Recently, in Bible Study, one of the members asked “If I go down and repeat what the minister says does that mean I’m saved?” My quick answer was just repeating the words doesn’t mean you’re saved. Then I referred him to;
Romans 10:8-11 (NKJV)8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
Many times we can get caught up in a great sermon or we’re going through a difficult time so we run down at the minister’s invitation and repeat a “sinner’s prayer”, but don’t really believe what we said. I believe that the Bible teaches immediate and permanent salvation, in other words “once saved, always saved”, but I don’t believe that everyone who just says the words is saved.
Was the confession made in “Said Faith” or “Saving Faith”?
- “Said faith” is an intellectual faith. With intellectual faith you believe something is true without proof or commitment. For example, a person can intellectually believe Jesus was a real person who performed miracles but not accept the fact that He was God in Man. “Said faith” is also the profession of faith from an unregenerate heart. A profession made out of emotion, or sorrow, or shame. That kind of faith will not last and is not “saving faith”
- “Saving faith” is believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a living person, for the forgiveness of sin and trusting Him because He provides eternal life with God. It isn’t enough to simply believe in the actions of Jesus Christ or the abilities of God. True saving faith is more than that; it is a personal relationship with the Savior. As a result, we desire to repent and to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. He will then transform us and conform us to His image. As we walk with God, the more He will bless each of us with perfect assurance regarding our salvation and our relationship with Him. (InTouch Ministries)
“When we trust in Jesus Christ, our eternal security in Christ becomes a spiritual reality whether we understand it or believe it. One's belief in security in Christ does not make it true or false. If we have trusted in the person and work of Christ for personal salvation, security is a fact.
Assurance is the confident realization of that security. It is the realization of what we have in Christ such as eternal life, forgiveness of sin, and being the object of God’s personal care as his children. Assurance has to do with our comprehension of the facts and provisions of salvation through faith in Christ. This is a crucial doctrine because, properly understood, it will touch the believer’s life in several areas. Not only does it give assurance of salvation, but with that also comes a greater assurance of God’s provision in all areas of life.”
It’s important for us to have the assurance of eternal salvation because, salvation doesn’t mean that we no longer sin and sin can be used by our enemy Satan to cause us to doubt our salvation. The way to have that assurance in to examine, or test yourself. Examine your beliefs, your actions, your motives and compare them to Scripture.
Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
You don’t want to wait until it’s too late. It’s also important that we conduct self-examination so that we continue to bring honor to God and Christ.
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV) 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There are two goals of this self-examination, one to determine if you are in the faith, the other to determine if Christ is in you. It is not to determine your salvation. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior as I described earlier you are saved. The disqualification mentioned in the scripture on self-examination is not about salvation it is about sanctification.
The generic meaning of sanctification is "the state of proper functioning." To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is "sanctified" when used to write. Eyeglasses are "sanctified" when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God's design and purpose.
The Greek word translated "sanctification" (hagiasmos [aJgiasmov"]) means "holiness." To sanctify, therefore, means "to make holy." God calls human beings to be holy as he is holy ( Lev 11:44 ; Matt 5:48 ; 1 Peter 1:15-16 ).- Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
Examine Yourself To See If You Are In the Faith
While this could refer to salvation, I believe that in the context of 2 Corinthians, where Paul is writing to believers, it means sanctification. Examine yourself to make sure you are not a backslider or out of fellowship with other believers. aul could be asking the Corinthian believers to see if they are abiding in the faith in their experience.
Examine Yourself To See If Christ Is In You
The Bible tells us that Christ is in all believers.
John 14:23 (NKJV)23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
But as with being filled with the Holy Spirit we can limit or quench His activity or effectiveness in our lives.
This self-examination will show if our works are “Christlike”. Of course we are not to look to our works, or the results of this self-examination for assurance of salvation. We have that assurance in Christ and Him crucified. We are to look at how our life reflects the Christ that is in us.
Here are some questions that help in a self-examination.
- Do you believe the essentials of the Christian faith: Trinity, Jesus is God in flesh, salvation by grace through faith, Jesus rose from the dead physically?
- Do you confess that you are a sinner before a holy God?
- Do you confess that you cannot please God through your own efforts?
- Do you acknowledge that Jesus is the only way to salvation?
Acts 4:10-12 (NKJV)10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
- Do you acknowledge that there is only one God?
Isaiah 44:6,8 (NKJV)6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. 8 Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.' "
- Do you work to do God’s will?
- Do you know that God loves you and desires your relationship with Jesus?
- Do you acknowledge that sin causes a separation between you and God?
- Do you believe that morals are relative?
- Do you look to the Bible as the source of truth?
- Do you believe that those who reject Christ will will be separated from God forever?
- Do you pray only when something is wrong in your life?
- Is dust collecting on your Bible?
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.