EVIDENCE OF SALVATION IN JOHN'S FIRST EPISTLE
Assurance of ones salvation does not come about from believing what God’s Word says about assurance of salvation or what it says about salvation itself. That would be exercising “faith” in faith. It would also be subjective. Evidence of salvation is objective however. The just live by faith. Faith and obedience are never divorced from one another. It's the Word of God that saves us, and then produces undeniable fruit and assurance (evidence) because the just live by faith, by His faith (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38).
The epistles of John, like James, are epistles on evidence and assurance of salvation and also self-examination to test whether you are truly born again. They are written to a mixed audience, to know whether you are saved or to be convinced you’re not, and then ideally be converted. A professing believer either meets all the evidence of salvation in John’s epistles (and anywhere else in Scripture for that matter) or he doesn’t. There is no in between, no picking and choosing what test he passes and which ones he won't and thereby having assurance. Be not deceived. God is not mocked. We’re not speaking of some kind of sinless perfection but a new creature in Christ that has the fullness of God indwelling them and now in the Spirit. The “truth, the word of God, . . . effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Th. 2:13). Evidence is not predicated on partialness; it’s inclusive of all. That is how God’s Word reads everywhere. And evidence of salvation is what procures assurance but doesn’t produce security. Evidence and assurance of salvation comes because of security of salvation. Salvation is permanent, miraculous, supernatural and dramatic, and it produces a lot of things, and not years or months or even days down the road either. But immediately! “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:21). God guarantees these things will come out of him or her that is born of Him (e.g. Jam. 1:18-27).
The importance of this subject can’t be overstated. Where salvation is taught in God’s Word, evidence is taught. They go hand in hand. In Scripture many people that professed to believe, were in fact unbelievers (for example: Matt. 7:15-20, 21-23; 13:10-15, 18-22; Mark 4:10-19; Jn. 2:23-25; 6:60-66; 8:31-37; 13:8-11; Acts 8:13-24; 1 Jn. 2:19; 3:1, 14-18; 2 Pet. 2:1-22. God’s Word warns that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it." (Matt. 7:13-14). Jesus was speaking that to professing believers. Of the four soils the word of God falls in the parable of the sower and seed (Matt. 13), only one is truly saved, the good ground. The wayward, stony and thorny souls are all lost, without root (Jesus Christ) and thus without fruit, yet all along professing to be Christian. Fruit starts immediately at salvation (Matt. 3:10; 13:23; Col. 1:4-6; Pr. 3:13-18; 11:30; 12:12). “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” (Rom. 11:16). They are without understanding and life in their branches, which are hewn down by Christ, Who “cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:50; 3:10; Jn 15:1-6). It will be much worse for the false professor in the day of judgment than the admitting lost sinner who has no false pretence of religion; all will be bound “hand and foot, . . . and cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 22:13).
God irrevocably implants a characteristic rejection of sin and the world, love for Christ and holiness, and submission to Scripture in all whom He grants repentance and faith and then saves and gifts eternal life when they respond by repenting and believing. He also gives them a new and holy nature (2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 8:10) that they cannot alter (and will never wish to give up!) any more than they could alter the old sinful nature they inherited from Adam. The same truth that David told his son Solomon is applicable to every person of all ages: “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” (1 Ch. 28:9).
Consider now the evidence of true conversion that John the Apostle penned in his epistles, which is the inspired Word of God. (We encourage using the King James Version as you look up Scripture.)
1. True converts have been saved by the Word of life, eternal life, the Lord Jesus Christ; they have a true testimony of conversion according to God’s Word, of repentant faith, and thus have fellowship with God the Father and God the Son (1 Jn. 1:1-3; 5:10-13). They genuinely repented and believed and were converted at one instantaneous moment in time (2 Cor. 6:2; Matt. 21:28-32; Mk. 1:15; Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:18-20; Lk. 5:31-32; 14:25–15:32). They never leave the fellowship of true believers (1 Jn. 2:19). They do not deny the record God gave of His Son, nor do they make God a liar (1 Jn 5:9-13). They believe God’s record of eternal life because they have life and the Witness of God dwelling in them. True converts know they are of God (1 Jn. 2:3-6; 4:13; 19-20; Gal. 4:9) and live and abide in Him because they are born of God (1 Jn. 2:27; 3:1; 5:1-4, 18; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-7; 15:1-16) and have been forgiven of all their sins (1 Jn. 2:12; Rev. 1:5), and the Holy Spirit dwells in them (1 Jn. 2:27; 3:24; 4:13; Rom 8:9-17). One would have to be dead not to know the witness of the Spirit, which isn’t subjective. The lost are dead indeed; dead in their sins and under condemnation of death (Rom. 6:1-23; Jn. 3:18, 36). Doubting salvation is not of God. Those that doubt have never truly repented and been born again. It’s not possible because the indwelling Spirit witnesses with the spirit of those He indwells that they are children of God (Rom 8:16). Doubt is not of God.
There is an important reason why 1 John, an epistle on assurance and evidence of salvation, starts with salvation. Evidence and assurance of salvation comes because of security of salvation which is the product of true salvation. True conversion results in receiving many things and everything you will ever have in this life from God (such as justification [declared righteous], the imputed righteousness of God, redemption, sanctification, eternal life, a new heart and new creature, complete forgiveness of all sins and trespasses forever, the atonement, reconciliation with God, adoption, heirs and co-heirs with Christ, opened eyes and spiritual discernment, eternally delivered from darkness and into the light and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, immortality, the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, quickened [made alive], a spiritual mind the mind of Christ, sainthood, and so much more); which immediately produces fruit and obedience to God’s will, and enables godly, righteous and holy living.
Salvation is permanent, miraculous, supernatural and dramatic, and it produces a lot of things, and not years or months or even days down the road either. But immediately! (2 Cor. 5:21). God guarantees these things will come out of him or her that is born of Him (e.g. Jam. 1:18-27). God irrevocably implants a characteristic rejection of sin and the world, love for Christ and holiness, and submission to Scripture in all whom He has saved (1 Jn 2:15-17; Ti 2:11-14). He also gives them a new and holy nature (2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 8:10) that they cannot alter (and will never wish to give up!) any more than they could alter the old sinful nature they inherited from Adam. Justified. Reconciled. Sanctified. Redeemed. Adopted. NEW LOVES: God, God’s Word, Fellow Saved Brethren, Righteousness, Holiness, Godliness. NEW HATES: Satan, the World, Unrighteousness, Sin, Error, Ungodliness.
Those that do not have a Biblical testimony of salvation and a consequential testimony of Biblical fruitful living as a servant of Christ, are unsaved. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Is. 8:20).
2. True converts walk in the light and not in darkness (1 Jn. 1:6-7; 3:4-9; Jn. 8:12) because they are only light and not darkness (Matt 5:14-16; 6:22-24; Lk 11:33-36; I Th. 5:2-8; I Jn. 2:8-11), and thus bear fruit (1 Jn. 2:3-5; Matt. 13:23; Jn. 15:1-15). Light is required to bear fruit (1 Jn. 2:3-5; Matt. 13:23; Jn. 15:1-15). Fruit consists of immediate obedience to Gods will and preaching His gospel (2 Cor. 5:17–6:1; Is. 6:1-8), “shew[ing] forth from day to day his salvation” and “Declar[ing] his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations” (1 Ch. 16:23-24) because they are not ashamed of Christ anymore — it was removed at salvation (Rom. 5:5; 10:9-11; 9:33; 1:16-17; Phil. 1:20; 2 Tim. 1:12), nor is God ashamed of them (Heb. 2:11; 11:16). “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10). Fruit starts immediately at salvation (Matt. 3:10; 13:23; Col. 1:4-6; Pr. 3:13-18; 11:30; 12:12). “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” (Rom. 11:16). Dovetailing with this permanent departure from darkness is the truth that true converts overcame the devil at salvation (1 Jn. 2:13-14; 4:3-6), who toucheth them not (1 Jn. 5:18). “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Col 1:12-13).
3. True converts live and walk in righteousness (1 Jn. 2:29; 3:7), in the Spirit, and do not live in sin, that is they do not and will not practice sin as a lifestyle (1 Jn. 3:1-10), they do not live after the flesh (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21). “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (I Jn. 2:29). “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,” (I Jn. 3:10a). 1 Jn. 3:1-9 is talking primarily about a type of person. Committeth (v. 4), abideth (v. 6), doeth (v. 7), committeth (v. 8), is born (v. 9) are all nominative participles. This is not just an action, but the type of person. "The committing one…” 1 Jn. 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” The one who is truly born again will characteristically practice righteousness as a lifestyle because he is perfectly righteous, even as God is righteous because of the imputed righteousness received at the moment of conversion, faith, and regeneration.
In 2 Tim 2:19 we see that the seal of salvation is the two-fold truth that God knows those who are His and that the true believer will demonstrate his salvation by departing from iniquity. The saved purify themselves (1 Jn. 3:1-3) because unto the pure all things are pure (Ti. 1:15; Lk. 1:75). “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:” (Ps. 97:10a). The saved are freed from sin forever at salvation, and are not servants to it any longer. Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:34-36). At salvation the sinner receives Jesus Christ, He indwells in him (Gal. 2:20) and He “lead[s] in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:” (Pr. 8:20). Therefore they walk and live like God the Son did (1 Jn. 2:5-6), in truth and according to God’s will (2 Jn. 1:4-6; 3 Jn. 1:3-4; Jn 7:16-18), loving the truth while hating the false (Ps. 119:128), loving righteousness while hating iniquity (Heb. 1:8), because the servant is as his Master (Matt. 10:25). And because “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). Every truly converted person has the truth dwelling in them forever (2 Jn. 1:1-2), but “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 Jn. 2:4). “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. . . . whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 Jn. 2:3, 5). Those that claim to know God but don’t obey His commandments are children of the devil (Eph. 2:1-3; compare also 1 Jn. 2:4 and Jn. 8:44, he “is a liar, and the truth is not in him” same language used of Satan). They are in fact antichrists (1 Jn. 2:22-23).
4. True converts hear God’s Word (1 Jn. 4:5-6; Jn. 8:43, 45-47; 10:1-5) and keep God’s Word; they keep all of God’s commandments (1 Jn. 2:3-5; 3:22-24), because they love Him (1 Jn. 4:19; 5:1-3; 2 Jn. 1:6; Jn. 14:15-24; 15:9-14). They are not grievous to him (1 Jn 5:3). They don’t pick and choose what they will obey, nor divide God’s Word into essentials and non-essentials, a more subtle form of disobedience. They recognize every word in Scripture is important (Matt. 4:4). Therefore they walk and live like God the Son did (1 Jn. 2:5-6), in truth and according to God’s will (2 Jn. 1:4-6; 3 Jn. 1:3-4; Jn 7:16-18), loving the truth while hating the false (Ps. 119:128), loving righteousness while hating iniquity (Heb. 1:8), because the servant is as his Master (Matt. 10:25). And because “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). Every truly converted person has the truth dwelling in them forever (2 Jn. 1:1-2), but “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 Jn. 2:4). “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. . . . whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 Jn. 2:3, 5). Those that claim to know God but don’t obey His commandments are children of the devil (Eph. 2:1-3; compare also 1 Jn. 2:4 and Jn. 8:44, he “is a liar, and the truth is not in him” same language used of Satan). They are in fact antichrists (1 Jn. 2:22-23).
Though salvation is “without works” in that it is God’s free gift through Christ, and works and grace don’t mix (Rom 11:6), it is “unto good works” (Eph. 2:8-10). The good works are the effects of the new nature. The good works are the evidence. Those that say they know God but don’t keep His commandments are liars. They are reprobate of mind (Ti. 1:9-16; 2 Cor. 13:5). It’s important to bear in mind that we are not kept secure in Christ by keeping His commandments but those that are secure in Christ do keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15-24). The difference is massive. We don’t put the cart before the horse, for that is a false gospel. The keeping of His commandments comes out of all those born of God. This of course includes not only obeying Gods Word but also includes not wanting to twist or change Gods Word or doubt Gods Word or questioning whether we actually have all the words of God so we’ll try to find the words of God which is primarily the mindset of the unsaved because those that are truly born again believe Gods Word to be Gods Word indeed (a necessary condition for genuine salvation) and its perseveration down to every word (Heb. 11:1-6), something the indwelling Spirit helps with. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” (Jn. 14:23-24). Those that love God obey His words. Those that love not God obey not His Words. They are accursed and the Father does not love them. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor. 16:22).
Biblical baptism is a very important example of obedience. There is only one mode and means. Immersion after conversion. In Mk. 16:15-16 we are taught that baptism is closely associated with believing, but it is separated from salvation itself. The sinner is not damned because he doesn’t get baptized; he is damned because he doesn’t believe. The wording is very precise and important. But biblical Baptism (immersion) is an evidence that the person has truly believed. Those who claim to believe in Jesus but refuse to be Scripturally baptized are not true believers according to Scripture. By their disobedience, they are denying a very important truth and denying the working of the Holy Spirit in their professed lives. Jesus said that those who love Him will obey Him (Jn. 14:23). Those those who refuse to obey do not love Him. They don’t love and obey because they are unsaved (Jn 14:15-24).
True converts hear, know and understand the truth of God’s Word because their soil is good ground and they have the indwelling Spirit of God (1 Jn. 2:20-21, 27; Jn. 8:43, 45-47; 10:1-5) Who is the Spirit of Truth. False professors embrace error. They won’t separate from it. They are habitually confused and don’t know how to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), they will privately interpret the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:20) and wrest God’s Word due to a lack of understanding (2 Pet. 3:16-17). True converts have and exercise spiritual discernment (1 Jn. 4:1-3; Ac. 17:11; 1 Th. 5:21; 1 Cor. 2:15-16; Jude 1:3; Rom. 16:17; Phil. 3:2, 17-19) because they have the Spirit of God dwelling in them and are led by Him (Rom. 8:14-16). Therefore they are not led astray by false teachers (1 Jn. 2:18-27; 4:1-3; 2 Jn. 1:6-11; Matt. 24:24) — they follow not the voice of strangers but their Shepherd (Jn. 10:1-5; Deu. 13:3-4). Jesus said, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (Jn 18:38b).
5. True converts love other true Christians—the true brethren in Christ (1 Jn. 2:8-11; 3:10-19, 23; 4:7-12, 17-21; 5:2). That love is not demonstrated towards false brethren, but true brethren. They demonstrate true love for their brethren by loving in deed and in truth (1 Jn. 3:18-21), by firstly obeying God’s commands (1 Jn. 5:2-3; 2 Jn. 1:5-6) which then produces true love for the brethren. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:2). “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 Jn. 3:10). “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 Jn. 3:14). “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 Jn. 4:7-8). “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 Jn. 4:20). The one who hates his brother has never come out of spiritual darkness. Often this hated is confined to the heart while externally putting on face—playing the hypocrite. The false professor extols “love” but it’s the false and fake love of the world and not according to truth. It’s the false “love” of keeping “peace” rather than preaching and standing for the truth and contending for the faith.
6. True converts do not love the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 3:1, 11-13; 5:19; Jam. 4:4) for they overcame the world through conversion (1 Jn. 5:3-4; 2:15-17; Jn. 6:24). Not only do they not love the world, they are also not accepted by the world (1 Jn. 3:1-2; 4:4-6), for they are hated by the world (1 Jn. 3:11-13; Jn. 17:14-16). To love the world means to love the things of the world, such as their dressing standards (i.e. women dressing immodestly or like men — De. 22:5; 1 Tim. 2:9) entertainment and worldly pleasures, worldly riches (money), music, fashion, pride of life, popularity, public eye, materialism, friendships, etc, instead of labouring “for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” (Jn. 6:27). Those that love these things, the ways of the world, offer false worship to God which is a false gospel. This is seen especially noted through worldly and ungodly music including CCM (“Christian” rock). When Jesus preached His gospel to the lost Samaritan woman at the well, He preached to her the only worship acceptable to God: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (Jn. 4:23-24). CCM, which appeals only to the flesh and senses, completely violates both of these aspects of true worship, which then means such is not worshipping the Father but something or someone else, which is in similitude to the lost Israelites in the wilderness worshipping the golden calf with strange fire and raucous music. People that offer false worship, which is a false gospel, have a dead spirit and do not know the truth. They have never performed the first act of worship necessary for the sinner, which is offering their soul to God (Matt. 6:24; Lk. 14:25–15:32).
People that love the worlds music including CCM, love the world. I think that should go without saying. The Bible however says that those who love the world are not saved and those who are truly saved have a new love, the love of God — they exchanged masters at salvation (Matt. 6:24) and never again love the world and thus are separated from the world and all its allurements and pursuits (I.e.) (Jn. 15:18-20; 17:14, 16; Rom. 6:17-22; 8:1-17; I Cor. 2:12; 7:34; I Jn. 2:15-17; 3:1, 11-13; 4:5; 5:19; Jam. 1:27; 4:4). They no longer pattern themselves after the things of the world, but after the things of Gods. They leave off the entire licentious and carnal scene, which again includes music and by extension all worldly music whether it comes under the banner of “Christian” or not, if it doesn’t align with the truths and principles found in Scripture.
7. True converts abide (continue) in Christ (1 Jn. 2:6, 19, 27-29; 3:6) which is in accordance to Gods Word because He always abides in them (1 Jn. 2:24; 3:9, 24; 4:13; Jn. 15:1-16). To abide means to continue in accordance with. Those who do not continue to abide in Christ, meaning in accordance to His Word, have never seen or known Christ. The promise isn’t that all believers will abide to the same degree, but rather that all believers will abide. And like many other passages, perfect tense verbs are used, indicating that those who do not abide have never experienced the point action of the new birth with its continuing results in seeing and knowing Christ. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Note that in this text, possession of the Holy Spirit—the “anointing” that all the children of God have—guarantees that “ye shall abide in him.” Those that don’t “were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:” (1 Jn. 2:19). God never stops working in those He’s saved and thus indwells, in every true born again believer. Moulding, leading, guiding, directing, convicting, chastening, growing. It never stops. It is a promise and guarantee, without the slightest shadow of doubt. See Jer. 32:37-41; I Cor. 1:6-9; Eph. 3:20; Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; I Th. 2:13; 5:23-24; II Th. 2:12-17; 3:2-3; II Tim. 1:12; 4:18; I Pet. 1:5; Heb. 13:20-21. Every true convert is predestinated to God’s will and good pleasure and to be like Christ, with Whom they are joint-heirs (Rom. 8:17) and it will most certainly happen (Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 1:11, 13). “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 Jn. 3:6). “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 Jn. 1:9). This passage speaks of all professing believers and those who do not continue to abide in Christ have never seen or known Christ. And like many other similar ones, perfect tense verbs are used, indicating that those who do not abide have never experienced the point action of the new birth with its continuing results in seeing and knowing Christ.
1 Jn 2:27 refers back to Christ’s teaching in Jn 14:26, where the Holy Spirit teaches believers all things and preserves them: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Note in 1 Jn 2:27 that abiding is a promise to the born again. The text does not say “ye may abide in him if you continue to meet the requirements of the Higher Life.” It says “ye SHALL abide in him,” a promise. It does not promise that all believers will abide to the same degree, but it does promise that all believers will abide. This text rips the heart out of the false view that 1 John distinguishes abiding believers from supposedly non-abiding believers. (It should be noted that the fact that the verse following, v. 29, commands believers to abide does not mean that it is possible that they will not, anymore than a command not to reject Christ and follow antichrists means that true believers may do that. The new birth and the power of the Holy Spirit have changed the “chooser” in believers so that they will freely choose to persevere/abide. In this way we can consistently interpret both 2:27 and 2:28 rather than ignoring the promise of 2:27 in order to read into 2:28 the statement that only some believers will abide when that is not in there.)
8. True converts do the will of God (1 Jn. 2:17; Matt. 7:21) and pray according to His will (1 Jn. 5:14) and are heard by Him (1 Jn. 5:15; Jn. 9:31). Doing God’s will means obeying Gods Word. That involves being separated from the world and from error (incl. false teachers and their books) and from sin (which means they don’t listen to worldly music, incl. CCM, anymore), preaching the true gospel (incl. against sin and to repent) to those that are lost (including false professors ,i.e. new evangelicals, tradition-bound works-salvation Mennonites) (Pr. 11:30; Mk. 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:18-21). They don’t embrace terrible errors such as new evangelicalism and emerging church heresies.
9. True converts confess Jesus Christ before others and are not ashamed of Him (1 Jn. 2:18-27). Shame is permanently removed at conversion (Rom. 10:11; 1:16; 9:33; Heb. 11:16; ref. Isa. 28:16; 54:4). Contrarily, false “believers” are ashamed of Christ, they “stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Pet. 2:6-8). They’re conversation is not about Christ and His truth but about everything else.
10. True converts confess their sins to others (1 Jn. 1:8-10) and to God (1 Jn. 1:9; 2:1-2). They confess and forsake their sins (Pr. 28:13). They admit when they have sinned and don’t deny it and cover it up. False believers ignore their sin or they justify and excuse it and blame others for it.
11. True converts are able to exercise spiritual discernment and do so (1 Jn. 4:1-3; Ac. 17:11; 1 Th. 5:21; Isa. 8:20; 1 Cor. 2:15-16; Jn. 7:24; Gal. 2:4-5; Ti 1:9-16; Jude 1:3; Rom. 16:17; Phil. 3:2, 17-19; Isa. 8:20). They are able to do so because they have the Spirit of God dwelling in them and are led by Him (Rom. 8:14-16). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:14-16). Therefore they are not led astray by false teachers (1 Jn. 2:18-27; 4:1-3; 2 Jn. 1:6-11; Matt. 24:24), they follow not the voice of strangers but their Shepherd (Jn. 10:1-5; Deu. 13:3-4). God the Son said, “Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (Jn. 18:37b).
12. True converts believe and know they have eternal life that can never be lost (1 Jn. 5:9-13, 20; Jn. 4:14; 5:24, 39-40; 6:35-58). They do not deny the record God gave of His Son, nor do they make God a liar. No, they believe God’s record of eternal life because they have life and the Witness of God dwelling in them (1 Jn. 5:9-13). “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 Jn. 5:10-11). Believing that salvation can be lost is denying Gods Word, rejecting God’s commandment, making God a liar and being absent of the indwelling Spirit of God. These have believed in a false gospel that doesn’t save. The salvation that God provides is only eternal and can never be lost. He never ceases being their intercessor. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). In John 12:49-50a Jesus says, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting:” Those that rely on and have faith in themselves to maintain and secure their salvation do not have true saving faith in Jesus Christ. They don’t even understand the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They have never been given to the Son by the Father so they have not been given eternal life (Jn. 17:2) and thus do not know Him (Jn. 17:3).
Salvation comes by obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:35-36; Ac. 6:7; 2 Th. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17), which is repentance of sin and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk. 1:15; Jn. 6:28-29; Ac. 20:21) which then brings life everlasting, everlasting life, eternal life (all referring to the same thing) (Jn. 3:15-16, 36; 4:14; 5:24, 39-40; 6:35-58; 7:38; 10:27-29; 11:25-26; 17:2-3; etc) which is God’s commandant (Jn. 12:50) and precisely what Jesus preached everywhere. Eternal and everlasting life is inseparable from salvation, and to remove it is to immediately have another gospel, a perverted and corrupted gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4).
In conclusion, these things aren’t grievous to the one that is truly born again (1 Jn. 5:2-3) but they are to the lost professor. “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Ps. 144:15). All the redeemed are “in Christ,” and nothing can pull them back into their old ways, for “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). Ti. 2:11-14 happens in the life of every truly saved saint. If he is drawn back into his old ways than he is either the wayward, stony or thorny soil, but not the good ground (Mk. 4:3-23).
For a sinner to be truly saved, Luke 14:26–15:32 must come to pass which is intimately connected to repentance, e.g. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (vv. 26-27). The true born again believer does not go back to his old ways but does meet all these evidences of salvation, because the supernatural and dramatic event of the new birth does not change between repentant sinners. It’s always the same because they have the same indwelling Spirit and the same supernatural dramatic regeneration, so we find all these evidences present in every true believer in the Word of God. Consider for instance: Abraham (Rom. 4:1-5; Gal. 3;6-9; Gen. 15:1-6; 22:1-18); Ruth (Ru. 1:4-22); Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-21); king David (Rom. 4:5-8; Ps. 32:1-5); Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Jer. 38:4-13; 39:15-18); Isaiah (Is. 6:1-7); Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3 & 4); the 12 Apostles (Lk. 18:26-30; 5:1-11, 27-28; Jn. 1:45-51); Paul (Ac. 9:1-29; Phil. 3:3-11); Jews in Jerusalem (Ac. 2:38-42); Philippian jailer (Ac. 16:27-34); Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:1-10); the Thessalonians (1 Th. 1:5-10); the Colossians (Col. 1:4-6); the Ephesians (Ac. 29:17-20); Blind Bartimaeus (Mk. 10:45-52; Lk. 18:35-43); the Prodigal (Lk. 15); Mary (Lk. 7:36-50; Jn. 11:12; Lk. 10:38-42): the Samaritan Woman (Jn. 4); the Demonic of the Gadarenes (Mk. 5:1-20); the Jews and Greeks at Ephesus (Ac. 19:17-19); etc.
Beloved friend, do you see this evidence of true conversion in your life? Or do you identify with the false professor? Was there a moment in time where you passed from death unto life, from darkness into light, from unrighteous to righteous, through repentance of your sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you “in Christ” or yet out of Christ?
God tries the hearts. The fining pot tries the silver and the furnace the gold, “but the LORD trieth the hearts.” (Pr. 17:3). All that are saved will manifest these marks of true salvation. John’s epistles clearly distinguishes those who have life (the saved) from those who do not (the lost, false professors) by explaining qualities essential to life itself, rather than distinguishing characteristics that divide abiding or obedient believers from allegedly non-abiding or disobedient believers.
“How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt. 23:33b). Through the new birth. Jesus said, “except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:7). To become “a son of God” (Jn 1:12) you have to be “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1:13).
Then we must ask, how can a “man be born again”?
To be born again, to be converted, is to have the Lord Jesus’ blood wash away your sins (Isa. 1:18), and that requires “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ac. 20:21). The infallible Bible, the sole and sufficient authority for the Christian’s faith and practice (2 Tim. 3:16-17), teaches that by means of the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Lk. 24:44-48), God justifies or declares righteous all who come to Him in true repentance (Is. 55:1-7; Lk. 13:3,5; 14:25–15:32; Jn. 3:19-21) and trust in the blood of the Redeemer (Jn. 3:15-18; Rom. 5:1). Justification is received simply by repentant faith in Christ, apart from good works (Eph. 2:8-9) and religious rituals, including those ordained by God (Gal. 2:16; 5:4-6), such as believer’s immersion (Rom. 6:1-7) and the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:24-25). All who have been justified are eternally secure (Jn. 10:27-30). Those who believe or teach a false gospel will be eternally damned (Gal. 1:8-9), and heretics must be rejected (Ti. 3:10).
Everything becomes new when a lost sinner gets saved. And he will live continuously according to God’s Word. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezk 36:25-27) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17). “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Th 2:13).
Could you say with the Pslamist, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” (Ps. 66:16)?