The child of God will show the genuineness of his salvation by the way he lives. The Bible describes at least seven different things that will be true of the Christian. Those who do not possess these characteristics have good cause to evaluate the authenticity of their profession of faith.
Not everyone will possess these things to the same degree. No one will possess them perfectly. The practice of these things has nothing to do with keeping salvation. One does not lose his salvation by failing to maintain these Biblical disciplines. At salvation the believer is made a new creature. These are a few of the things that will be different about a Christian life after conversion.
The book of 1 John was written so those who are saved will know they have eternal life. These evidences are not given to cause unwarranted doubt about salvation. They are given to comfort the true believer and to bring the false professor under conviction so he will be saved.
The Biblical marks of genuine salvation are:
- The genuine Christian is honest about his own guilt before God. He does not deny his sinfulness. Salvation is not possible apart from confession of one’s sin and the saved person will continue to acknowledge his sinfulness. (1 John 1:6)
- None can be saved who deny that Jesus is God. Those who profess salvation and deny the deity of Jesus or who later reject His deity show they are not truly saved. (1 John 2:23-24)
- Salvation comes through faith that trusts God entirely for salvation. None can be saved who rely on anything (like goodness, church or religious ritual) in addition to God for their salvation. The child of God trusts Jesus alone to be saved and continues to trust God for his salvation. This saving trust in God grows into an ongoing confidence in God that continues throughout life. (1 John 5:12-15)
- At salvation the Holy Spirit immediately takes up residence in the child of God. The Holy Spirit produces in the Christian a desire to obey the commands of God. The child of God wants to obey and grows in obedience to God. He lives in righteousness and rejects sin. (1 John 2:4; 3:3-10; 3:24; 5:18)
- The New Testament commands for Christians are summed up in the command Jesus gave, “love one another”. (John 13:34) The child of God loves his fellow Christian. His love for others results in a natural obedience to all the other New Testament commands. (1 John 2:9-10; 3:10-18, 23; 4:8-5:3)
- The culture and kingdoms of this world are under the dominion of Satan. The child of God has been delivered from the tyranny of Satan and from enslavement to the world. He no longer loves the things of this world but loves the things of God. (1 John 2:15-17)
- Because salvation comes through the hearing of the Word of God, the believer desires to know more of the Word. The genuine Christian has a hunger for the Bible. (1 Peter 2:2-3)
Salvation is not at all of man’s doing. The ultimate evidence of genuine salvation is the promise and assurance of God. The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the Christian to give confidence of salvation. When the believer is living in sin or neglecting basic Christian disciplines his own heart will convict him and rebuke him. The feeling of assurance may be lost, but in the end God knows the true condition of the heart. Confidence in salvation is not measured by a person’s feelings, but by the promises of God found in His Word. (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:20-21)