Posted by: missionventureministries | November 13, 2010

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN – 1 John 2:3-11

First John 2:3-11 tells us how we can know we are Christians. The basic definition is one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The one who does not believe is not a Christian. Jesus stated that definition very simply when He said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:18

Determining who is a Christian becomes difficult when considering people who claim to believe. Many who profess to believe in Christ may act like Christians to a certain degree, but turn out to be impostors or are simply misinformed about the nature of salvation. Either way, it becomes obvious that they did not really know the truth. For example, 1 John 2:19 identifies some people who claimed to be Christians but eventually left the fellowship: “They were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” One way you can identify false Christians (who are called “tares” in Matthew 13:38) is when they abandon Christianity. But while they are interacting with true believers, it is difficult to tell them apart.

Some Christians have wrongly been told that their superficial beliefs are sufficient to save them, so they assume that they are Christians when they really are NOT.

How do you know you are really a Christian? That is a crucial question. The Scriptures give several basics of assurance that can show us we are truly saved.

1.      2 Corinthians 1:12 – Paul says, “Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, we have behaved ourselves in the world.” Paul was saying, “I know what is going on in my life because of the testimony of my conscience. Something tells me in my conscience that my behavior is pleasing to God.”

2.      1 John 5:10 – “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself.” That indwelling witness who bears testimony to Christ is the Holy Spirit. He attests to the validity of a believer’s salvation.

3.      Romans 8:14-16 – “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (vs. 14-15). “Abba” is the equivalent to daddy, a very endearing term. It implies that we can relate to God like a child talks to his loving father. Verse 16 tells us that the indwelling Spirit gives us the confidence to enter God’s presence: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”

The visible proof to yourself, the church, and the world that you are a Christian is the attitudes and actions that are produced by the Holy Spirit in your life. If you still have doubts, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:

  • Have you applied yourself to godliness?
  • Are you reading the Word?
  • Are you spending time in prayer?
  • Are you learning the Word of God?
  • Do you desire to draw near to God and to obediently follow the Holy Spirit?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you will have confirmation that you are a believer because the fruits of salvation are visible in your life. That is the theme of 1 John 2:3-11. He provides some tests by which we can evaluate the claims of a person who professes to be a Christian.

1. Do you confess Christ?

Do you say the same thing about Christ that God says in the Bible? If you say, “I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe Christ is God,” then you are not saying the same thing about Christ that God said.

  • 1 John 2:22-23 – “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”
  • 1 John 4:2 – “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”
  • 1 John 5:1 – “Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

Being truly saved is a matter of confessing or agreeing that Jesus is the Christ. Do you confess your sin?

If someone comes along and tells us he or she is a Christian but does not acknowledge his sin, we do not believe them.

  • 1 John 1:6, 8 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie …. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

2.  Do you obey God’s Word?

  • First John 2:3 says, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

3.  Do you love others?

  • First John 2:10 says, “He that loves his brother abides in the light.”

The issue in 1 John 2:3-11 is the objective moral test of true Christianity: obedience and love. The Christians John wrote to were being influenced by false teachers or “antichrists,” according to 1 John 2:18. Therefore, John exhorts his readers to “test the spirits” (4:1), rather than naively believe their claims. If they could see obedience and love in the lives of the teachers, those qualities would attest to their spiritual life.

Obedience is one way of knowing you are a Christian. If a person claims to be a Christian, but is disobedient to God throughout his life, the apostle John says he is “a liar, and the truth is not in him” (v. 4). The way to be assured that we truly know Him as a child knows his father is by keeping His commandments. Obedience results in assurance. Christians who have doubts usually are involved in sin because sin produces doubt.

John encouraged his readers to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” – 1 John 4:1. Don’t be naively misled by someone who claims to know the truth but really doesn’t.

Do you love God? Do you love the children of God? These questions demand a soul-searching examination because it is easy to assume the answer is yes. Meditate on 1 John 3:14-18; 4:7-11, 19-21; and 5:1-3. What proof is there in your life that you love God and His children?

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