How do we know if a person is truly saved?

Commentary By:  Gordon King

As Christians we can see the changes in our life after being born again.  If we were truly saved then we should know it by what God has done in our lives and by our relationship with God.  However, it often becomes much more difficult to know if someone else has truly been saved.

We can observe another person’s speech and their actions and try to determine if they are saved, however, it doesn’t always mean that they are saved nor have they ever actually known God!

There are many deceptions in the world today, and some of them are the deceptions of people saying that they follow Christ when they actually never knew Him in the first place.  There are those who profess Christ yet their hearts say otherwise!

We can observe a person by their fruit, yet there are many people who do “good works” and say “good things”, yet their heart is not with God.  This is a deception that many of us do not see, nor can we as only God truly knows the heart.  And this is where it becomes frustrating for me as a follower of Christ, those who profess to know Him yet in their heart they never did.

The world is full of people who claim to be Christians, they seem to be doing the right things and saying the right things, yet many of them never before knew God.  And then there are those who profess to be Christians yet are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing!

So as true believers and followers of Christ how can we be sure if a person is truly born again?  We can’t!  Only the person and God knows, it is between them and God.  People often deceive themselves into thinking that they are saved because they do good works, they go to church and read the bible, they donate to charity, and they help the needy.  But, none of these things save us, it is only by believing that Jesus Christ is God, that He died for our sins and was resurrected and ascended into heaven, by repenting of ones sins and accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, that’s the only way!  It is done from the heart and the mind not just the mind!  Even demons believe yet they are not saved! 

Ours is not to know if a person is saved or not, that belongs to God.  Ours is to love all people regardless of their sin.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!  We are all given one life, appointed once to die and then the judgment.

So as followers of Christ we are to love everyone, even our enemies.  We are to share God’s love with the world, to love those who hate and despise us, and to love those who live sinfully in a dark world.  This does not mean that we agree with their lifestyles, but that we love the person, that we care about them, and that we want good for them.

We should share God’s love with everyone, the good and the bad.  We should strive to shine the light of God upon them and to show them the right way.  This is being a Christian, this is sharing the gospel of Christ, to love unconditionally as God loves us!

As difficult as it is to love those who hate us we are to forgive them for they know not what they do.  They are under the sway of the wicked one and the Spirit of God is not with them.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners not the saved.  He came to share His love with the lost, with those not knowing Him, with those in rebellion against Him.  We are to live as Christ lives, and we are to love as Christ loves.  We should pray for the lost, pray for their eyes and ears to be opened, for them to have a softened heart, and for them to come to salvation through Jesus Christ!  And while we may not know if they are saved or lost, God knows.  We are merely to plant seeds, it is God’s job to make them grow!

We don’t always know if a person is truly saved or not, and it is not always ours to know but our Father in heaven.  And if the good Lord wants us to know then we will.  We can rest assured that whatever the good Lord wants us to know then He will tell us.

We cannot say that we are better than those of the world, only that we have been saved, born again.  It is only by God’s mercy and grace that we have been found worthy to be saved!  So let us not become arrogant and proud, nor let us forsake those lost and living in sin, for at one time we were also!

Accept Jesus Christ now as your Lord and Savior!

God bless my friends!  Maranatha!

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15 comments

  1. TobyG

    I love your blog and this is why i keep this scripture in mind at all times
    Jeremiah 17:5 – Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Ty for the insight.

  2. Eliot Lugo

    You stated, “We don’t always know if a person is truly saved or not, and it is not always ours to know but our Father in heaven. And if the good Lord wants us to know then we will. We can rest assured that whatever the good Lord wants us to know then He will tell us.”

    Jesus said in Matthew 7:16-20 (NASB), “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

    The tense of the word Jesus uses here in these verses are present tense. Though we are not justified by works, faith is not alone. I believe salvation is a theme we Christians have misunderstood. For example, when Paul speak of salvation in Romans 10, he is addressing justification that comes now by belief (faith) and not by the Law in the Old Covenant.

    When people use the phrase “saved by grace through faith”, the salvation here is justification. We are justified by grace apart from the deed of the Law. However, sanctification and glorification are two processes of salvation. Peter speaks of salvation (redemption) as a futuristic event, He even says in 1 Peter 1:9 (NASB), “obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

    There is no need to add whether the Lord want us to know who is saved or not; He has already told us that the fruits (present tense) of people determine whether they are followers of Christ or not.

    I know that this doctrine that Christians cannot tell whether a person is saved or not comes from Southern Baptist Churches and it has no biblical foundation.

    One more thing, what am I to do with the Book of James, Hebrews, and Jude, which all speak about enduring to the end? If salvation is by belief alone because of grace, where does walking by faith (not belief but faithfulness) fit in salvation? The fact that we have been sealed does not mean that Christians (not the ones professing to be) cannot walk away from God. I believe that the doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved” is one of the damnable doctrines that are sending people to hell.

    Jesus said to be aware that no one deceives you. It begs the question as to why Jesus was so concerned about His disciples being deceived. He said that those that endure will be saved; He did not say that those that are saved will endure.

    My sheep hear (present tense) my voice and they follow (present tense) Me, Jesus said. According to Jude, the Lord saved all the Israelites from Egypt. All of them were saved. However, God destroyed those that did not remain faithful. If Jude felt compelled to write about it, why do we preach a different message?

    • Gordon King

      Thanks for your comment Eliot Lugo!

      Lots to ponder and many things to search through, an unending learning experience.

      I cannot say that I truly know if every person is saved or not by their fruits. Even Christians sin, does this then mean that they are not saved? If I see a believer sin then do I then assume that they are unsaved? And then there are many people professing to be Christians and deceiving many by their works, am I then to assume that they are Christians also by their works? There must be more to it than that. Liars and deceivers do just that, they lie and deceive, they put up a front in order to look a certain way, we cannot always see what a person does throughout the day, and we cannot always see what is in a persons heart. If you recently met a person and they told you that they were a Christian, they acted good, said the right things, went to church, quoted bible verses, but then they conned you out of some money, how would you have known not to trust them? How could you have known them by their fruits before they conned you out of the money? And isn’t it possible that even a fellow believer could have taken money from you and never paid you back?

      BTW, Matthew 7:16 that you quoted is not speaking about knowing who believers are by their fruits, but by knowing false prophets by their fruits, two different things.

      If we are saved not by our works but by grace alone, then how can we lose our salvation by our works? None of us are perfect so how could we ever be saved in the first place? And if we sin, which we all do, then how do we remain faithful?

      The apostle Paul said:

      Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)

      “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

      “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
      We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

      37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      Present things or things to come, height or depth, any created thing, including life cannot separate us from the love of God. If that is true then it pretty much encompasses everything, including what we do or don’t do in this life, all of this seems to be included in what Paul is saying here.

      We are sealed until the day of our redemption by the Holy Spirit, who or what can break that seal? The Holy Spirit was given to us as a seal, as a guarantee of our inheritance.

      Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)

      “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

      If we are truly saved, then we have been predestined by God to become His children. God is all knowing, past, present, and future, He knew before we even existed what we would do and not do in our life, yet He still saved us and sealed us.

      God said that if we believe in His Son Jesus Christ, if we repent and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, then we shall be given eternal life. He never put any conditions on it, it is an unconditional promise of the Most High.

      How can we as followers of Christ take any comfort in our salvation if it can be taken away by what we do? Even the apostle Paul sinned, he told us this himself, he struggles between the flesh and the spirit, he said that he does what he wills not to do and it is evil. He didn’t say what I used to do or what I did, but what I do, present tense.

      Romans 7:14-25
      “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

      21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

      So does that mean that the apostle Paul went to hell? I don’t think so!

      The prodigal son did not endure to the end, he went astray walking away from his father (a representation of God our Father in heaven, and us His children), yet His father came running to him with open arms, he was still a part of his fathers family.

      And what about King David and Solomon, they also sinned and walked away from God, yet I believe with all of my heart that they are now in heaven. Yet they both sinned greatly, and Solomon even rebelled against God and worshiped many false gods, demonic gods!

      Many things to consider and reflect upon.

      God bless!

      • Eliot Lugo

        We know that a tree is an apple tree because it gives apples. Notice the present tense. If it does not produce apples, as it should, then it is cut down because it is unfruitful. When we are saved by grace through faith, we are in fact, according to Paul’s words, justify by believing not by doing. However, in writing to the Christians in Galatians, not the heathen, he says in Galatians 5:19-21 (NASB), “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

        There is a difference between being saved and inheriting the Kingdom of God, and I believe we have mixed both together giving them the same meaning. When God saved His people, the people of Israel, He saved them without them having any merit, meaning by grace totally apart from the Law, since the Law was not given. However, God gave them the Law to guide them. Jesus also gave us commands, not to be saved, but because we have been saved by believing.

        Salvation involves justification, sanctification, and glorification. The fact that we Christians still sin does not mean that God erases us from the Book of Life and rewrites our names once we repent. However, the Bible, especially the Book of Hebrews, Jude, and James, are filled with warnings, not suggestions, to remain or to not cast away our confidence (faith) which has great reward. The author of the Book of Hebrews says in Hebrews 14:12 (NASB), “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” It matters not that a person was justified back in 1958 when he/she gave his/her heart to the Lord; what matters presently is that he/she is walking with the Lord.

        Romans 8:35-39 only proves once again that God is love. God loves people, believers, and non-believers. However, what separated Adam and Eve from God was sin, yet, God still loved them. Isaiah 59:1 & 2 states that the iniquities (sins) of His people have separated them from God but that “the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save.” If sin is sin, under the New Covenant as well as under the Old Covenant, then Christians, however justified in the past by faith in Christ, must endure to the end, whether Christ comes back for them or when He comes on the clouds of Glory, to receive the redemption (salvation) that will manifest itself in the latter day. Obedience, under the New Covenant, is still a requirement to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, not to be justified. Justification without Sanctification will result in no glorification. This is where I believe we have misunderstood what it means to be saved.

        Remember this: we tend to believe what we have been taught when we were babies in Christ and it is in our minds to look for verses that seem to support our views. However, we must look at the consensus of the whole Bible to see if our doctrines are solid.

        If the doctrine “Once Saved, Always Saved” is valid, then the Holy Spirit was incorrect in inspiring the author of the Book of Hebrews to write warnings to Christians about the probability of falling away. There are no false conversion or true conversions; there are false professions and true professions. What am I to do with the parable of the seeds, especially when Jesus referred to some that would believe for a season? If Jesus said that they believed for a season then it means that they gave fruits signaling repentance.

        Reading John 15:1-7 implies that a follower of Christ can be attached to the Vine (Christ) and not bear fruit. Think about it for a moment. How can a person be in Christ and not bear fruit? The answer is found by looking at a normal tree in which something has come between the Vine and the branch, cutting off the nutrients from the Vine to the branch; the branch withers and it is cut off, and cast to the fire.

        What I am saying is that justification (event) it is solely based on faith (belief) in Jesus apart from the deeds of the Law. However, sanctification is a process in which the Holy Spirit leads believers into becoming more and more like Christ. Glorification (futuristic in nature when the resurrection occurs) is something that cannot be obtained without obeying the Lord by loving Him with all one’s mind, soul, body, and heart, and by loving others as one loves himself/herself.

        Blessings

        Eliot Lugo

        PS: Let us not allow our differences of opinion to divide us but let us encourage each other to seek greater understanding of the riches found in God’s written Word.

  3. Anonymous

    Gordon, often those in the western world are deceived into thinking that they are Christians just because perhaps they are living in a so called Christian Country, they were Christened as a baby and maybe even attend Church sometimes. They may have got married in Church or Christened their children in Church or they go to Midnight Mass at Christmas. People may say I am not religious so I don’t go to Church but I just try to live a good life, I have never hurt anyone, I love my neighbour , give to charity and help others whenever I can. They often don’t know what they believe in, it is a mixture of different philosophies and they don’t want them to be challenged because they think (falsely) that everyone will get into Heaven all roads lead to God so unless they are guilty of a heinous sin like Murder, there is nothing to worry about. It is a great offense to people when they hear the true Gospel and to think that perhaps all their loved ones before might not have made it into Heaven and are awaiting Judgement. That perhaps even their own parents were not good enough to go straight into heaven even though they were pillars of society and the most loving parents. It is painful to watch this realisation come upon them and then experience the backlash that comes right back at you (from them and the devil) for daring to preach the truth or lead them to listen to a sermon that teaches the truth . This is the price we must be willing to pay. This is the cost we must count before we follow Jesus, We will be hated of all men on account of Him. We may only be a link in the chain that leads them to the knowledge of truth and their salvation but if we are disobedient because we do not want to count the cost of being obedient then we are not going to be doing the works prepared for us beforehand by The Lord.

    God Bless!
    Maranatha!

    Christine

    • Gordon King

      Thanks for your comment Christine!

      Many people do think that they are Christians because of some things that they do, or perhaps the family they have been born into. However we both know that this is not the way to be saved.

      The real question here is “Can we know if a person is truly saved or not?” One commenter stated that we will know them by their fruits, as stated by Jesus in Matthew 7, however Jesus was speaking about false prophets not saved believers.

      God bless! Maranatha!

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Gordon, Great topic for discussion,
    Too often the question is asked “How close can I get to the fire and not get burned” Instead of how far away from the fire I should stay so I don’t get burned. Could there be many who represented the rich man in Luke 16 who are looking up at Abraham’s comfort and asking the poor begger to come and give him a taste of water on his tongue. But a great impassable gulf seperates him from Lazarus.
    Why is it that preachers have stopped preaching about the heat of the place of torments and the impassable gulf. Therein lies the problem and the seriousness of this discussion. There are too many rich men who really don’t get how serious the message of everlasting life is until they are in the place of torments.

    Maranatha !! Ethin

  5. Anonymous

    “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing“ (2 Timothy 4:6-8). (emphasis added)
    There are those that love His appearing and are watching and waiting eager for His coming, I believe that one sign that they are likely to be true brothers and sisters in Christ, I think the Holy Spirit in us also recognises the Spirit in them and we sense a unity, however I have also received a check about someone from The Holy Spirit on occasions and that has made me wary of them and later I have found they are in error with a counterfeit Christianity (new age) usually, We can’t always know but sometimes their testimony will describe a true transforming conversion where Jesus is now central to their life.

    Maranatha!
    Christine

    • Eliot Lugo

      You stated, “We can’t always know but sometimes their testimony will describe a true transforming conversion where Jesus is now central to their life.”

      You are correct that we cannot always tell who is a Christian and who is not. However, according to Jesus, a good tree does not produce (present tense) bad fruit and a bad tree does not produce good fruit even when sometimes a bad tree may produce a good fruit.

  6. annime5

    Reblogged this on Watchman and commented:
    God is calling all to Repentance and Salvation
    DO you know Jesus ??
    Are you saved ??
    Give your life to Jesus now tomorrow may be too late
    God Bless Maranatha Speed The Day…

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