Summary: Signs for/against salvation. Drawn largely from a sermon by Adrian Rogers.
QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK
Part 3: How Can I Know I’m A Christian?
His name was Jerry, He’d been meeting with me for early morning breakfasts for a month.
“ You know I believe in God and the Bible,” he said.” “I told you I gave my heart to Jesus as a twelve-year-old at summer camp. So, I’m a Christian, right? I know I’ve messed up my life - the booze, the two divorces, the gambling debts, and all that. But, I’ve always been a Christian in my heart.” His eyes were pleading with me to affirm his fantasy.
“I’ve been listening to your story for a month, Jerry. You’ve been down a pretty rough road. Frankly, I’m surprised that you seem so convinced you’re a Christian. From what you’ve been telling me, it doesn’t look like Christ has figured in your decision-making process at all. Is that a fair assessment?”
“No!” He was showing signs of angry desperation. “I’ve always wanted to go to heaven. I love Jesus.” He teared up.
“Jerry, I don’t doubt that you love Jesus, and your ex-wives, and your kids whom you can’t see because of restraining orders - but your back trail reveals that you love yourself a whole lot more than any of them. Where is the evidence that you love Jesus or have ever loved Jesus?
Jerry got mad, and stood there clenching and unclenching his fists, ready to dart for the door.
With nothing left to lose, I told him the truth. Gently and with compassion I recounted to him the long, nightmarish list of disastrous, self-indulgent choices he had made. “Where in all of this tangled mess is there any sign that God, the Bible, or Jesus meant anything at all to you? Sure, you may have had a sentimental soft spot in your emotions for Jesus. But, it had to be on about the same level as what you felt for a childhood teddy bear.
Think about what you’re saying. You insist that you believe in God and the Bible, but you act as if you are in the driver’s seat of your life. God is a word that evokes a warm feeling. You get emotional when you hear “Just As I Am” sung, but you have no allegiance to God. Jesus makes no difference in your decision-making process. He hasn’t been allowed to change your behavior. You’ve missed the whole effect that believing in Him produces.” (Quote from Follow Me)
“You’ve missed the whole effect.” Now, that’s a statement that could describe many of the people filling churches and pews today. The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” Sadly, many people today, like Jerry, believe they are Christians because they walked the isle in a church, or because they made a decision at Vacation Bible School when they were children but there has never been a change in their lives. They have been kidding themselves all along.
On the other hand, there are people who are Christians who doubt their salvation. They’ll slip up, they’ll sin, they’ll do something they regret and a little voice within them says, “See there, you’re not a Christian. A real Christian wouldn’t do that,” so they go around defeated and worried. The Devil knows he can keep them from witnessing if he can them doubting their own salvation.
So the question comes, can you really, honestly know whether you are a Christian or not or do you simply try to live a good life and hope for the best?
The Apostle John wrote his letter, 1st John to a group of people who thought they were Christians, but who had doubts about their salvation. In,
>1 John 5:13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Can you imagine? A whole book of the Bible written specifically so you can know whether or not you are really a Christian. Well, what things did he write? How can you tell if you are really a Christian?
I believe there are 3 tests to true salvation.
I. THE COMMANDMENT TEST
How do you know you’re a Christian? You know if you keep God’s commandments. It is impossible to be saved and yet not keep God’s commandments. ...
Now, there is no one here who can honestly say that he has kept all of the commandments and never broken 1.
- 1 John 1:8, 10.
No, the key is the word translated in 2:3-6 as “Keep.” The word “keep” is an ancient mariner’s term. Back in those days a skipper of a ship on the ocean would steer by the stars. He would keep his eyes on the stars - fix his focus on the stars - and steer by the stars. He would chart his course by the stars.