Do you ever struggle with the insecure feeling that you may not be saved? After all, Jesus said, not everyone who claims to know the Lord actually has saving faith. (Matthew 7:21)
Picking up from my last post about doubt in regards to the Christian life, I’m here to tell you that the Bible addresses this challenge head on.
It’s found in the book of 1 John. The book was written by the Apostle John to the church in order to combat false teaching and to bring them back to the basics of Christianity. He outlines a list of principles as a “litmus test” in order to ask the church to take a look at their faith and examine whether any of their doubts were substantiated or not.
In quick bullet points, I’d like to list what these passages in 1 John are not saying:
– That we are saved by works. The Bible is clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. (Eph. 2:8). The challenge is to test the evidence of faith as a result of salvation, not how well we can live up to these principles to save ourselves.
– That someone is definitely not a Christian if we aren’t seeing any evidence in his or her life, (they may not be showing any growth YET), but I think it can be cause for concern, guidance and prayer for them.
– That we should approach these principles as a list to check off and go about our way. On the contrary, we examine our lives against them on an ongoing basis. If we are growing in our faith, our goal is to be more and more like Christ.
So here they are:
1) Have you enjoyed fellowship with Christ and the Father? “We have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. – (1 John 1:2-3)
2) Are you sensitive to sin? “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” – (1 John 6)
3) Do you obey God’s word? “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3)
4) Do you reject this evil world? “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – (1 John 2:15)
5) Do you eagerly await Christ’s return? “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3)
6) Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God” – (1 John 3:7)
7) Do you love other Christians? “The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” – (1 John 2:10)
8) Do you experience answered prayer? Whatever we ask of God “we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:21-22)
9) Do you experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit? “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” – (1 John 4:13)
10) Can you discern between spiritual truth and error? “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.– (1 John 4:1)
11) Have you suffered rejection because of your faith? “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. – (1 John 3:12-13)
As believers, we all display these qualities to some extent. One of us may be weaker in one area than the other. Yet God planted these seeds of faith within us, and if we continue to obey Him, he will be faithful to yield the result of fruitful lives within each of us. (1 Thess. 5:24)