How can you truly know whether you are saved? What does a true Christian look like and act like? What’s the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? Over the years, I have been asked these questions repeatedly. These questions are simple yet complex. The only means to becoming a Christian is placing your faith in the person and works of Jesus. Salvation is believing that the person of Jesus Christ is the virgin born Son of God who lived a sinless life fulfilling all righteousness leading Him to laying down His life as the one and only atoning sacrifice for sin. Salvation is believing that Jesus death, burial, and resurrection is sufficient for washing away our sins, justifying us before God, reconciling us into a right relationship, sanctifying us, resulting in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit giving us eternal life and empowering us to live for Him. I’m not saying that we have to know all of these truths in order to be saved. I am saying that we must believe in the person and works of Jesus in order to be saved.
Although Satan knows all of these truths, he probably won’t admit them. And, he certainly isn’t saved. Simply knowing these truths is not sufficient. The Word of God is clear; we must repent of our sins, and by faith trust in Jesus as the Lord of our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus said this is non-optional; He said, “You must.” Satan isn’t willing to do this nor are those who aren’t truly saved. If we are going to be a true disciple of Jesus, Jesus said, “You must.” A couple other frightening truths we find in scripture is first, Jesus said those who truly follow Him will be few and second, according to Jesus, there will be “many” who think that they are saved but are not. (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).
This leads us to the conclusion that there are three types of “Christians” in this world. Two types are not truly Christians, for, they are deceived. The first type of deceived non-Christian is the one who never had a desire to live for Jesus or surrender his life to Him. They don’t love Him and only view Him as a get out of hell free insurance policy. The second type of deceived non-Christian is the one who thought his own righteousness and own works was sufficient to save him. Their faith is not in Jesus but in self. They may look, act, and talk righteous but it is self-righteousness. The third type of Christian is in the minority. He is the true Christian. He is the one who has placed his faith in Christ alone and has surrendered his life totally unto Him.
I am not writing this to frighten you. I am writing this so you will know. Do you know? Can you know? If so, how can you know? We can know. The Apostle John wrote in I John 5:13 saying, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” This was John’s purpose in writing I John; so you will know. In fact, the apostle uses the phrase, “by this we know” seven times through I John indicating, by this we know if we are truly a Christian. (I John 2:3, 2:5, 2:18, 3:24, 4:6, 4:13, 5:2). Seven more times he uses the phrase, “we know” by itself assuring us of the promises God has made to those who believe in His Son Jesus. (I John 3:2, 3:14, 5:15, twice, 5:18, 5:19, 5:20).