Dr. Stephen Phinney
Many use “I am a Christian” as a ticket to salvation and eternal life. Authentic Body members should never count on a stale testimony as an assurance of a loved one’s salvation. Real indwelling faith is alive and sharper than a two-edged sword. It breathes life, promotes life, and propagates life unto life’s last breath. Below are a few helpful ways to “double-check” authentic indwelling salvation.
Are they hostile toward God? (Rom. 8:7)
Are they submitting to God daily? (Rom. 8:8)
Is their lifestyle honorable to the Lord? (Rom. 8:8)
Do they have a desire to fellowship with other believers? (1 John 1:2-3)
Do they have daily joy in daily living? (Phil. 1:4)
Do they understand the difference between “following” vs. being in Christ? (Rom. 6:11)
Are they sensitive to the power of sin? (Rom. 3:23)
Do they avoid friendship with the world? (James 4:4)
Do they eagerly look forward to the Rapture? (Phil. 3:20)
Are they known for their love? (3 John 1:6)
Are they known for their deeds in serving Jesus Christ? (1 Peter 2:12)
Do they have an attitude of “enduring to the end?” (Matt. 13:13)
Are they willing to suffer for the sake of Christ? (1 Cor. 4:13)
Do they have the ability to separate Truth from evil? (1 Thess. 5:21)
Have you seen the flow of the Holy Spirit come forth from them? (Gal. 4:6)
Do they keep themselves from idols? (1 John 5:21)
While many of the above traits overlap one another, this is not a smorgasbord! The true Christian will not consider if he can get away with embracing 1, 7, and 10 above and leave the rest at the Lord’s Table. No, as new creations, we desire all that has been freely given to us in Christ, that we fall behind in no good thing. The true Christian looks not for excuses, but fullness (Matt. 5:6), which we have found and will continue to find at the foot of the Cross, as well as in the believer’s identification with Christ in co-death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. (Rom. 6) While no walk is perfect here on earth, true indwelt believers consistently radiate a passion for living in Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ?
When did you meet Him?
Tell me about this introduction.
How real has God been this week to your heart?
How clear and vivid is your assurance and certainty of God’s forgiveness and fatherly love. To what degree is that real to you right now?
Are you having any particular seasons of sweet delight in God? Do you really sense His presence in your life? Do you really sense Him giving you his love?
Does the Holy Spirit mostly control you?
Do you have a new nature?
Please explain to me what it means to have a new nature in Christ.
Do you have a passion for loving others, particularly those that reject you?
Do you believe the Word of God is Holy and inerrant?
Share with me the “fruit” you have in your life due to being a Christian.
Would you say you look more like Jesus or a sinner?
What portion of your life would you say that you put your trust in Jesus?
Please explain to me the moment the Holy Spirit came to dwell in your body.
Do you believe Jesus is God?
Please explain to me the process you take someone through to become an indwelt Christian.
There are two important tests in Scripture for a person to determine whether or not he or she is a true believer.
First of all, there is an objective test, which asks, “Do I believe?” Ask yourself or the person you are ministering if you/they affirm the Scripture’s record of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Do you/they believe that He is God manifest in the flesh? Do you/they believe that God saves sinners solely through the merits of Jesus Christ’s obedient life and substitutionary death on the Cross?
Second is the subjective or experiential test of assurance in which you/they ask yourself, “Is my faith real?” The apostle John’s purpose in writing the epistle of 1 John was to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). In that small epistle, John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer.
True believers walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7). The light here means both intellectual and moral Truth. Ask, “Do I/you affirm the truths of Scripture and desire to obey them?”
True believers confess their sin (1:8-2:1). Confess here doesn’t mean to recite every wrong that we have ever done. Rather, it means to agree with God about our sin. That means that true believers hate their sin; they don’t love it. They acknowledge they are sinful, and yet they know they are forgiven.
True believers keep His commandments through the indwelling Life of Christ (2:3-4; 5:2-3). The term here refers to watchful, observant obedience. Here the believer desires to obey truths he deems precious. It involves a proactive approach to obedience-the Christian studies Scripture to understand and obey it.
True believers love the brethren (2:9-11; 3:10, 14-15; 5:2). Ask yourself/them the question, “Do I love God’s people and desire to be around them?”
True believers affirm sound doctrine (2:20-23; 4:2,6). John here teaches that no true believer will fall into any serious, Christ-denying error or heresy.
True believers walk in and through Holiness by releasing the Holy Spirit (2:29; 3:3-4, 6-9). These verses certainly aren’t talking about sinless perfection or even the frequency or duration of sin. In these verses, the term sin describes one who lives an immoral, ungodly, unrighteous life as a matter of continual practice and carries the attitude of hardened hate for God’s righteousness.
True believers have the Holy Spirit (4:13; 5:10-11). This is an over-arching test summing up all the others. Is there evidence that the fruit of the Spirit is present in your/their life (Galatians 5:22-23)? This test qualifies you/them with the belief that living in Christ supersedes walking after the Spirit externally.
In summary, one’s assurance of salvation does not need to be based on a past decision or an experience. It should rest first of all on one’s faith in the objective Truth of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of His indwelling Life. Secondly, it should rest on the reality of a changed life marked by obedience, a love for Christ and His righteousness, and a hatred for sin. Take heart if these things are true in your life, and trust God to continue to work out His salvation in your life.
If you/they need a sample Salvation Prayer, consider this one.
Mar_16:20; Luk_1:69; Luk_1:71; Luk_1:77; Luk_2:30; Luk_3:6; Luk_19:9; Joh_4:22; Act_4:12; Act_13:26; Act_13:47; Act_16:17; Act_28:28; Rom_1:16; Rom_10:1; Rom_10:10; Rom_11:11; Rom_13:11; 2Co_1:6; 2Co_6:2; 2Co_7:10; Eph_1:13; Eph_6:17; Php_1:28; Php_2:12; 1Th_5:8; 1Th_5:9; 2Th_2:13; 1Ti_4:16; 2Ti_2:10; 2Ti_3:15; Tit_2:11; Heb_1:14; Heb_2:3; Heb_2:10; Heb_5:9; Heb_6:9; Heb_9:28; Heb_11:7; 1Pe_1:5; 1Pe_1:9; 1Pe_1:10; 1Pe_2:2; 2Pe_3:15; Jud_1:3; Rev_7:10; Rev_12:10; Rev_19:1.
If you are assured of your indwelling salvation, you might want to take the Spiritual Gifts Test. HERE
After taking the Knowing Your Spiritual Gifts test, consider downloading the eBook on Knowing Your Spiritual Gifts.
INDWELLING GIFTS: The Lord Jesus reveals to us in 1 Timothy 4:14; ”Do not neglect the spiritual gifts within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery (church leadership). These extraordinary spiritual gifts, which are connected with certain offices in the Church, are gifts given by the Holy Spirit to all authentic believers to build up the entire Church.
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