A Litmus Test for Salvation, Part 2

Will Robinson
The epistle of 1 John was written to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer.
These are:
  • True believers have the Holy Spirit ( 4:13; 5:10-11). This is the test summing up all the other tests. Is there evidence that the fruit of the Spirit is present in your life? (Galatians 5:22-23)?
  • True believers confess their sin (1 John 1:8-2:1, Psalm 51)

1 John 1:9 -10 (NLT) 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Confess here doesn't mean to recite every wrong that we have ever done. Rather, it means to repent and be genuinely contrite over our sin. That means that true believers hate their sin; they don't love it, nor do they desire to keep committing sin. They acknowledge they are sinful, and yet they know they are forgiven.

True believers do not abuse grace! King David’s prayer sums it up best:
Psalm 51:2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 17 (NLT)

2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.

3 For I recognize my shameful deeds they haunt me day and night.

6 But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

17 The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.

  • True believers keep His commandments 1 John 2:3-6 (NLT) 3 And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying his commandments. 4 If someone says, “I belong to God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word really do love him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did.

The term here refers to a watchful, observant obedience. Here the believer desires to obey the truth. It involves a proactive approach to obedience-the Believer studies Scripture in order to know it and obey it.

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