If you say you are, how do you know you are a Christian? If you grew up in a church and still attend there, that may make you one by default. Maybe your parents were lifelong church people, and you attended as a child, so that makes you a Christian. Or maybe you just decided one day that you would be one, and say that if anyone asks. You might just have felt in your heart one day that you were a christian after someone invited you to attend a meeting. Many in the middle east believe that just because you live in the United States, you are a christian. There are a lot of scenarios that may lead one to believe that they are a follower of Christ, and many may be true, but some may not. How do we tell the difference and know for certain?
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24
There has been a movement in recent years where some pastors or ministry leaders who have been active in their practice of christianity, have at some point come to the conclusion that they are no longer a believer and have deconstructed their faith. We may have seen similar things were maybe a friend or family member prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ or were actively attending church at some point in their lives and then they just stopped doing those things. You could argue that since they are no longer followers of Jesus, maybe they never really were. Some of the most religious people and priests in Jesus’ time were criticized and condemned by him as being whitewashed tombs. Judas walked with Jesus and the other disciples, but evidently, even he was not doing so for the right reasons. So everyone sitting beside you at church on any given Sunday will not likely end up at the same destination as you.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16
When I was attending a church years ago in Central Nebraska, we followed up with visitors there and I recall talking to one mid-aged woman, who when asked how she knew she would go to heaven, replied that she had known the pastor and his family for years and was certain of her salvation because of that. There are a lot of things that may give us a false sense of security, but each of us should pray and even question and test our own faith to see if it is genuine. Is there enough evidence to prove that you are a Christian in a court of law? The most convincing proof would be the production of spiritual fruit that you and others can see on a regular basis. In a sense, if you are confident you are a Christian, you can know that God has chosen you to be his child, and you can say that you are His by default, since before you were even born. You can take comfort in that, but it should also compel you to action.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
Yours in Christ,