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Can I Know if Someone Else is Saved?

posted May 30, 2016, 8:57 AM by William Masopust   [ updated May 30, 2016, 8:58 AM ]

To answer this question, I will cite John Calvin's Commentary on Philippians 1:6. That verse says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Calvin said this in his commentary:

"It is asked whether any one can be certain as to the salvation of others, for Paul here is not speaking of himself but of the Philippians. I answer, that the assurance which an individual has respecting his own salvation, is very different from what he has as to that of another. For the Spirit of God is a witness to me of my calling, as he is to each of the elect. As to others, we have no testimony, except from the outward efficacy of the Spirit; that is, in so far as the grace of God shows itself in them, so that we come to know it. There is, therefore, a great difference, because the assurance of faith remains inwardly shut up, and does not extend itself to others. But wherever we see any such tokens of Divine election as can be perceived by us, we ought immediately to be stirred up to entertain good hope, both in order that we may not be envious toward our neighbors, and withhold from them an equitable and kind judgment of charity; and also, that we may be grateful to God. This, however, is a general rule both as to ourselves and as to others—that, distrusting our own strength, we depend entirely upon God alone."