Behind the Words

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Sometimes more important than the words we use are the meanings behind those words. Let me explain. I opened my door to two individuals who greeted me with a smile. They said they were Christians and believed in Jesus. However, after asking them a few questions, it became apparent we did not believe in the same Jesus. While I recognize Jesus as the eternal Son of God (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16, 17), they saw him only as a created being. On another occasion a man walked into my office claiming to believe in Jesus, but after several minutes, I learned that his Jesus is simply an enlightened individual and not the Son of God and Savior of the world (Luke 2:10, 11; John 3:16, 17).

Define terms so you understand what the other person is saying and also communicate your faith clearly. Know what you believe so you do not find yourself, like the Corinthians, being deceived by a different gospel:

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4).

Are You Really A Christian?

Dr. BJ Rudge

Can you answer the question: How do you know you are really saved? Many people base their assurance of salvation on reciting the sinner’s prayer or on an emotional response to an altar call. Others believe they are saved by attempting to be a “good” person and live a “good” life. Still others think salvation is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of beliefs in God, Jesus, and the Bible.

These views of salvation leave many people believing they are on their way to heaven. However, Jesus clearly warns that many will stand before Him claiming to be saved and He will say the following, “I never knew you; depart from Me …” (Matthew 7:23). So in light of this sobering verse, it is crucial that you can answer the question, “Do you know you are really saved?”

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 signs that John sets forth to know you have eternal life.

1.  Admit you are a sinner (1 John 1:8-9).

2.  Acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23; 4:15).

3.  Live a life of obedience and keep God’s commandments (1 John 1:6-7; 2:3-6, 29; 3:7-10; 5:2).

4.  Display love to others (1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15, 17-19; 4:7-9).

5.  Possess the hope and longing for Jesus’ return (1 John 3:2-3).

6.  Love other believers and enjoy having fellowship with them (1 John 5:1).

7.  Persevere in the faith (1 John 2:24).

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Have you examined your life? Study these and other related scriptures to be certain you have eternal life and will inherit all God has planned for those who love and obey Him.