Pastor Paul’s Article: Genuine Faith

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?”

2 Cor. 13:5 – (NASB95)

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

1 John 5:13 – (NASB95)

What are some of the signs of genuine saving faith?

All over the world there are people from differing religious backgrounds that don’t know for sure they will go to heaven when they die. Usually because of a works-based system, they can’t know for sure that they have done enough to earn salvation. And the Bible would agree that they can’t be saved by their good works (Rom. 3:19-20; Gal. 2:16). One of the incredible blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the assurance it offers that we have eternal life. But how does one know they responded properly to the gospel of Jesus Christ? What evidence is in their life that they have experienced genuine salvation?

We learned much about this in our study of 1 John. If you weren’t with us for those studies, please go online and watch or listen to the sermons on 1 John (there are about 50 in the series). 

In our membership class, we discuss what the Bible says about fruit that accompanies genuine faith. The three paragraphs below are from that class and are worthwhile for you to review, test yourself, and share with others. As you do the latter, you may have the incredible privilege of: 1) helping a genuine believer overcome their doubts and experience a deep assurance of the genuineness of their salvation; or 2) helping someone who is not saved come to a place of genuine salvation and assurance that comes with it. If you have any questions about these things, please talk to your Life Group leader, an elder, one of the pastors. We would love to help you, or your friends know for sure that you have eternal life! And if you haven’t become a member yet, please call Pastor Marc Boeker in the church office to find out more about how to join the church (818-776-1500 x136).

From the Membership Class: “Fruit of Salvation

We are convinced that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin (Mk. 1:15; Acts 20:21). Meaning that all true believers will turn from sin (repentance) and turn to Christ (faith). Repentance and faith cannot be separated in relation to salvation. “Faith” without repentance is merely an intellectual assent to the existence of God and the truth of the gospel and does not lead to salvation, since “the demons also believe and shudder” (James 2:19). In the same way, attempting to reform your life by “getting right” (i.e., repentance without faith), will never lead to salvation (Gal. 2:16; 3:11). 

Since these two (repentance and faith) cannot be separated, all genuine believers will evidence deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:20; Mt. 3:8) as well as manifesting the fruit of salvation/genuine faith (James 2:14-26): love for God (Deut. 6:5) and others (John 13:34-35), prayer (1 Thess. 5:17), the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), devotion to God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31), spiritual growth (John 15:1-6) and obedience to God’s Word (John 14:21).  

“Therefore, it is clearly contrary to the New Testament evidence to speak about the possibility of having true saving faith without having any repentance for sin. It is also contrary to the New Testament to speak about the possibility of someone accepting Christ ‘as Savior’ but not ‘as Lord,’ if that means simply depending on him for salvation but not committing oneself to forsake sin and to be obedient to Christ from that point on.”

(Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), p. 714).

Pastor Paul

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