How To Prove You Are a Christian - Part 1
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, …” 1 John 5:13
The purpose of the first letter of John is clearly stated as “Assurance of Salvation.” John wrote to give proof to the people who claim to be Christians that they actually were saved by giving life signs or vital signs that would prove they are alive in God, or as we say, born again. Make sure you sit down and read the entire book!
Now, what you need to notice is that the Bible never says that you know you are going to heaven because you believe you are. It does not say you know you are going to heaven because you prayed a little prayer like, “Dear Jesus come into my heart.” Nor does it say you are assured of heaven because your priest, pastor, or grandmother said you were. Instead, the following points are what God’s Word gives as evidence.
But first, let’s define John’s terms.
1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses of from all sin.”
God = Light... What He says is right and wrong, this determines whether we are of God, if we obey and live in submission to Him
Satan = Darkness... called the Prince of Darkness led a mass rebellion against God and He and anyone who disobeys God has become God's enemy
fellowship with God = living in light
fellowship with Satan = living in darkness
So now we know our brothers are fellow Christians who follow and obey Jesus, not our earthly relatives.
Evidence #1 Do You or Do You Not Love?
Obeying the 1st and 2nd Greatest Commandments is non-optional and proof of life.
“He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.” 1 John 2:9
This means that a change of life takes place in a true Christian in that God becomes his love. He advances steadily to love Him with all his heart, all his mind, will and emotions, and all his strength. [Matthew 22] Because “God so loved the world…” [John 3:16] His Holy Spirit living inside a Christian causes him to begin loving his neighbor until it overflows from his heart as a standard passion and life style. But, more specifically John explains that you must love your brother! So we must ask, “Who is my brother?”
Jesus explained it clearly as recorded in Matthew. His family, mom and brothers and sisters decided he needed to stop all this preaching and teaching around Israel and come home, at least for awhile. They interrupted Him in the middle of one of His teaching times and then He said; "For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother." Matt 12:50 (NKJ) His brothers and sisters did not believe in Him until after He was resurrected from the dead. So now we know our brothers are fellow Christians who follow and obey Jesus, not your earthly relatives.
These are the ones we must love to be with also. The ones we hang out with. We gather together in church meetings and fellowships constantly loving God and our brothers.
And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.
"They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. 46 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, 47 as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved." Acts 2:44-47 (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.) This is what a real local church is, a close knit spiritual family that together loves one another and also teams up to follow God's assignments. We provide and protect them as much as possible. We pray for them. We encourage them and help them. John says this is the first evidence of salvation!
How do you know if you are walking in the light?
“He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” 1 John 2:10
How do you know if you are living in darkness?
“But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:11
Hatred is a harsh word and not many will say they hate people. But, if you hate vegetables you do not eat them. You do not think about them or waste your time studying them. You ignore them. You do not have to sit around and build up an emotionally charged anger against peas to hate them! In like manner, you hate the Christians when you hardly ever go to church, do not join them and make friends with them, and do not establish strong family ties with them. If you do not love your brother you are not a Christian.
Evidence of Salvation!
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” 1 John 3:14
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
“If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12
Evidence of A Lost Soul!
"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15
What does the Bible define as love?
“By this we know love, because He [Jesus] laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16 Is it just a generally good feeling toward others? Of course not! But that is the "love" many people explain is what they have.
1. Our First Example: How Do We Love Others?
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
Love is Action not Feelings!
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
2. Our Second Example: How Do We Love Others?
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:2
So you see, genuine love is absolute proof of salvation according to the Bible. Also notice, when we obey the commandments such as, do not steal from someone, we are showing them love. See part two, for the next evidence.