A couple weeks ago I got a newsreport of the death of of a contemporary theologian whom will remain nameless. This theologian I actually had a book of. The report was from a missionary who carefully gave short biography of his life.
What was found was that he did not have a proper testinmony on being born-again. Instead He simply confessed to a time where he needed to get more religious.
Over the years, he moved less and less conservative until he started to embrace heretical or at least false doctrine. Ultimately he denied the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith.
Another famous Evangelical whom you may know by name also had a poor testimony without trying to give his name and be a gossip let me give you examples of why this "evangelical" may never have been born-again and therefore saved.
a. he was a late convert yet his rebirth"experience" was anything but. He explained as it one day changing his mind and worldview. Late converts are especially know for having deep experiential changes but not this one.
Poor life style
a. after his "conversion" he was known for living with a misstress.
b. He was known among peers as a "cusser"
c. he frequented bars and drank and smoked.
a. He partaked in sacrements and was considering converting to catholicism
b. He denied exclusive salvation
C. He denied salvation by grace through faith
d. He denied blood atonement
Considering these factors this figure was probably not born again.
The gospel ask for repentance upon conversion
2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV
2:14 What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:14-18 KJV
The gospel is by grace through faith alone and it those who distort the Gospel will be condemned to Hell
2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:16 KJV
1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:7-9 KJV
Thinking about this, it became apparent to me that one could be raised in the evangelical church with strong biblical parents and even attain high status as a leader among evangelical Christians and yet still not be saved. So how do you know, and how can you be really sure that you are saved?
Here are some things to remember. First of all, can you be sure of salvation?
5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:0-13 KJV
Obviously the Apostle John is arguing that we can indeed know and be assured that we have salvation.
So what is it that makes us sure.
The work of God.
3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Philippians 3:7-11 KJV
We can not work our way to heaven. But Jesus can! It is the work of God that saves since we can not do it our selves. It is not even our own faith but the faithfulness of Christ!(vrs.9)
But how does that salvation reach us do we have to earn that?
No, it comes through the gospel!
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 KJV
But most people hear that so arn't most people saved?
4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
Hebrews 4:2 KJV
"So do all people who believe in God get saved when they hear the gospel, what about those leaders talked about earlier? "
7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 7:21 KJV
"So how do I know If I have followed God enough to make it? I thought you said I just had to believe?"
You have to know that your faith is real and not false.
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:17-19 KJV
How do you know that?
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV
10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8:9 KJV
5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
Can I sense being born again?
2:37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:37-41 KJV
8:36 And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, `here is' water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 8:37 `And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 8:39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Acts 8:36-40 ASV
16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Acts 16:30-34 KJV
From the book of acts we see a pattern. The gospel is preached conviction is felt. A person is to believe with their heart.(the heart symbolically is the center of emotion) The person usually rejoices in their salvation.
You can actually feel being born again! Because you know when your heart has changed.
"But, some may ask, what if it was just emotion?"
Before anything we know that one must have faith. So it is faith that we experience and express emotionally. Secondly, we will see the fruits of the spirit.
If you have experienced the fruits of the spirit then you know that you will be preserved in your salvation.
10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
John 10:28 KJV
"What if I went through those emotions But I just don't believe in the gospel that you preach from the New Testament?"
1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12 KJV
2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8 KJV
If the gospel of Jesus Christ or "God's Word concerning Jesus Christ" is distorted from the New Testament is distorted it will not bring you caving power. So you never start to be saved and need to be saved with the real gospel.
Remeber these things and take it to heart. It is God's grace which gives the motivation to live for Him.