Editor’s Note: Scriptures along with emphasis added by me.
Evidence of salvation
Written By: Pastor Jim Joseph, Living Waters Fellowship
The Bible teaches us that if a person is truly a Christian there will be definitive changes in that person’s life. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
We are saved by grace through faith alone. But saving faith is by its very nature alive and transforming. Our changed lives give evidence to that saving faith.
Another of Jesus’ disciples, the Apostle John, writes about some very specific evidence of a Christian’s salvation in his first epistle. Accordingly, he refers to several, which we should expect to see in our own lives and in the lives of all other believers. Each of these evidence affects our words, our deeds and our lifestyles.
First is obedience.
“We know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.”
1 John 2:3-6 (NLT2)3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 John 3:22-24 (NLT2)22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
1 John 4:20-21 (NLT2)20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
We see within us a desired and willing obedience to God’s Word. We begin to do those things that please the Lord and to avoid those things which displease him. Using the Bible as our guide, we choose to live according to its teachings and its commands.
Second is love for God .
1 John 2:5 (NLT2)5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.
1 John 5:1 (NLT2)1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.
If we belong to him, we will love him — passionately, purposefully and powerfully. We love if with all of whom we are. To the believer, God is not just out there, but a being with whom we have entered into living and lasting relationship based not on fear, but on love.
Third, we choose not to love the world
1 John 2:15-17 (NLT2)15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
1 John 5:4 (NLT2)4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
We cannot love both God and the world. Jesus said we cannot serve both God and Mammon. We are called to live a life of holiness to God.
Matthew 6:24 (NLT2)24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
1 John 2:29 (NLT2)29 Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.
1 John 3:7-10 (NLT2)7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
1 John 5:18-19 (NLT2)18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
It is very easy to be a Christian on Sunday morning, but live a completely different life the rest of the week. For a true believer, how we live our lives in and out of church is not differentiated. We strive to live consistent, godly lives 24/7 so that through our words, our deeds and our lifestyles people will know we are Christians.
Fifth is love for other believers
1 John 3:11 (NLT2)11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:13-18 (NLT2)13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God’s love be in that person?18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
1 John 4:7-8 (NLT2)7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Not love for other believers who agree with us or who are from our own fellowship or denomination, but all Christians.
There are three kinds of pride: pride of face, pride of race and pride of grace. All are wrong, but the last is the most insidious. A true Christian loves like Jesus loves, even dying for others.
It is precisely because of that we choose to live in harmony with each other, forgiving one another and allowing love to cover a multitude of sins.
Sixth, through study we gain an understanding biblical truth
1 John 4:1-2, 13 (NLT2)1 Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.2 This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. 13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
Like the reformers of old we stand on Sola Scriptura (Latin: by scripture alone) as the basis of our living out of this Christian life. Christians have a love for God’s Word. Reading it is not drudgery or a chore that must be done, but there is a joy that comes from reading, studying and understanding God’s Word.
Seventh, we experience answered prayer.
1 John 5:14-15 (NLT2)14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
The entire purpose of John writing this letter was to help us know that we have eternal life — to show us the evidence of our faith that should be there.
1 John 5:13 (NLT2)13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
May you enjoy the fullness of the salvation that comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ .