whoever has the Son has life, John says. He writes these things to Christians “who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The Fruit of our Salvation
As believers, many of us have prayed some sort of “Sinner’s Prayer,” inviting Christ to be Lord and Savior of our souls. Most of us have a salvation story that details who we were before Christ, how we met Christ, and how Christ has changed and is changing us. Our testimonies, which range from the simplistic to the dramatic, are a way for us to witness to others who do not have hope in Jesus Christ, while remembering what he has done for our souls.