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This is one of the most important questions in the Christian life. Many believers doubt their salvation because they don't see signs of genuine faith in their lives. There are those who say we shou...
The signs of saving faith are: Galatians 5: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Saving faith will cause us to walk and show forth the fruit of the spirit of Jesus and others will realize that we have crucified the flesh when we don't walk with them in following after the desires of the flesh, eyes or the lust after possessions. Saving faith will enable us to walk in the spirit of Jesus following his wonderful loving example and as a result living in him by his spirit working in us and though us to the glory of his God and his Father and our God and our Father.
To answer a very complicated question most simply, I would say, what do you see about yourself and your sin? I love the Bible that it is just like the owner's manual for your car. If you are owned by your Creator that made you, you will want to daily pray, listen to God's still, small voice, read your Bible to have it written on your heart, and follow through by doing what you heard. Making a decision for Christ, going to church and praying isn't enough to have saving faith. Saving faith is being "all-in". When Jesus died for you and me, He paid the price for our sin and now owns us. He is the Master who tells us what to do. For instance, we are to examine ourselves before we take Lord's supper. If we are not loving God and loving others we are in sin, and we are to take care of it before we take the Lord's Supper. When Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandment, He said we have to love the Lord with ALL of our heart, mind and soul. Jesus said that we must love Him more than we love our own parents, children or anyone or we are not worthy of heaven. Jesus said that we must be born again--John 3. He said that we must obey to prove our belief in Him--John 3:36, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 5:20. So look at your sin. How surrendered are you to Christ? How well are you listening to Christ and obeying Him? He says that to love Him we must obey His commands. A saving faith demonstrates the changed inner heart of a person that changes how a person lives--not in the fleshly natural man, but in the Spirit that teaches, controls and changes/sanctifies them to look more and more like Christ every year. Salvation changes our view of sin. We hate the sin in us and want to get clean. We have been given a tender, responsive heart that wants to obey to please our Master and not grieve the Holy Spirit-- 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.[b] 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. A saving faith is genuinely repentant for sin. A person who is born again gets convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin and then by the power of Jesus living inside the believer is able to give up the sin. Confessing the sin is not enough. It is proven by confessing and forsaking the sin. Think about when Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. He was so convicted of his sin that he went away weeping bitterly. The saved person knows about repentance. They were either old enough to remember when they had a life-altering experience with Jesus and repentance, or if they were born again at a younger age, they have experienced repentance as an ongoing transformation as the Holy Spirit takes more and more sin away in the life of the truly saved person. Finally, a person with a saving faith is very interested in telling others what they know about Jesus. They don't want to hide it and keep it private. Why would they have genuine, saving faith and not want to share the good news which is known as the Good News. Jesus gave the Great Commission before He ascended into heaven telling the genuinely saved person that they need to tell others by making disciples and teaching them to obey. It makes perfect sense that you are going to talk about the person you love most in life. If you love Jesus the most, you will love others by telling them about Jesus.
Lets reduce this question to its most simplest term. The signs of genuine faith, in my opinion is the following; 1. Love. I don't define love as an emotional, romantic condition. I define it as "loyalty". Not a very strong word today, because the faith it was built on is disappearing, so the word does not carry the same impact as it did in Moses time. In Moses time it would mean something worth dying for. 2. Compassion. I define compassion as ones ability to feel the pain of others. It would be wrong to read the bible as a history book of the Hebrew people. When we read Exodus, we are to come away with an emotional connection with the Hebrews slaves. We are to know what is is to be enslaved. The pain we feel should be real. Another words we should actually experience slavery. 3. Mercy. I define mercy as ones ability to not to give what one deserve. Exodus 32:10 Now leave me, so my anger can blaze against them (Hebrews). God did not tell Moses "get out". Those three little words " now leave me" is begging for a response from Moses. Will Moses respond as Noah and except Gods judgement or will he follow Abraham's response and beg for mercy, not for himself, but for others. Moses statement for mercy is also a question: "Is man to judged by strict justice? If so, man will not survive. But if man is to be judged by strict justice, tempered by mercy, man will survive. 4. Justice. I define justice as doing what is right in Gods eyes. Not so much as it pertains to the "law",But doing what is Honorable, Respecting others. Justice is the bow that ties it all together. Without Love there can be no compassion. Without Compassion there can be no mercy. Without mercy there can be no justice. I hope this helps you. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with interpenetration of the bible. Reduce it down to its simplest terms and it will become clearer to you.
For me, the first sign of genuine saving faith was one of the most uplifting experiences I've had in my entire life! The 'sign' I experienced was reading a set of scriptures just after going down for an 'Alter call'--accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I opened my bible and immediately from that point in time, every time I read the Word of God, His truth and meaning seems to literally 'jump off the page' with complete understanding. It is almost like God is speaking to me directly and I understand with such clarity. Jesus tells us that "His sheep will know his voice and will hear Him calling.." That night in October 1979, I answered His call and have been walking by faith, witnessing to others by faith and defending God's 'Creation of all things in 6 literal days' since that blessed, most important event in my life! I was one of the "lost sheep". John 3:16 seemed to hit me and my heartfelt guilt 'right-between-the-eyes'. Jesus proved that he loved me eternally! Knowing that He loves me is best 'sign' anyone can have.
What does it mean to be a Christian? “First of all, the word “Christian or maybe as a Christ follower” or “as a disciple of Jesus Christ” or something like that because the difference is night and day. In my quick Google search, a 2012 Gallup Poll said that 77% of the United States Population identified themselves as Christians. If three out of four Americans were true followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, this entire planet would be extraordinarily different. The Bible is clear that “not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of the Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Plenty of people say they are Christians, very few act like it. It is very easy to include Christianity as another part of our “quick fix,” “my way right away” society. We have mastered the 45-minute church service. We have mastered the 5-minute devotional book for “busy” people. However, the truth is that God is not someone we are simply to give a few minutes to Monday through Saturday, then give Him 60 minutes on Wednesday and Sunday and think we have honored Him. We are to live our entire lives for Him. We are to do our part 168 hours a week. We do not have to be quoting scriptures all the time to people who don’t want to hear it. Daniel never preached to the Babylonians, but never had a problem standing up for His God when it came to his own personal convictions. He never had a problem telling people what God meant to him or telling the rulers honest, open answers to their questions when asked. He felt no need badger others with one with his opinions of what he felt they needed God to do for them in their lives. The truth was everyone around him had chosen his or her own god or gods. Daniel simply honored God with his life in far less-than-ideal circumstances. This is exactly what I believe it means for me to be a Christian at my workplace. Are the circumstances surrounding my job ideal? No. Can I live for Him, honor Him, and show my coworkers what it looks like to follow Him for 180 days? Absolutely Dan
My answer might seem a bit different so I hope it makes it into the forum. I want to state right up front that I now affirm with perfect faith that Christ is the GOAL of the Torah (Rom 10:4). I don't want anyone to misunderstand my beliefs as a Messianic—yet still religious—Jew. I believe the signs of genuine faith should be both internal to me personally as well as external to those around me. I really appreciate the way folks on this forum took this question and made it personal. It is a blessing to read the wonderful testimonies of what the LORD has done in so many lives. Many folks listed new lifestyle changes (enjoy fellowship, seek to maintain a pure life, demonstrate love for others, etc.). For many religious people—including unsaved religious Jews—the lifestyle changes that result from salvation may not always look that different on the outside, given that they are most likely already leading decent, moral lives (albeit by the power of the flesh). Instead, for many religious Jews, the radical changes are likely to be articulated as being primarily internal. Along with the good works that vindicate true faith (James 2:17, 18), the mouth will in fact also reveal what is on the heart (Lk 6:45; Eph 5:19) and vindicate genuine saving faith. Unsaved religious Jews (and saved religious Jews alike) believe that every waking moment is an experience of walking in the fear of God and loyalty to his Torah, so please allow me to share this perspective, with its many references to Jewish religious life, in answer to this question. Here is a peek inside the mind of the old me and the new me who has now actualized his new, genuine saving faith: • Old: I was circumcised in flesh only (Rom. 2:28) • New: I am now also circumcised in heart (Deut 10:16; Deut 30:6; Rom. 2:29) • Old: I used to daily read the Law of Moshe (Moses) with a veil over my heart (2 Cor 3:14, 15) • New: I now daily read the very same Law of Moshe with the veil removed (2 Cor 3:16) • Old: I used to search the Scriptures (OT) hoping I might somehow find the Messiah and eternal life (Jn 5:39) • New: I now read the very same Scriptures, which now includes the Apostolic Writings (NT), and actually see the Messiah (Lk 24:25) • Old: I used to think my temporal covenant membership in National Isra'el was most important to God (Rom. 9:4-6) • New: I now understand that my new, lasting covenant membership in Remnant Isra'el is what God wanted all along (Rom. 9:27; Rom 10:1; Rom 11:26) • Old: I used to believe that “works,” and “works of the Law,” which are both actually terms we Jews use among ourselves to indicate “ethnic-based covenant membership,” would save me (Acts 15:1, 5; Rom 3:20; Gal 2:15, 16) • New: I now understand that faith in Yeshua (Jesus) saves me (Acts 4:12; Eph 2:8, 9) • Old: I used to believe that all Jews and only Jews are “righteous” and therefore have a place in the World to Come (see rabbinic interpretation of Is 60:21 from Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1, and Rom 3:29; Rom 4:9; Rom 9:24; Gal 2:15) • New: I now understand that Jews and Gentiles in Messiah are both sons of Abraham (Acts 10:34, 35; Acts 15:8, 9; Rom 10:12, 13; Gal 3:7) • Old: I used to think I walked out the Torah blamelessly (Phil 3:6), but it was really self-seeking and by the flesh (Matt 23:5, 6; Rom 7:18), with a heart of stone (Ez 11:19; Ez 36:26), bearing fruit for death (Rom 7:10), yet I still hoped God would accept my loyalty to Torah (Rom 2:17-24; Rom 7:5; Rom 9:31, 32) • New: I now have the Torah written on my mind (Rom 7:22, 25), on my heart of flesh (Jer 31:33; Ez 11:19, 20; Ez 36:26, 27; Heb 8:10; Heb 10:16), and the loyalty I have to the Torah, which in fact God commands (Deut 6:6-9), now receives praise from God (Rom 2:29) and is empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh, that is, the Holy Spirit (Ez 11:19, 20; Ez 36:26, 27) • Old: I used to love my neighbor simply as I love myself (Lev 19:18) • New: I now love as Yeshua has loved me (Jn 13:34; Eph 5:2)
For it is by grace through faith we are saved, it is a free gift from God and not of ourselves. So a genuine faith believer understands grace and desires a relationship with God and doesn't just have religion, where they have a wrong belief that if they work hard enough they will gain God's love; God's love does not fluctuate or go off our performance. God is love which is constant and does not have the human limitations, His love is unconditional and he can not be compared to human behavior because he is so superior to us in every area, our simplicity can not understand with our small minds God and who he is. A genuine faith can be seen by example, God says you will know my children by their fruits. It also says 'my sheep hear my voice' and he can hear us calling. In other words, a genuine faith believer has an intimate relationship with God / father, son/ and has accepted him into their hearts they believe and has received the Holy Spirit which is the counselor into showing us our destiny to God's plan for our lives. Understanding grace is the antidote to counteract every poison in our minds, including the wrong belief that if we do good God will loves us more. A true genuine believer knows that's a lie. Religion keeps you bound while a relationship with God his loving grace came to set us free. Knowing that truth is the difference.
Just this one verse intrigued me (1 John 3:18) In the CEV (Contemporary English Version) it reads, “Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.” Love in the Abstract … Not the Concrete A story about a professor of psychology illustrates the difference between showing love and simply talking about it. The man had no children of his own, but whenever he saw a neighbor scolding/reprimanding a child for some wrongdoing/offense he would say, “You should love your boy, not punish him.” One hot summer day the professor was repairing his concrete driveway. Tired after several hours of work, he laid down the trowel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and walked toward the house. Just then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a mischievous (naughty?) little boy putting his foot in the fresh cement. He hurried over, grabbed him, and was about to spank him when a neighbor leaned out his window and said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must love the child!” At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract, but not in the concrete!” True Christian love means loving in deed and in truth. The opposite of “in deed” is “in word,” and the opposite of “in truth” is “in tongue.” Here is an example of love “in word”: “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” (James 2:15-16).--NASB To love “in word” means simply to talk about a need, but to love “in deed” means to do something about fulfilling it. You may think, because you have discussed a need, or even prayed about it, that you have done your duty, but love involves more than words—it calls for sacrificial deeds. To love “in tongue” is the opposite of to love “in truth.” It means to love insincerely. To love “in truth” means to love a person genuinely from the heart and not just from the tongue. People are attracted by genuine love, but pushed back/repelled by the artificial variety. One reason why sinners were attracted to Jesus (Luke 15:1-2) was because they were sure He loved them sincerely. “But does it not cost a great deal for the believer to exercise this kind of love?” Yes, it does. It cost Jesus Christ His life. But the wonderful benefits that come to you as by-products of this love more than compensate for any sacrifice you make. If these attributes are increasingly evident in your life,--i.e. if these things (these virtues) are really yours and are continually increasing, they help serve as signs of genuine faith. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9), nevertheless these additional characteristics help you and others see that Jesus is in you and that you are a genuine believer.
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