- The theatrical way Jesus reached out to me
- The way Jesus used a dream to bring me back from unbelief, evidence of his shepherding me
- My love for God and willingness to do his will
- My repentance, willingly giving up sin (PMO)
- I don’t believe God looks for excuses to condemn
- I feel the love in my heart from God, sometimes as heat
- His bible promises in Romans 10:9 and John 3:16 and John 6:37 and John 3:36 and Acts 16:28-31 and John 6:40 and Philippians 1:6 and John 10:29 and Phil 1:6 and John 15:16
- God has answered my prayers before
- Obedience stemming from faith isn’t a work.. obedience is a posture that leads to works
- If John 3:36 is true, you are either, right now, in believing obedience to Jesus Christ, or unbelieving rebellion. For a guy that spent all kinds of time and effort studying this, the answer was astoundingly simple: we either believe the Son, or we do not.
- The true evidence of salvation is a changed heart.
He quietly opened his Bible to John 3:36 and asked me to read it aloud to him: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
He said, “How many categories of people do you see in that verse?” “Two,” I answered. “What are they?” “Those who believe, and those who don’t.” “Which are you, J.D.?” Mike was showing me that there are only two postures we can take toward Jesus Christ. We either “believe” or we do not.
Biblical belief, or “faith,” means making a decision. When Jesus called the crowds in Mark 1 to “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15), He was not adding something on top of belief, but clarifying what real belief entails. Repentance and faith are belief in action, meaning they will lead to good works.
We believe not only that Jesus is Lord (as a fact of history), but that He is our Lord as well, and we submit to Him as an act of obedience.
When the writer of Hebrews honors the great Old Testament heroes of faith, he identifies every single one with an action. Noah constructed an ark; Abraham left his home; Jacob blessed his grandsons; Joseph gave instructions concerning his bones; Moses chose to be mistreated; and Joshua circled the walls of Jericho. The great “chapter of faith” is all about actions. Faith is belief in action. In fact, there is no noun for faith in Hebrew, because faith does not exist apart from its action. Faith starts with mental agreement, but if this mental agreement does not lead to obedience, it is not yet “faith.”
Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off of your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ. The way to know you made the decision is by the fact you are resting in Christ now.
Spirit-generated belief will always result in a new heart—a heart that loves good works and pursues them for Jesus’ sake. It is impossible for Spirit-generated faith to not lead to these good works, so if they are absent, so is genuine faith. These good works are not, however, the same thing as the faith itself. Faith’s sole object is the finished work of Christ. Faith cannot rest in the good works it produces. Faith cannot rest in itself. Faith that looks anywhere else but Christ will find not assurance but incessant doubt. Only by resting entirely in his finished work can the troubled soul find peace.
Paul’s words to the Philippian jailor were simple and sufficient: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ means acknowledging, submissively, that Christ is the Lord and that He accomplished our salvation, just as He said He did—and resting our hopes there.
This recognition that Jesus is the absolute Lord is called “repentance.”
Those whose sorrow for their sin does not result in a change of actions have not repented.
So closely linked are belief and repentance that the Bible uses them interchangeably: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life” (John 3:36 esv).
Following Jesus means submitting to Him in all areas at all times regardless of whether you agree with what He says or not. Following Jesus means allowing Him to invade every area of your life, not simply influence it. Jesus comes into our lives as “Lord,” or not at all.
In fact, they seem even to make our final salvation conditional on our continued obedience. Acts 12:43 Acts 14:22 1 Thess 3:5 Phil 2:16 Romans 11:22 Jude 20-21 Hebrews 12:15 Hebrews 2:1 Hebrews 3:12-14 John 15:6 Matthew 10:33 Matthew 10:22 Rev 2:7 Rev 2:11 Hebrews 6:11 1 John 2:19
These passages do not teach that you can lose your salvation. But they do teach you something important about the nature of saving faith: Saving faith always endures to the end.
Many go through the initial motions of salvation, yet, after a period of time, fall back into their old ways. Such a person was never really saved to begin with, despite all their early, initial excitement.
Faith that fades, no matter how great the initial fruit, is not saving faith.
One of Paul’s travelling companions, a guy named John Mark, abandoned the mission field because it got difficult, only to be restored later. Think about that—he abandoned the apostle Paul. He “put his hand to the plow and looked back,” showing he was not fit for the kingdom of God.4 Yet he was later restored to full usefulness in the kingdom (Acts 13:5, 13; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Jesus said that no one who came to Him He would ever, for any reason, cast out.6 Ever. If you are willing to repent, He will always receive you.
His saying that if you’ve hardened your heart to the cross, there’s nothing left to say to you, no “better” weapon in God’s arsenal.
Furthermore, Scripture speaks of so hardening your heart against God’s spirit he leaves you alone.
It is true that “once saved, always saved”; but it is also true that “once saved, forever following.”
The book of 1 John gives several confirmatory “tests” that show the Spirit is at work in our hearts.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3–6, emphasis added)
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (1 John 2:9) If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15) If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:29, emphasis added) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:14–16)
In other words, if you say you love God and don’t love others, your faith is a fraud.
Generosity and grace towards others is a sign of a true believer.
I think you can boil down John’s list of “heart changes” into essentially two categories: A love for God and a love for others.
When you understand how much you’ve been forgiven, you will forgive.
Throughout your Christian life you will diagnose some spiritual problem—things like “I don’t hate sin enough” or “I don’t love God enough.” The prescription for those spiritual maladies is not to “stop them and you’ll really be saved,” but to believe the gospel, which is the only thing that can cure those maladies. Only by believing that God’s acceptance of you is not based on how much you love God or hate sin, but based solely on Christ’s finished work for you, will you ever gain the power to start hating sin and loving God. It’s the great irony of the Christian life! The only ones who “get better” are those who understand that their acceptance before God is not based on their “getting better!”
God’s prescription for every diagnosed spiritual illness is faith in the gospel.
God’s prescription for every diagnosed spiritual illness is faith in the gospel. Faith releases Spirit-life into the soul.1 “The law” diagnoses our problem; faith in the gospel provides the solution.
“To progress,” Martin Luther said, “is always to begin again.” Go back to the way you started the Christian life—by believing the gospel, that God accepts you just as you are because of Christ—and believe it again. As you do, the power of new life will be released in you.
Most of this post is taken from Greear, J. D.. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: The Teen Edition. B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.