There are many Christians who really don’t know if they’re saved or not. One of the biggest reasons for this is that they don’t study the Bible and have no idea who God really is or who Jesus is. They don’t understand grace and much of their limited knowledge of Him is lost in the Old Testament covenant, and this leaves them to wonder if they’re a real Christian or just a wannebee who hasn’t found God yet.
It’s really very easy to determine if you’re saved and it’s not because you own a copy of the Ten Commandments. There are only two prerequisites to being saved – the first is faith and the second is works.
In order to become a Christian [a follower of Christ] we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to save us by taking our sins upon Himself on the cross and presenting us righteous through HIS blood to God, our Father. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gives us this measure of faith to come to Him with repentance, but this faith is only enough to bring us to the cross; it’s not enough to keep us there.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we must walk by faith and not by sight. We must no longer act and react according the world’s standards; we must always be ready to follow the Bible’s leadership and we must always be ready tell the world about Jesus no matter how much they’ll scorn us or laugh at us. We must never be ashamed of the Gospel, but in faith proclaim it to the world through the witness of how we live our lives. And we do this because we have faith in God and not in the world.
We need to believe that Jesus loves us! We need to accept the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. And we need to be committed to Him and that means studying the Bible and learning His instruction for our lives. 2 Timothy 2:15 says that we need to “study the Bible to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is the only way to read the Bible and we must allow His Holy Spirit to teach us.
We CANNOT depend on our pastor or our minister or anyone else on the earth to teach us about God. We must study the Bible and let God teach us because then we won’t be deceived by false doctrines or man-made interpretations. If we want to be the very best we can be at our job, we would not depend on an unqualified colleague to teach us about our intricate career because that person may not understand half of it and isn’t qualified to teach us. Instead, we’d study and take courses and learn everything there was to know about that job from a qualified teacher so that we could know with confidence how to perform our job and how to act and react as a professional.
When we first come to God there’s a heartfelt conviction that we bear as we realize that we are sinners doomed to God’s wrath, and that Jesus came to take away those sins. We repent and ask Him to take away the sin of the world and then we ask Jesus to come into our heart. John 1:29 says, “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Unfortunately, that experience doesn’t always become conviction and it can have several consequences – some good and some bad. While some new Christians will really dig deep into the Bible to know God, others will just let it all slip away and may either have the “once saved, always saved” deception or they’ll just feel that they couldn’t make it as a Christian so they walk away. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 13:3-9:
“And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun was up, they were scorched and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
To better understand this parable, Jesus explains it to His disciples in Matthew 13:18-23: “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Even though all of these people received the initial faith to believe in Jesus in the first step, most of them did not retain it because they didn’t root themselves in God’s Word. They didn’t grow and instead, they lost what they had received. (Another great parable is about the talents found in Matthew 25:14-29) The ones who do take root are those who study the Bible, learn who God is and change their lives to be what God has set out for them through Jesus.
When we study the Bible, we adapt the fruits of the Spirit into our own lives and the Bible says that Christians are known by their fruits. We learn in Galatians 5:22-23 what these fruits are and our old habits will fall away as we take on these new characteristics of Jesus: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
When we first start out as Christians we have way more of the world in us than we have of Jesus in us, but that’s normal and all of these “bad fruits” will fall off a bit at a time as we study the Bible and take on the “good fruits”. The people of the world bear the opposite characteristics – or fruits – to those of Christ, so if our actions and reactions – especially our reactions – are still influenced by the world after we’ve been a Christian for a while, then we need to seriously look into our heart and see just who we are truly following.
As we grow in Christ, we continue to fill up with His love and this is the one virtue that can really tell us if we’re saved or not. What is the measure of love that we have in our heart? Do we really love Jesus or do we just think He’s wonderful and to be admired? Do we trust Jesus or do we just say that we do and then go to the world for help? Do we love the people around us even though they’re not Christians or do we spent every thought criticizing them for things they do and say? Do we love the people who come against us or do we have this secret ambition to get even when no one is looking? And do we love ourselves as a child of God or do we hate who we are, our appearance and our failures because of the disabilities in life that we endure?
Jesus gave us the new commandment about love in Mark 12:30 and this should be our mandate for life: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” But He also gave us a second part to this comment (31), which is, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
So how can you know if you’re really saved or just a wannabee Christian? You need to search your own heart and dig for the truth inside it. Do you truly love Jesus as a real person who died on the cross for your sins? Do you spend time in the Word learning and growing and constantly changing from your old ways so you can be more like Him? Do you look forward to being in Heaven with Him forever? If your heart says yes, then you’re saved. But if you don’t have a convicted love in your heart for Jesus, don’t read the Bible and don’t apply His instructions or promises to your life and don’t tell others about Him with enthusiasm and appreciation, then that is a really good clue that you’re not a Christian – just a wannabee Christian.
The good news? There’s still room at the cross so if you don’t know Jesus and want to know Him, come now and be saved.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” … John 10:27