A Saving Faith
The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t. We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived. They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith. It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than mere knowing. It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.
Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord. As the Master of your life, He then has a right to govern what you do. His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change—God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit. If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord. This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.