“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”-1 John 2:3-6
The verse above says that we can know we are saved; that “we know Him.” A pattern of obedience toward the Lord is a sign of that salvation. While the Bible does teach that we “are dust”, and prone to sin, it also teaches that if we have God in our lives and saved, something must be different about us. Believers, while still harassed by the curse of the fall, will seek to resist the sinful nature and be obedient to the Lord through guidance from His word, the Bible, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
I remember times when I was aware that I was harboring a sinful practice, with that kind of conduct came a doubt about my salvation. Once I had made the decision to repent of that sin, and rely on the Lord for a holy life the doubt went away.
Even now, those in my church who help out with new converts who have responded to an altar call often see people respond to another altar call one or two months after they had prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It soon became apparent that these persons had no assurance of salvation because of a pattern or practice of sin.
My reason for writing on this subject is this: Even now, I have friends who are parents of children who tell me they believe their children are saved. Yet when they talk to me of their children’s lifestyle, by the verse quoted above I see that maybe they are not. When I talk with these friends about the possibility that their children are still subject to God’s wrath, they often recoil in horror of the possible notion. Many times they often then insist their children are saved, despite evidence to the contrary.
Understandably, one should be concerned of friends and loved ones who are living in sin, while claiming to be Christians. But if we love those whom we have in our lives and live an unrepentant lifestyle, is it not more loving to consider them as unsaved, and pray for them accordingly? Wouldn’t we want to be sure that we had done whatever is in our loved one’s best interest, eternally, to see that they are truly saved?
As I write this, I am recalling how my daughters both made a response to an altar call over ten years ago. Yet neither are acting like Christians. Not only are they living sinful lifestyles, but there is no interest in following the Lord or learning His ways. Both have had multiple sex partners, and one gave birth to a child out of wedlock.
I decided some time back I did not want to deceive myself into thinking they are saved, just because of a prayer they prayed. I had come to realize that my insisting that they were saved, in spite of the evidence of their lifestyle, was because of apathy or laziness on my part concerning their eternal consequences. Because the word of God teaches indications of salvation, I am responding to that truth and considering my children are subject to God’s judgment. Because of that I am praying for their true salvation, whatever it takes. To me, it seems that is the loving thing to do. Love hopes all things, including to pray in hope for my loved ones, because I do not want them to end up in hell.