"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:13
Since there is so much deception today within religious circles it behooves us to examine ourselves and see if we are truly delighting in God and walking according to the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. We find that in 1 John 5:13 a comforting scripture namely, that those who believe on the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have eternal life and should be assured of this fact.
It's not a maybe or a probably but a certainty that believers have eternal life. However, many are mistaken as to what it means to believe on Jesus Christ. Some say for example that they are saved because they believe Jesus died for their sins or they say they believe Jesus Christ is God's son and even affirm the deity of His person. From James 2:19 we learn that a person may have the faith of devils by believing there is only one God. After all do not the Muslims believe in one God and by so affirming think they have eternal life?
Jesus said in Matthew 7:19-21 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Notice the necessity of "good fruit" in order to avoid being cast into the fire which is a reference to the Lake of Fire found in Revelation 20:15.
Now what is the will of the Father? The will of the Father consists of many things all of which are included in the idea of believing. Believing is not just an intellectual or emotional thing but is an active obedience concerning the commands of our Lord.
Believers do certain things that unbelievers do not do. They act or behave in certain ways that unbelievers do not act or behave. For example believers do not get drunk again and again on alcohol for by doing so they become drunkards and scripture says plainly in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
There are many sins that shut a person out of the kingdom of heaven. Those who practice these sins put a cheat upon their own soul. But now rather than list all the various sins that a person may commit which would negate an entrance into God's presence let us instead list several necessary character traits which evidence a person is a true believer in Jesus Christ. A true believer is one who is born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby enabled or made fit to enter God's presence.
Below is a list to examine yourself to see if you have the evidence for true faith in Christ. This is not an exhaustive list but it will get you started in the discovery and examination process of whether you have true faith in Christ or if your profession if false. Continue to search the scriptures looking for such evidence of your faith and genuine interest in the salvation that grace brings into the converted soul.
1. Love for Christians "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." (1 John 2:14) Here we see that without love for Christians we are not saved. What is true love according to the Bible? If we love Jesus Christ we will obey His commandments and we will do no injury to our neighbor. But more than this is implied by loving our brethren. We will seek out their good. Love for brethren must not be limited to just those of the same religious denomination but implies a love for all those who identify with the Christian faith.
2. Love for people in general. Christians love people and if you find a person calling themself a Christian who hates others you can know that this is a testimony against their profession of faith and contrary to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Love to Jesus Christ and the Father. "if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."
4. A mortification or putting to death the deeds of the flesh, that is to say, there must be a lifestyle that does not live after the flesh. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Galatians 5:24 Do you fin yourself desiring unlawful things such as alcohol, pornography or gambling? If you're a Christian you will mortify or kill these things or they will kill you. "If ye live after the flesh you will die!"
5. The character of holiness. We are told in Hebrews "Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see
the Lord." If you are holy you will have your thoughts and desires sanctified unto the Lord and His word and you will keep unfamiliar with the wicked world.
6. You will bridle your tongue. James 1:26 says, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." Thus another evidence for a genuine faith in Christ is wholesome and profitable language which benefits the hearers. Foul and profane language injures others and reveals a rotten fountain flowing from an evil heart.
7. The necessity of being like a little child.
"Verily I say unto you except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
How may you test yourself here? When reading or hearing of Biblical stories such a Jonah and the whale or other miracles do you question these as if they are impossible? Such would speak against a true belief in God and His word for all true Christians hold in utmost regard the Bible as the authority and as little children are very believing of such stories so should an older believer in Jesus. Children are usually humble and trusting. Are you humble and trusting as a little child? If not examine yourself if you be in the faith.
8. A love for the truth. Believers in Christ love the truth for Jesus is the Truth. Believers love both the living Word, i.e. Jesus Christ AND they love the written word of God the Bible. In 2 Thess 2:10 we read: "And with all deceivableness of unrightousness in them that perish because they RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH that they might be saved." From this text we see the necessity for a love of the truth as evidence for true faith. NOTE: True faith isn't just saying you love the truth but is demonstrated by your walk or actions. Are you keeping God's commandments? This is obeying the truth.
9. The necessity of repentance. An evangelical repentance unto life will show itself in all true believers wherein they turn from all known sin and this not just one time upon profession but whenever they find themselves in sin they will turn from it as a great evil and cancer and turn to God for mercy asking forgiveness as in 1 John 1:9-10. Some mistake having a repentance but instead they have only an outward reforming of their character never having truly turned away from the sin they so love. Examine yourself to see if you have truly repented for without repentance there is no forgiveness of sins.
NOTE: The Greek word for repent is metanoia and means a change of mind concerning who God is, who Jesus is, what sin is and who you are as a natural born sinner in rebellion against a holy God.
10. Walking in the light. By walking in the light we examine ourselves by the light of God's word the bible to see if we are obeying the words of Christ and the rest of scripture. Christ is the light of the world and in his light we shall see light. A person who walks in the light wants to have his deeds and lifestyle exposed. There's a certain transparency in the believer's life that is absent in the unbeliever's life. The wicked walk in darkness and will not come to the light lest their deeds be exposed. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:20) Evil doers often do their evil deeds in the dark of the night to go undetected. Believers are known as children of the day or light.
11. Are you persevering in the faith? Many start out in the Christian life professing faith in Jesus Christ but later fall away into sinful pleasures having never truly repented. Let not these take any comfort in their empty profession for many have been deceived by their own corrupt hearts as well as by the Devil who tricked them with a false peace. Mark 13:13 says, "Those who persevere to the end shall be saved." A Christian must never forsake his or her profession of faith in Christ for this is to deny the faith. How many have you met along life's way who told you they use to be a Christian but were enlightened to see the error of their way and confessed to having made a mistake by taking up with the Christian religion?
Such people were never saved and only tasted the good word but fell away like the parable of the sower. Test yourself for if you are one of Christ's sheep then you will endure to the end living a holy life, loving and keeping God's commandments.
12. Believers hear the voice of Christ and follow Him. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28) A believer is called a sheep iin the Bible. A sheep knows the master's voice and follows the master rather than a false shepherd. How many false shepherds are there in the local
churches today who fleece the flock rather than feed the sheep. One test of love to Christ was made when Jesus asked Peter "lovest thou me? Feed my sheep."
Too many pastors today are more interested in building large congregations with expensive buildings and other such amenities and the followers of these false shepherds are eager to give their money to such religious leaders because these followers are not hearing the voice of Christ. They are not feeding on Christ and His pure words of truth but rather false teachings which drown their souls in perdition.
Many other evidences can be discovered in the Bible so let me encourage you to search these out carefully and hold fast to them.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.