A Changed Life

Scripture clearly reveals that God wants His children to be assured of their salvation (1 Jn. 5:13). The moment we were born-again, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13,14). We either have Christ within us, or we don’t; our souls are in union with God, or they aren’t. There is no middle ground. Historically, the Church has taught that assurance of salvation comes from the testimony of a changed life, the authority of God’s Word, and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist could spot a religious phony and wasn’t afraid to call them out. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance’” (Matt. 3:7,8). When I finally stopped playing church and came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, my life changed. Previously I had a religiously trained conscience that kept me from killing people, stealing other people’s property, or being mean to others, but I was a natural man who only thought of himself as being a pretty good guy (compared to others). After my conversion I started to feel convicted about issues I had rationalized before such as my struggle with lust (others do it), a foul mouth (nobody can tame the tongue), and self-righteousness (I’m better than most).

The apostle James wrote, “Show me your faith apart from works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). In other words, what you believe is demonstrated by how you live. People don’t always live according to what they profess, but they do live according to what they actually believe. If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in the way you live to convict you?

Dr. Neil

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