Definitions: A person who professes Christ is a person who claims to be a Christian and says that he is a Christian. With his mouth he tells others that he is saved, but whether or not he is really saved is another question. A person who possesses Christ is a person who has truly received the Lord Jesus as Saviour (John 1:12) and this person is described in 1 John 5:12--"He that hath (has) the Son hath (has) life." Christ lives in this person's heart (Galatians 2:20--"Christ liveth in me").
The Bible makes a clear distinction between those who merely profess Christ and those who actually possess Christ! Not everyone who claims to be saved is really saved! Not everyone who "names the name of Christ" (2 Timothy 2:19) is really a Christian! Not everyone who says he is born again is truly born again! Consider the following passages of Scripture:
In the last three chapters we have studied ten reasons why the true believer is safe and secure in Christ forever! Does the Bible teach that a true believer can lose his salvation and be lost (John 3:16)? _____ If you are a true believer in Christ, are you really safe and secure in Christ forever (John 10:28)? _______ Most people who struggle with assurance of their salvation are confident that a true believer will never be lost. They believe God's salvation promises and they are sure that God will do his part. But often they are not really sure that they have done their part: "I know that God will save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21), but have I really believed?" Have I really, done my part? Am I really a true believer? Have I really received Christ as my Saviour?
Please consider carefully the following questions. A person does not understand God's plan of salvation if he is unable to answer these questions correctly. If you have a problem with any of these question, please be sure to talk to your teacher or your pastor. Nothing is more important than understanding these basic facts relating to salvation and eternal life through Christ. As you think about and seek to answer each of these questions, it would help you to take time to look up the verses from the Bible found after each question.
Do I see myself as a guilty, lost sinner who stands condemned before a holy and righteous God (Romans 3:10-19,23)? Do I recognize that my own heart is deceitful and wicked and incurably sick (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23)? Do I see myself as deserving of death and hell (Romans 6:23)? Do I realize that if God were to give me what I deserve and repay me for the way I have lived, then I would be totally destroyed (Psalm 130:3; compare Psalm 103:10)?
Do I recognize that there is absolutely nothing I can do to save myself (Titus 3:5)? Do I understand that trying my best to perform good works will never gain me or earn me an entrance into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Do I realize that my church or my religious system cannot save my soul (Jeremiah 17:5)? Am I convinced that my own righteousness and my own goodness falls far short of the righteousness that God requires and demands (Romans 3:10-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)? Do I, in and of myself, have any personal credentials that are acceptable before God (Isaiah 64:6)?
Do I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only Solution to my sin problem (Acts 4:12)? Do I recognize Him as the only way to God (John 14:6), the only Door to salvation (John 10:9), the only Saviour for sinners (Matthew 1:21) and the only One who can give me eternal life (John 10:28; 17:3)? Do I understand that Jesus Christ is the eternal God (John 1:1-3) who came into this world and became a man to save me (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 1:15; John 3:17)? Am I convinced that He loved me even when I was a great sinner (Romans 5:8; John 3:16) and that He died and rose again to save my soul (Romans 4:25)? Am I persuaded that the Lord Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He died in my place as my perfect Substitute, dying in my stead and paying completely the full penalty for my sins (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21)?
Am I trusting in Him and in Him alone to save me (Acts 16:31)? Have I come to Him in simple, child-like faith (John 6:35,37; Matthew 11:28)? Have I, by faith, personally received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour (John 1:12)? Am I resting my entire self on who He is (John 8:24), on what He has done (1 Cor. 15:3-4) and on what He has said (John 6:47)? Do I believe that He is able to completely save all those who come unto God through Him, including me (Hebrews 7:25)? Do I believe the statement of Christ found in John 5:24? Is John 3:16 true of me? Have I ever shared with others that Jesus Christ is my Saviour (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32)? Am I able to say from my heart: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand—all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand!” [Edward Mote]
Another helpful question that I can ask myself is this: If I were to die today and stand before God and He should ask me, “Why should I allow you to enter My holy heaven?” what would my answer be? If my answer in any way points to MYSELF (my own credentials, my own works, my own religious deeds, etc.) then I am not standing on solid ground. Here are some examples of people putting their trust in SELF:
- “God should let me into His holy heaven because in my life I have done more good than bad.”
- “God should let me into His holy heaven because I try to keep the ten commandments.”
- “God should let me into His holy heaven because I’m a member of a certain church” etc. All such answers point to ME, but salvation is not of ME; salvation is of the LORD!
There is only one reason why I can enter God’s holy heaven. The appropriate response is this: “I will enter God’s holy heaven for one reason and one reason only. It is only because of Jesus Christ my Saviour. Apart from His work on the cross I could never be saved. Apart from His life which He has given to me as a free gift, I could never enter His holy heaven. He is my only hope. He is the only righteousness I have and He is all the righteousness I need. Thank You Lord for saving my soul and making me whole.” Notice how this answer points away from SELF and clearly points to the Saviour and to Him alone!
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, we urge you to do so without delay. The following suggested prayer might help you to understand how a lost sinner can come to God in faith, looking to Him to do His wonderful saving work in our hearts. Before you read this you might want to read John 1:12; John 3:16 and Revelation 3:20:
"Dear God, I know that I have sinned against You and have broken Your laws and have lived
I recognize that I am a lost sinner and that I deserve God’s judgment and wrath. I am worthy of hell.
Lord, I also believe that You loved me and sent Your Son to die on the cross for me and to pay the full penalty for my sins.
I believe that He died as My Substitute and that He rose again from the dead to be my living Lord and Saviour.
I now gladly receive Jesus Christ as my Saviour. Lord Jesus save me and forgive all my sins and give me Your gift of eternal life.
Help me to live for you all the rest of my days on this earth. Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. In Christ’s Name, Amen."
If you have asked the Lord Jesus to save your soul, what does He promise you (Romans 10:13)? _______________________________________________ He that has the Son has LIFE (1 John 5:12)!
Showing That I Am Saved
So the question we must now answer is this: How can I show that I am a true believer? If I am a true believer, then what should be true about my life? As we begin to answer this question, we must remember that there is something that every true believer possesses:
"He that believeth on Me has eternal ___________" (John 6:47)
"He is passed from death unto _____________" (John 5:24)
"He that hath the Son hath (has) __________" (1 John 5:12)
Therefore, every believer possesses __________. The person who is not a true believer does not have __________ (1 John 5:12 and compare Ephesians 2:1). He breathes and exists and walks and eats, but he does not have the ____________ of __________ (Ephesians 4:18).
Let's think about physical life for a moment. We know that the body without the spirit is __________ (James 2:26). How did Martha know that her brother Lazarus was truly dead (John 11:39)? ___________________________ How do we know that Lazarus was truly brought back to life (John 11:44)? ___________________________________ If you were to see a man walking, talking, eating and laughing, you would certainly conclude that this man must have physical __________!
What are some of the signs of physical life? How can you tell if a person is physically alive? What are some of the signs of physical death? If you found a body on a couch, how could you tell whether the person were merely asleep or actually dead?
Suppose you had a young brother or sister who was a year old. Suddenly one day you hear
this child falling down the staircase. As you rush to help your brother or sister, would
you rather hear him (or her) crying or would you rather hear no sound at all?
If you were to hear the child crying, then that would be a sure sign that the child is _____________.
In the physical realm, there is a great difference between those who are dead and those who are alive. The same is true in the spiritual realm. There is a great difference between those who are alive in Christ and those who are dead in ________ (Ephesians 2:5). There is a great difference between the children of ________ and the children of the _____________ (1 John 3:10).
If we truly have God's life, then there should be certain SIGNS in our life that clearly show that we have been truly saved. We want to study what these signs are and we want to test ourselves to see if these signs are really present in our life. The Bible says: "____________(test) yourselves, whether ye be in the________________ (2 Corinthians 13:5). Am I really in the ___________ (2 Cor. 13:5)? Have I really passed from ___________ unto _________ (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14)? Have I really ________________ on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31)? Have I really been S____________ by G_______________ through F______________ (Ephesians 2:8)? Have I really C__________ to Christ (John 6:37)? Have I really R_______________ Him (John 1:12)? Am I a true POSSESSOR or am I a mere PROFESSOR? These are the questions we will seek to answer in the following chapters.