How can a person know he or she has genuine, saving faith? The New Testament book of 1 John was written in large part to help address this important issue. First John brings up several important questions we can ask ourselves to see if our faith is genuine.
What are some signs of authentic, saving faith?
Do you "walk in the light" and live according to God's ways? First John 1:6-7 shares, "If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
Do you admit you are a sinner? First John 1:8 notes, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
Do you obey God's Word? First John 2:3-4 reveals, "And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Do you love other people? First John 2:9 teaches, "Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness." A Christian cannot hate people because he or she is filled with the love of Christ.
Do you love the world? First John 2:15 teaches that those who love the world, meaning the ways of the world and its temporary, sinful pleasures, do not have genuine faith: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Are you known for doing what is right? First John 2:29 notes, "If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him."
Are you seeking to decrease sin in your life? First John 3:6 teaches, "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him." This refers to ongoing, continual sin. True believers will not continue in sin without seeking to stop, relying on God's power to help. Every believer will struggle with sin (Romans 7:24-25), but will seek to live God's way rather than to continue in sin.
Do you love other Christians? A person cannot love God and hate His followers. First John 3:14 shares, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death."
Do you seek to help those in need? First John 3:17 teaches, "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?"
Do you have a clear conscience before God? First John 3:21 reveals, "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God."
Do you believe in the name of the Son of God? First John 5:4-5 explains, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
If these attributes are increasingly evident in your life, they help serve as signs of genuine faith. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9), yet these additional traits help you and others see that Jesus is in you and that you are a genuine believer.
How important is spiritual growth in Christian life?
What are the different definitions of 'spiritual journey'?
Christian discipleship - What is it?
Am I still saved if I doubt my salvation?
How can a believer have assurance of salvation?
Truth about Salvation