When I was about ten or eleven years old, I stopped being able to fall asleep easily at night. I’d on my bunk-bed instead, staring at the ceiling and thinking about hell. Where would I go when I died? I said my own version of ‘the sinner’s prayer’ every night, but it didn’t shake my fear. Maybe you can relate.
Many of you have raised questions about your own salvation. How can you tell if you’ve been saved?
Required: Holy Pedigree
The Bible is clear about the marks of a repentant believer.
Who will be in heaven? Only holy men and women: “Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Who are these holy ones? Those who love God: “If God were your Father,” Jesus challenges, “you would love Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. ” (John 8:42, 44).
How do we know if we love Him? “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me” (John 14:21). “You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)
The truth could hardly have been driven in more earnestly throughout Scripture. William Gurnall said it well: “Say not that you have royal blood in your veins, and are born of God, except you can prove your pedigree by daring to be holy.”
If you look like the world, act like the world and think like the world, it doesn’t matter that you go to church and youth group, know your Sunday school answers, quote C.S. Lewis and listen to Christian music. It doesn’t matter that you ‘prayed a prayer’ back when you were four years old, or went forward at an altar call. (Titus 1:16 acknowledges that people may profess to know God without knowing Him at all.) It doesn’t matter that all your friends act exactly the same way you do. It doesn’t matter if you feel emotional sometimes during a worship service. You cannot call yourself His follower. Unchanged Christians do not exist.
Here are a few questions to examine yourself by.
- Do you love Him? Not “do you feel that you love Him”—do you actually love Him?
- Do your actions prove the truth of your answer?
- Does your heart cry out to know God?
- Do you hate the sin you once loved because the sin is against God? Do you hate it enough to turn from it?
- Are you a new creation? Has the “old passed away and the new come”? (2 Cor 5:17)
- Are you pursuing holiness?
- Are you pursuing it out of love for Christ, not to impress men?
- Are you consistently exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit? (Gal 5:22-23)