How can I know if I’ve been genuinely converted?
John’s first epistle offers several “tests” to help Christians know if they have savingly come to faith in Christ:
- The belief test:“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (1 John 5:1a). So ask yourself: do I trust in Jesus Christ for salvation?
- The obedience test:“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” (1 John 1:6-7). So ask yourself: does my life show a pattern of habitual, unrepentant sin, or of repenting of sin and striving to walk in the light?
- The love test:“Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14b-15). So ask yourself: do I love other Christians in concrete ways that show the reality of my faith?
- The perseverance test:“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). Those who do not persevere in the faith prove that their faith was false in the first place. So ask yourself: am I continuing in the faith despite struggles and opposition?
One more principle: even Christians are prone to self-deceit. Therefore, work through these questions with the members of your church who best know and love you (see Prov. 11:14; 15:22). Of course, that’s hard to do if you haven’t let people into your life in the first place.
(Much of this material has been adapted from Thabiti Anyabwile’s What is a Healthy Church Member, 50-54)