Can someone be saved and not know it?
The simplest answer is “yes.” I have known people who were never sure that they were saved. Usually it was because someone had told them that they must act a certain way or live up to certain standards in order to be “really saved.” Legalism almost always produces a lack of assurance even in the heart of true believers.
But let me ask another question: Can a person be saved and not want it? You see the difference? Could someone be unwillingly or accidently saved? You know, could a person travel to a “Christian nation” and be saved simply by getting off the boat? Could a person be swimming downstream from where a group is baptizing and be accidently saved? Or maybe this is more realistic: Could a person grow up in a Christian home and attend a Christian church every Sunday and be saved simply by osmosis? Could someone wake up in Heaven someday and say, “But I didn’t want this!”?
No, no, no, you say. A person has to want to be saved. Why?
We say that Heaven is a free gift. It has already been paid for, fully provided and readied for anyone. But only the “free” part is active. I have had the odd experience of finding a wrapped gift that was never delivered to the person who was supposed to receive it. The timeliness of the gift was gone and it was no longer needed or appropriate. I unwrapped the item and did something else with it. My intention was that it would be a gift, but was it? Just because I called it a gift, didn’t make it a gift. My friend would not have said that I gave him a gift. The term “gift” no longer applied to its reality; it only applied to its intended purpose.
Many wannabe boyfriends have had similar experiences. The gift they offered was not received. Maybe they threw the item away or they used it for themselves, but it was not really a gift because it was never received. God offers salvation as a free gift. It really is free. He has done all the work. The cost was all His. But if the gift is not received, not wanted, it has no effect, no reality for the intended receiver.
Like the old motivational speaker said, “Ya gotta have the want to!”