Q. Like others who have written I struggle with my salvation and I am sick of tripping over it. I know the Holy Spirit teaches me and guides me. So my question is simply can we be taught and led by the Holy Spirit if we are not saved?
A. You cannot be taught or led by the Holy Spirit if you are not saved. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17). (Before the resurrection the Holy Spirit could only be with believers but since the resurrection He is in us.)
The disciples were the first believers to receive the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them the evening of Resurrection Sunday (John 20:22). Since then, the Holy Spirit is given to believers when we hear the Gospel and believe it (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Later Paul confirmed that only believers can benefit from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” ( 1 Cor. 2:14).
If you know the Holy Spirit teaches you and guides you, then you know you are saved.