There are two BIG reasons for finding out for definite that you’re a Christian and the 1st one is that if you are a Christian but lack assurance then you have no peace or joy! That means that you’re going to be looking in the mirror a lot instead of out the window! It also means you have no confidence and the 2nd one is Jesus said that there would be MANY people who thought they were Christians and even do miracles who find out on the Day of Judgment that they had never actually been one.
There is no greater tragedy than this. Becoming a Christian, or being born again, is ultimately a miracle that God does. You don’t just wake up one day and say ‘today I’ll try being a Christian and tomorrow I’ll try Buddhism!” In fact what happens is that God comes to you and changes your heart (desires etc) and lives inside you by His Holy Spirit. So it is possible to see if this miracle has happened by seeing if the EFFECTS of the miracle are in our lives. This means we can settle the matter and, if we are Christians, have real peace and joy. Or, if after testing ourselves we find out we’re not born again, then we are in a position to seek God.
There are four tests, here goes….
- A realistic view of your own heart. In the book of 1 John it says “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we ‘agree with God’ about our sins then He is faithful and just to forgive us.” (1 John 1v8-9)
- Do you recognize that you are guilty of many sins against God? Do you try and hide them or do you freely agree with God about your guilt? If so you’re going in the right direction.
Faith in Jesus. Jesus said: “He who has the Son (Jesus) has life (eternal)!” This means understanding with your mind that Jesus, being God, was punished on the cross for all your sins. Then it means committing yourself personally to this truth, in other words it’s not a general idea that you have, but a real trust that Jesus was punished in your place. It’s personal. And then you act on this truth, you live accordingly. You cry out to God to forgive you and then this knowledge that he has forgiven you effects how you live, what you do, where you go, what your priorities are. Does this ring a bell?
- Loving obedience to God. Jesus said:
“If you love me then keep my commands” This means that people who have genuinely been born again have a God given loving desire to obey and walk with Him. Of course we don’t do this perfectly, and even mess up constantly, however, in the same way that a compass points north, so we lean and point in God’s direction.
Bottom line: You hate your sin even though you still do it (albeit to a lesser degree), and you want to lovingly obey God, even though you don’t always do it.
- You love other Christians. The apostle John said: “You know that you have passed from death to life because you love other Christians”
Birds of a feather flock together! Christians want to spend time together and want to share what they have in common, i.e their heavenly Father, their saviour Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who lives inside them. Sure Christians fall out and there are problems, there are in any family! But generally if you don’t like spending time with Christians or talking about the things of God, it’s likely that your not one. If on the other hand you are attracted to these people, and the other points above are true of you, then you have every reason to believe that you are genuinely born again!
Graciously, as we walk in obedience, God also comes to us and assures us that we are His by allowing us to experience His love. This is subjective though and ranges in frequency and intensity!
Two final thoughts! There is a difference between salvation and assurance. You can be saved and not be sure you are. You can also lose your assurance, but you can never lose your salvation. Why would you lose your assurance? If your flirting with sin you’ll lose your assurance, or if you don’t fully understand the gospel you will lack assurance. In all cases don’t rest until you know for sure that heaven will one day be your home!