If there are unmistakable events or experiences that prove "true" salvation, how would we then be able to discern a deceptive event or experience that was administered by Satan? Isn't this why faith is required instead of visible proof? I believe it protects us from the power of Satan, "the god of this world" and master of deception, along with his false "ministers of righteousness".

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Please provide actual scripture from our apostle Paul's epistles (Romans through Philemon) that states where we will experience an immediate event or experience that would confirm our eternal salvation aside from having faith alone in Jesus Christ and the work that He completed on the cross on our behalf.

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    Not sure this is a supportable answer which you are asking. Seems unclear to me what exactly you are referring to. Please provide actual scripture from our apostle Paul's epistles (Romans through Philemon) that states where we will experience an immediate event or experience that would confirm our eternal salvation aside from having faith alone in Jesus Christ and the work that He completed on the cross on our behalf. Ephesians 3:2 states the following: Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 2 at 21:37
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4 Answers 4


Those saved by Jesus have crossed over from death unto life. Not only does common sense tell us that such an extreme change should be experienced but the New Testamant is also quite clear on this point. I will offer just one example as it is, in my estimation, the most ubiquitous amongst those who are born again by grace through faith.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. - Galatians 5:16-17

Here is something that the apostle Paul fully expects the Galatian believers (and by extension, us) to experience that is brand new and unique to their/our salvation in Christ. Prior to salvation there is no Spirit of Christ living within a person and lusting against the desires of the flesh.

After salvation (you must be born again) there is an internal resistance to the desires of the flesh which was not there before and the experience of this battle is "that ye cannot do the things that ye would". This sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:2), may be experienced as differently by each believer as there are differences between believers but it is expected, by Paul, to be a proof of life experienced by everyone who is born from above.

To expect the third person of the Triune God to take up residence within a person all unnoticed by that person is a notion that is entirely absent in Paul's epistles. For some there may be a dramatic suddenness but for all there is expected to be an increasing experience of His presence over time.

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    Excellent point. Very true to my own experience. Much appreciated. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 9 at 2:14
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    Weeks after I was saved, I sacrificed my own happiness in a significant way to help another person. I would never have done such a thing previously. I remember that a few months after that, I would be walking down the street, making plans when a foreign influence rejected that plan and suggested another. It went back and forth like this for weeks. It was the strangest sensation. Commented Feb 9 at 12:46
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    @PaulChernoch Yep. My conversion was very, very dramatic at age 37 (many are uncomfortable with my testimony) and my youngest daughter has no memory of hers at all at age 4. We both have experienced the influence of the H.S. over the years. Commented Feb 9 at 13:05

Is there scripture stating we will realize an unmistakable event or experience immediately upon salvation during God's Ephesians 3:2 "age of grace"?

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you. - Ephesians 3:2

Unless one denies that St. Paul’s conversion was realized through an such an unmistakable event and experience which opened the doors of grace and salvation! This in itself is a great example.

On January 25 each year the Catholic Church celebrates the Conversion of St. Paul, as one of the greatest events of the Early Church. St. Paul a student of the great Pharisee rabbi Gamaliel, had persecuted Christians, but was suddenly converted on the road to Damascus when Our Lord appeared to him in his resurrected glory (Acts 9:1-9). The this time forward he would be called the Apostle of the Gentiles.

Now if Our Lord can challenge the doubting Thomas and make him believe, this could happen in our age of grace.

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:24-29

St. Paul often writes about conversions and converts; but does not elaborate into the circumstances of individual conversions whether or not the were due to specific events or simply through much reflection and prayer!

  • And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas. Who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.” Here the word “convert” refers to people who had converted to the Jewish religion. - Acts 13:43

  • Romans 16:5: Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.” Paul refers to Epaenetus as the first ‘convert’ in Asia, that is, he was the first Christian believer. - Romans 16:5

  • Now I urge you, brothers – you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia. And that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints…” As in Romans 16:5, the word ‘converts’ here also refers to the first believers in the Achaia. - 1 Corithians 16:15

  • He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.” In this verse, Paul is describing the qualities that a church elder must have; the qualification is that he must not be a recent ‘convert’, that is, a recent believer. - 1 Timothy 3:6

  • 12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. - 2 Corinthians 12:1-7

This last quote by St. Paul is according to a traditional viewpoint a very real spiritual event that could fit the bill in this question.

St. Paul the Apostle speaks of a third heaven and again Catholic interpretations will vary. Nevertheless I will give the one which traditional Catholics believe to be the most valid.

One thing is certain here. The Apostle Paul is speaking of himself.

In 2 Corinthians Paul the Apostle writes, "I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat."6 According to E. W. Bullinger, the Greek says "caught away", not "caught up" possibly reflecting Jewish beliefs that Paradise was somewhere other than the uppermost heaven. However Catholicism thinks otherwise.

There is a Catholic author who compared St Paul's vision of the third heaven to the third or final stage or way of perfection. This is the Catholic traditional view of St. Paul’s vision.

This concept is not easy for many to understand. Many authors have written about the Ways of Perfection, But I am looking for the one who used St Paul's vision of 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 as a comparison to the unitive state of prayer.

This link I hope, can get the idea of where I am coming from: On the Purgative, Illuminative and Unitive Stages of Spiritual Life, as seen in a Cartoon.

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., in his Three Ages of the Interior Life (part III, ch. XIII, B. "The Union of Humility and Christian Dignity") states the following:

In his commentary on this chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Thomas speaks admirably of the union of humility and magnanimity in St. Paul. He writes as follows: “As charity is the root of the virtues, pride is the beginning of every sin. It is the inordinate desire of our own excellence: we desire it then without subordinating it to God. Thus we turn away from Him, which is the beginning of every sin; for this reason God resists the proud. As there is in good people the good of which they may become proud, God sometimes permits some infirmity in His elect, some defect, and occasionally a mortal sin, which prevents them from becoming proud, which truly humiliates them, and makes them recognize that they cannot hold out or persevere by their own strength. The apostle St. Paul in particular might have grown proud of many things: he was a vessel of election to carry the faith to the Gentiles; (27) he had been ravished to the third heaven and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter; (28 [Cf. II Cor. 12:4.]) he had suffered greatly for Christ, several times he had been cast into prison, and scourged; he was a virgin (having obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful); (29) he had labored more than all, as he says; (30) and in particular he had a lofty knowledge of divine things which may be the source of pride. For this reason the Lord gave him a remedy for pride. That the excellence of the revelations made to him might not make him proud, he received a sting in the flesh, a humiliating infirmity which crucified his body in order to heal his soul… . As he says, an angel of Satan came and buffeted him. How the sinner should tremble if the great Apostle, the instrument of election, is not sure of himself! Three times he ardently begged the Lord to deliver him from this sting; three times, that is, often and urgently. He then heard these words: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee,’ it will preserve thee from sin. Divine power is shown in weakness, which is an occasion for the exercise of the virtues of humility, patience, and abnegation. The man who knows his weakness is more attentive to resisting it and, because he struggles, he grows in strength. ‘Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities,’ says St. Paul, since I am thus more humble, and I must fight that the power of Christ may dwell in me and bear all its fruits of grace.”

Which Catholic writer(s) has compared St Paul's “third heaven” to the third stage of interior prayer?

All said and done, it may all come down how one interprets Sacred Scriptures. For traditional Catholics 2 Corinthians 12:1-7, shows that St. Paul experienced a real spiritual event that helped confirm his salvation. Not all believers experience such graces, but the Apostle St. Paul did.

  • Thanks for your answer Ken! I'm looking more for scriptural references that confirms that Paul tells us that we ourselves, post-completed Bible believers (not apostles), will experience a non-objectionable event (similar to his) that definitively occurs at the moment of belief. The only thing I can think of that comes close is of an allegorical sense with "our eyes being opened", but this does not really qualify for the question at hand as it is not a visible physical experience or event. Faith comes by hearing and believing the Word. No physical proof is mentioned for us that I can find. Commented Feb 2 at 18:33

Assurance of Salvation The New Testament speaks of an assurance of Salvation based upon one's filling with the Holy Spirit. Consider:

  • And He who establishes us with you (Corinthians) in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; Who has also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22)
  • Now He who has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:5)
  • ...Christ, in Whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom also, after that you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise; which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The Greek word, arrhabon, means "surety, pledge, earnest, down payment"; and Paul stated that a convert can have full assurance of being saved because we've experienced the transaction of God: the giving us the Holy Spirit! The experience of the out-pouring on the Day of Pentecost has tremendous meaning for the believer. Anointing (in-filling, out-pouring) by God is an unmistakable event in this present Church Age (Age of Grace) whereby we can know with assurance we are saved!

  • ...sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (which Jesus promised that God would send; John 14:26). (Ephesians 1:12)
  • And grieve not the Holy Spirit whereby you are sealed unto the Day of Redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

Sealed means the transaction is final! It's a done deal. It's a sure thing. "You can take it to the bank!"

What some call the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that unmistakable event or experience which you enquire about that assures the believer of salvation!!!

So the question begs to be asked: Do you have faith enough in the Biblical teaching to receive this truth?

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    Good answer. Certainly going from death unto life is an experience. Also important to note that individual experience of the Holy Spirit's baptism may differ (because of the multitude and intermixing of gifts in differing measures), hence there should be no emphasis upon some kind of formulaic happening other than growing assurance. +1 Commented Feb 8 at 13:36
  • @ Mike Borden - Excellent corollary truth!
    – ray grant
    Commented Feb 8 at 20:42

No. There is no scripture stating that we today will experience an immediate and undeniable moment of salvation during this current age of God's abounding grace. That is what having faith is all about. However, there are denominational "traditions" that elude to this false claim. I know that some who claim that they have an "unmistakable experience" at the moment of belief, but during this age of God's grace (Ephesians 3:2) where we are to walk by faith and not sight, I am certain that we should not expect any type of immediate "event" or "experience" for the confirmation of our "sealing" by the Spirit. Not only should we not expect it, we should not be looking for one.

2 Corinthians 5:7

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Romans 8:24

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

However, our post-salvation walk in faith is the evidence of our true conversion. Mainly, our thought processes and newly prioritized desire of walking "after the Spirit" and now mortifying our past desires of the flesh.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:13

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

There may be "aha" moments, but these are not necessarily the moment of the "Spirit" sealing us. We are promised to be "sealed" by the Spirit at the moment of belief, and should have faith that this is true based on what God's Word tells us. Any expected "proof" that our salvation has been physically confirmed would go against having faith alone in the unseen work of the Spirit. Any "aha" moment that we may experience would come from gaining a better understanding of who we now are in Christ, what having "faith" actually means, or how God's grace encompasses more than we sin-natured humans could ever comprehend on our own.

Ephesians 1:12-13

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Colossians 2:6-10

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Prior to the apostle Paul fulfilling God's perfect Word through inspiration of the Spirit (Colossians 1:25), events and experiences of proof were required for believe and even commonplace. It is why the apostles were given their power. However, we today have the completed and perfect Bible, with all the information and proof that is needed to possess the faith that is required by God.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

As Paul stated, "hope that is seen is not hope".

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    It is unwise to generalize about other people's experiences. We see a range of experiences in scripture, Andrew and John following John the Baptist, then following Jesus ; the Ethiopian eunuch ; some baptised with John's baptism who were baptised again in the name of Christ ; Lydia who was saved and her household. The experiences we are aware of depend very much on spiritual background, up-bringing, level of knowledge of scripture in childhood. The spectrum is too varied to be dogmatic either way : instant conversion or long drawn out 'law-work'. Neither should be insisted upon. In my view.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 2 at 23:41
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    This present time ('post completed bible' as you call it) is not a separate and isolated state. The examples in the gospels and Acts and the Epistles are to guide us through to the end. This is not a separate 'age'. This age began with ascension and will end with the return of Christ. What prevailed in the early church prevails now. The examples of Timothy and Titus are to be exemplary now. The experiences and examples enshrined in scripture are our examples till the end of time.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 3 at 2:12
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    . . . . . . . and Paul made known that mystery in his epistles, the mystery being the church. Which began to be formed by his preaching and ministry. And still is ongoing to the end of time till all be gathered in.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 3 at 3:33
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    Yes, well there we differ again. I see Revelation as seven parallel sections each repeating the Church Age, layer by layer. I do not see Christ ever setting foot on this judged earth ever again. He shall descend upon new earth under new heavens. I am not waiting for a millenial kingdom of Jewish resurgence, I am looking expectantly for Christ to descend and end the universe, that it may give place to another.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 3 at 4:14
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    The baptism of repentance is what leads to true faith. Without the profound ministry of such as John the Baptist, Jesus never appears (see John's account, John stood, Jesus walked and disciples followed). There is a profound work in the soul to bring to true faith. Otherwise it is mere intellectual assent (or emotional engagement) and not regeneration. As Paul says 'make your calling and election sure'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 3 at 4:50

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