To determine the genuineness of one’s faith in Jesus Christ, you must turn to the Bible and examine the objective biblical evidence that identifies authentic salvation. In the Book of 1 John, the Apostle John gave a list of spiritual character traits of biblical salvation. The third characteristic of the genuinely saved is a lifestyle of obedience to the Word of God (1 John 2:3-6). In fact, the lifestyle of the believer should reflect the obedient life of Jesus (2:6). In His incarnation among men, Jesus was the model of perfect obedience to God the Father (Heb 4:15). He never once violated the Word of God. Without a doubt, Christians are not perfect like Jesus, for we commit acts of sin. However the believer’s life will be characterized by an ongoing pattern of obedience to the Word of God. There will be an ongoing desire to please the Lord (Col 1:10).
Here is the difference between a Christian and non-Christian, a person genuinely saved will repent of their sin (1 John 1:5-10), and again seek to live in obedience to the Word of God. The true believer will never perfectly obey the Word of God, but his life will be characterized by an ongoing pattern of obedience (1John 2:3,5). In contrast, the non-Christian’s lifestyle will be characterized by ongoing disobedience to God’s Word. The unregenerate individual does not genuinely concern himself with living in obedience to the Word of God.
The truth is many people believe themselves to be a Christian, but in reality they do not routinely obey the Lord to keep His word or to do His will, thus betraying their unregenerate condition (Matt 7:21-22; Luke 6:46). A note of clarification, people are not saved because they seek to obey the Lord by keeping a list of do’s and don’ts, but genuinely saved people will seek to live in obedience to the Lord.
The Apostle John’s point is those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and yet do not live in ongoing obedience to the commands of the Lord (1 John 2:4) are lost. He stated that they are liars and do not possess saving faith. American churches and society are full of individuals who adamantly profess faith in Jesus Christ yet their lives are not characterized by an ongoing pattern of obedience to God. Once more, those who know the Lord will seek to live in obedience to His Word (2:5). The Lord Jesus stated “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine…” (John 8:31b).
For your own sake, honestly evaluate yourself to see if there is an ongoing pattern of obedience to the Word of God in your life. Ask yourself the question, ‘Is there a pattern of ongoing obedience to the Word of God in my life?’ Many who profess to be a Christian and yet their life is not characterized by an ongoing obedience to the Word of God are self-deceived and lost. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service– yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—“ (Isaiah 29:13 CSB).
“To believe in Christ is to obey Him. Not to believe in Him is to disobey Him”. (by Steven J. Lawson).
Read Part 1 of this series HERE
Read Part 2 of this series HERE
Read Part 3 of this series HERE