Skip to comments.11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation: Test #1 - Do you enjoy Fellowship with God and Christ?
Posted on 01/04/2013 7:15:20 AM PST by xzins
11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation -
In 1746, about six years after the Great Awakening, in which Jonathan Edwards was the primary instrument of God to preach the gospel and bring about the greatest revival in American history thus far, Edwards wrote A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections. He wrote it to deal with a problem not unlike one we face today: the matter of evidence for true conversion. Many people want the blessings of salvation, especially eternal security, but no more.
In the explosive drama of the Great Awakening, it seemed as though conversions were occurring in great numbers. However, it didn't take long to realize that some people claimed conversions that were not real. While various excesses and heightened emotional experiences were common, scores of people didn't demonstrate any evidence in their lives to verify their claim to know and love Jesus Christ, which led critics to attack the Great Awakening, contending it was nothing but a big emotional bath without any true conversions.
Thus, partly in defense of true conversion and partly to expose false conversion, Jonathan Edwards took up his pen. He came to this simple conclusion. The supreme proof of a true conversion is what he called "holy affections," which are a zeal for holy things and a longing after God and personal holiness. He made a careful distinction between saving versus common operations of the Holy Spirit. Saving operations obviously produce salvation. Common operations of the Holy Spirit, he said, "may sober, arrest and convict men, and may even bring them to what at first appears to be repentance and faith, yet these influences fall short of inward saving renewal" (lain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography [Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987], p. 255).
How can you tell whether the Holy Spirit has performed a saving operation? As the principle evidence of life is motion, Edwards wrote, so the principle evidence of saving grace is holy practice (pp. 262-63). He said true salvation always produces an abiding change of nature in a true convert. Therefore, whenever holiness of life does not accompany a confession of conversion, it must be understood that this individual is not a Christian.
In the very year Edwards' treatise was published, popular teaching asserted that, to the contrary, the only real evidence of true salvation is a feeling based on an experience--usually the experience at the moment of the alleged conversion. That teaching introduces the prevalent but erroneous concept that a person's true spiritual state is known by a past experience rather than a present pursuit of holiness. Edwards flatly contradicted that notion: "Assurance is never to be enjoyed on the basis of a past experience. There is need of the present and continuing work of the Holy Spirit ... [in] giving assurance" (p. 265). This is no esoteric theological debate: the substance of your assurance is at stake.
A number of New Testament writers, of course, were very concerned about this matter of true salvation, as was our Lord Jesus Himself. The apostle John dedicated his first letter to the subject, stating his theme at the end: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). Throughout the letter is a series of tests to determine whether you possess eternal life. If you don't pass these tests, you'll know where you stand and what you need to do. If you do, you'll have reason to enjoy your eternal salvation with great assurance.
1- Do You Enjoy Fellowship with Christ and the Father?Jesus is Lord!
This is an essential element in true salvation and the first test John presented. Look with me at chapter 1, which begins: "We [John and his fellow apostles] have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (vv. 2-3). Obviously he was going beyond just the earthly acquaintance he had with Jesus because he had no such earthly acquaintance with the Father. Rather, he was presently enjoying communion with the living God and the living Christ.
Now at first you might be tempted to think, Well, good for John, but his was not an isolated experience. In 1 John 5:1, he says, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him" (emphasis added). It is characteristic of any believer to love God and Christ. It is a sign of the holy affections Jonathan Edwards spoke of. A relationship with God is basic to salvation. It is what we as believers were called to. "God is faithful," Paul says, "through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:9).
Paul described what that fellowship meant to him personally: "I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me" (Gal 2:20). There's something very experiential about that truth--it's not just a cold fact that we as believers have divine life living in us; there's an experience to be enjoyed in knowing God intimately.
Jesus implied as much when He said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10: 10). If He had just said, "I came that you may have life," we could conclude He was talking only about His gracious provision of eternal life. By adding that life could be abundant, Jesus was moving into the dimension of experience. The Christian life is a rich life. We're meant to experience joy, peace, love, and purpose. When someone who's about to be baptized testifies about coming to Christ, you won't hear, "The fact is, folks, I'm saved, and I'm just here to announce that." Invariably the person will describe to you the feeling--the overwhelming sense of forgiveness and purpose in his or her life.
Here's a taste of the abundant life Scripture describes in terms of our fellowship with the Lord. The "God of all comfort" (2 Cor 1:3); "the God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10); the God who supplies all [our] needs according to His riches in Christ (Phil. 4:19); the God who leads us to speak to one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to Him (Eph 5:19); the God to whom we cry "Abba! Father!" (Rom 8:15) like little children to the daddy we adore; the God we draw near to in time of trouble (Heb 4:16)--He Himself so greatly enriches us. Our fellowship with Him is the abundant life we experience.
Have you experienced communion with God and Christ? Have you sensed Their presence? Do you have a love for Them that draws you to Their presence? Have you experienced the sweet communion of prayer--the exhilarating joy of talking to the living God? Have you experienced the refreshing, almost overwhelming sense of grace that comes upon you when you discover a new truth in His Word? If you have, then you have experienced the fellowship of salvation.
1.Do you enjoy Fellowship with God and Christ?
2.Are you Sensitive to Sin in your Life?
3.Do you Obey the Scriptures?
4.Do you Reject this Evil World?
5.Do you Love Christ and eagerly await His Return?
6.Do you see a Decreasing Pattern of Sin in your Life?
7.Do you Love other Christians?
8.Do you Receive Answers to your Prayers?
9.Do you Experience the Ministry of the Holy Spirit?
10.Can you Discern between Spiritual Truth and Error?
11.Have you Suffered on Account of your Faith in Christ?
Ping to article
Thought it was ...believe and thou shalt be saved.....
With a centurion’s faith.
Jesus also said:
15Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?17So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.22Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?23And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. Romans 10:9
And then God makes it even simpler.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13.
As Isaiah said, “to the law and to the testimony”.
We should not kid ourselves about the results of real salvation.
I was saved in 1981 and "checked up on my salvation" maybe a hundred times in the early years.
Even today, Satan is capable of dangling doubt in front of my face, but the directive to "Hide Thy (God) word in my heart .. " is the solution to doubt.
Jesus used scripture to confront and defeat Satan in the wilderness temptation.
Salvation IS easy ... whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Shall ... Be ... Saved.
This only would I learn of you, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Gal 3:2-3.
“7.Do you Love other Christians?”
I think there is a mistake here. Shouldn’t it read,
“7.Do you Love other bible believing, pre-tribulationist, King James only, Baptists?”
I’ll raise you one more ping.
Timely series, thanks. I’ve gotten a bellyful of “belief is enough, repentence is optional” sermonizing lately. If sin abounds in your life you need to examine yourself.
John mcarthur believes Christians are selected by God and not saved by faith.
Very good article xzins.
I did not know that Jonathan Edwards Ministry lined up so well with John Wesley’s.
This is what is missing in ChristianDom today.
Real Salvation that leads to a Change of Heart!
Yeah, I am really, really conflicted with John. In everything else, he is a spot on, really great Bible teacher and preacher, I’m just not a Calvinist, and its weird because Calvinists and reformed people tend to talk more about Calvin than Christ. And there is a reformed movement sweeping evangelicals, even in the Baptist church. But it is just not Biblical. As quoted above, “If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved.” A lot of Calvinists want to argue that it is more complicated than that, that their study and education has revealed to them much much more that is part of salvation, but that hardly squares with Jesus stating that unless you have the faith of a child, you could not be saved. In other words, salvation by faith is as simple as a child’s faith.
I think that what John has stated is a sign of growth of a Christian, and that we should strive for each one of those things to be part of who we are as followers of Christ. But I don’t believe that is a salvation checklist. You could be saved, and not have developed in those areas like you could have, but that would be your loss on missing out to have a deeper, richer experience for Christ, and to enjoy the fruits of living that experience for Christ.
Finally, many great Bible teachers like Norman Geissler, Frank Turek, Adrian Rodgers have clearly shown that the elect refers to nations, or people called to ministry, but not to salvation. Salvation is to all people, not just some that God arbitrarily picks to be saved.
I read the 11, and if this were a True-False test, like in grade school, some of my answers would be the “T” with an extra line under the crossing top line, in an attempt to obfuscate. Didn’t work in grade school either.
I believe I am saved by faith in God. The indwelling Holy Spirit (with all the power, and promise of God) will change me.
Now, do I see those changes? When I do, I praise God! for his Love and Faithfulness.
When I do not, I pray for forgiveness, and repent, and trust God to hold up his end.
Any change in me is the Power of God, working in me. I can do nothing to ‘force’ the issue, earn my way, stress to be better, etc. Problem is, someone looking at me from the outside may see a lazy sinner, who is not trying enough. Or (on a good day) see a Christian, who is doing God’s will. The “works” I do are those things the Holy Spirit shows me to do, and as I obey (and the HS produces results) it may appear that I am a Good Christian. (And I may still appear lazy or hypocritical to an observer from the world or be judged by a Christian.)
I have to continue to believe God is saving me as I appear as lazy, or even good. Especially when I am judged by others, or by even myself. (Sometimes the face I see in the mirror is not a nice guy.) Now, even as I type, I want to repent of my view of myself, and look at myself with the Forgiveness and Love of God.
Disclaimer= = This is not just feel good ideas out of my head. This is the life of Christ that has been formed by years of believing, fellowship, and Bible reading. I could find scriptures to support much, and they flitted through my head as I typed, but I am relying on the HS and the Mind of Christ in other Christians to hear them from the HS also. (And too much time to find and quote and cut and paste for accuracy.)
No false prophets here or lawlessness for that matter.
A centurions faith that ...8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
That’s it, an up or down vote. an exercise of volition (key part of our “in his image” package).
The list of 11 “tests” seems a nice, thorough checklist for one’s daily walk.
Thank you for your service sir
**’Failing Miserably Daily’ Bump For Later**
While everything on the list is good, and cause a Christian to ponder, They are Not “10 New Commandments” to either save or KEEP Salvation.
If a person is a believer, these 10 things will start to happen, (because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit)and will be the RESULT of Salvation.
And if a person is NOT a Christian, they won’t care.
And here’s the rub...if we start answering “YES” to the majority of the questions, do we become like the pharisee who went up to the Temple to pray, and addressed God by listing all his good deeds?
Eek...don’t wanna be like THAT!
Grace and peace to you, FRiend.
I do love bible-believing, pre-trib, KJV only Baptists. Otherwise, I’d have to ditch half the family.
He is a Calvinist, but no Calvinist would reject Sola Fide; it is one of their basic principles.
So far as being selected by God, even free-will Christians believe that. "Those He foreknew, He predestined."
It is possible both to examine oneself and not become a Pharisee. The Apostle Paul says, "a man ought to examine himself..."
"1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. "
"If we confess our sins..." assumes that we have reflected and realized our sin.
Of Course we must examine ourselves. It is part of the Christian Walk.
But we must be very careful, in going through a “Checklist” that we do not succumb to legalism.
I was in the 4th grade, and the rather inept public school teacher was explaining about the Puritans. Of COURSE, I asked: “What’s a Puritan?”
Teacher: They were Calvinists.
Me: What’s a Calvinist?
Teacher: Someone who believes in predestination.
Me: What’s predestination?
Teacher; That’s the belief that God has already decided who’s going to heaven and who’s going to hell.
Me: Then why be good? if you’re going to hell anyway, why not just do whatever you want to?
The teacher then just sputtered “I’m SURE that’s NOT what Calvin had in mind!’ and changed the subject. I was always a troublemaker, I guess, and now I’m a FReeper. (and a CHRISTIAN!)LOL!
Happy New Year, FRiend, and thank you for your service!
Interesting list. With arguably the exception of #3 none of them are work based related. If one goes to the website MacArthur points out how even #3 is that we want to be obedient because of our gratitute for what Christ has done.
It's all about a relationship, not works.
Or that we make "not going through a checklist" into a legalism.
However, this article is about each of us examining the authenticity of our OWN salvation. John says that those who are His have fellowship with Him.
“Otherwise, Id have to ditch half the family.”
Wait a minute, just wait a minute. There are only 11 statements. I don’t see anything there about having to love one’s family. You can’t just change testing to suit a personal cross. Next thing you’ll be requiring is that we have to love Presbyterians or worse, Episcopalians.
I'm a Calvinist. I became a Calvinist about 5 years ago. What I have learned is that God is VERY, VERY GOOD and I am VERY, VERY EVIL. It's not much more complicated than that.
Presbyterians, yes, but Episcopalians require a special dispensation.
There is no check list to check over. It is the Holy Spirit working in us and through us believers until the day Christ comes for us. Everything else that needs to be "checked off some list" are WORKS, performed by man to pat himself on the back with and once again FEEL worthy of God's acceptance.
Alright, maybe the Presbyterians, but they have to be single malt, pre-trib, Presbyterians; no blended, mid-trib, post-trib or amills. They steal your libations and start endless fights.
Longer than 5 years...right?? Weren't you part of the Calvin Wars, the GRPL and all that here on FR? That was every bit of 5 years and some.
Nor any preterist Presbyterians.
After all, the pre and the ter are both already in the name.
I might consider presbyteriist.
Hmmmmm...that’s a good question. You might be right. I went back to my home page and noticed that I started on FR in 2003. I remember my “conversion” :O) with Dr. E and Dr. SteveJ but I can’t quite recall when I embraced the TULIP. As far as the Calvin Wars, that seems to have been going on forever. Was there ever a time when that didn’t take place?
10 years here?!? Thanks for reminding me how old I’m getting. :O)
You hit that one spot on! Well done!
I meant to point out how old you've been looking lately.
I used to have hair....
Let me take just a slight bit of issue with the "even myself" part.
Paul says in 2 Co 13: 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you. 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
If you're going to ping this out, please add my name to the list.
While various excesses and heightened emotional experiences were common, scores of people didn't demonstrate any evidence in their lives to verify their claim to know and love Jesus Christ, which led critics to attack the Great Awakening, contending it was nothing but a big emotional bath without any true conversions.
This still seems to be the case in many groups I've encountered and in some churches and denominations as well.
This is a weakness of televangelists. There is lots of show but there's no way to determine if what happens is of God because there's no follow up.
I’m thinking, after reading these posts, that many people are confused about the purpose of this thread and series.
It’s not about how to get saved, which IS very simple, but about examining the evidence of salvation.
I used to have eyesight....
(Was on amazon looking for reading glasses in an aluminum tube so I can carry them around in my pocket. Was filling my chainsaw with gas this morning, and was better able to hear that it was nearly full than see that it was nearly full. “I don’t want to hear Wales dead... I want to SEE Wales dead.”.)
I agree. In these “tests” MacArthur is pushing us to do some soul-searching.
It is hard to examine our own life and ask if our salvation was authentic. It’s too easy to dismiss the biblical reminders of what authentic faith looks like.
And it’s very hard to admit we don’t like what we see when we do examine ourselves.
Paul says, “Should we go on sinning so that grace may abound? May it never be!”
In other words, believers are repulsed by the very notion of abusing grace.
Someone above mentioned "easy-believism" and that's part of it. Since others have departed the faith and were not really part of us, then it behooves us: 2 Peter 1:10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It certainly cannot be denied that even the most spiritual of believers today fall short of God's standards, nor is there a true lack of spirituality among today's Christians. BUt the question is: How do we measure our spirituality? And how can we know that we are doing what God wants us to do and are approved workman for Him? How do others (believers and non-believers) perceive us? Look at the Corinthians for example.
Paul called them UNspiritual babes (1 Cor. 3:1) and rebuked them for their carnality, for their "envying, and strife, and divisions" (1 Cor.3 :3), for their immorality (1 Cor. 5:1), for their dishonesty and oppression of each other (1 Cor. 6:7,8), for their unfaithfulness in giving (1 Cor. 9:11-14), for their selfishness and pride (1 Cor. 11:21,22), and told them: "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned!" (1 Cor. 5:2, 4:18).
Yet this SAME Corinthian church, at this SAME time, ABOUNDED in miraculous gifts (1 Cor. 1:7, 12:8-11, 14:12, 18,26).
If these Corinthians had received an "11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation", how would they have scored? They were saved believers, don't forget. And how would others have scored them? Would they believe these Corinthians were saved?
There is more to the subject, but I'll leave it at this for a moment..:)
he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works...be fully persuaded in your own mind...persuaded that He is able to keep that which you have entrusted to Him...to Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless...be found in Him, not having your own righteousness.
For He has said... Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save...Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?...even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you...with exceeding joy...be not afraid,only believe...this is the work of God...for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
See 2 Corinth 13 quote by Paul at post #37
I noticed the same thing about the Corinthians church.
There was also the issue of the sin in their midst. Paul seemed to consider the man who was having relations with his father’s wive as a believer, and he had to rebuke the church for bragging about it.
It’s almost like God put 1 Corinthians in the Bible just almost as an enigma.
(From another thread)...The scary thing (the fear and trembling type!)is that not only does the Creator of the cosmos know every single word that gets posted here but also every single thought and intent behind it.I'll freely admit that I don't have an absolute handle on every agenda that dwells deep within me because my heart is also desperatly wicked and deceitfull and I do not fully know it.That is not humility that is a cold hard fact.Would anyone here say they've done nothing but post exactly how God's Spirit would have us post?When I contemplate the utter depth of myself,as far as I can know with any semblence of certainty,I shudder at the thought that I could possibly think I have anything in the way of 'good' to offer God.It would say to me that I have absolutely no idea of the dire depths I am in.It would be (as I've ranted many times before)akin to me standing on the surface of the sun expecting to cast a shadow. I can't say I know every thought and intent of my own heart but I can thank God for sending His only begotten Son to RESCUE ME.Jesus is Lord.Maranatha
I agree. I was told one time that when the rapture occurs, we will be shocked to see who is part of it. And who is not. I believe that..
Then there should be no problem with following Paul’s advice in 2 Co 13 to examine ourselves to see if we pass the test. Nor should there be problem with Peter’s admonition that we be eager to make our calling and election sure.” 2 Peter 1:10