by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.
The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Many people base their confidence in trying to be a “good” person and live a “good” life. Others believe they are saved by merely reciting the sinner’s prayer or responding emotionally to an altar call – and then living any way they choose. Still others think salvation is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of beliefs in God, Jesus, and the Bible.
These views of salvation allow many people to believe they are on their way to heaven, when in fact, they may not be. Jesus clearly warns that many will stand before Him claiming to be saved and He will say: “I never knew you; depart from Me …” (Matthew 7:23). So in light of this sobering verse, it is crucial that each of us can answer the question, “Am I really a Christian according to what the Bible says about a believer in Christ?”
The apostle John provides the answer to this question in his first epistle, “These things I have written to
you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Consider the following points that John makes; indicators of the certainty of eternal life:
- Admit and confess your sins (1 John 1:8-9).
- Acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23; 4:15).
- Live a life of obedience and keep God’s commandments (1 John 1:6-7; 2:3-6, 29; 3:7-10; 5:2).
- Display love to others (1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15, 17-19; 4:7-9).
- Possess the hope and longing for Jesus’ return (1 John 3:2-3).
- Love other believers and enjoy having fellowship with them (1 John 5:1).
- Persevere in the faith (1 John 2:24).