How To Know If You Are Saved
By Dr. Ken Matto
 
(Mat 19:24-25 KJV) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. {25} When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
 
(1 John 5:13 KJV) 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.
 
One of the hardest subjects to write on is this one. This is because there is a danger that someone may compare themselves to one of the tenets and then simply claim they are saved. The subject of this article is a question which I have received from many people on wanting to know how they can know if they are truly saved. First of all, let me say that no one can see into the heart of another person. Only God is able to see as to whether a person is truly saved. I have heard many times the following statement which is normally published by ministries to show their effectiveness in proclaiming the Gospel. The statement goes like this, “we gave the invitation and saw many come up to receive Christ” or “the call went out and many accepted Christ as their Savior.”
 
The problem with these two statements is that what they were seeing is people come up and make a verbal profession at the time the message is preached. There is no doubt in my mind that when the gospel message is properly preached it will draw the Elect among the hearers and there will be some legitimate salvations. However, there will also be those among them who are making more of a show because they may be caught up in the moment but their profession is only vain words.
 
To say that a person becomes saved after saying a few words such as a sinner’s prayer or walks the aisle is a very erroneous practice. The actions taken by someone at a meeting or crusade is in no way an indicator of a person’s conversion to Christianity.
 
(Col 4:14 KJV) Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
(Phile 1:24 KJV) Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
(2 Tim 4:10 KJV) For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
 
Let us look at a glaring example in Scripture. Demas was a man who had been with the Apostle Paul and obviously was considered a saved person because Paul called him “fellowlabourer” in the book of Philemon. The books of Philemon and Colossians were probably written about 61-62 A.D. and the book of Second Timothy was written right before Paul was martyred which was in 64 A.D. This would mean that Demas had forsaken Paul about two years after Paul called him a fellowlabourer. This shows us that Demas had believed he was probably saved but as time wore on, he became less enthusiastic about the Gospel and more enthusiastic about the world. So what does this tell us in regards to a person being truly saved? One more example and I will tell you.
 
(Mat 7:17 KJV) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 
(Mat 7:20 KJV) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus Christ was giving a principle on how you can tell if you are saved and if others are saved. This is important because like Paul, you may befriend someone who claims to be saved and then eventually falls away at a critical time since they were never truly saved. It is also important to know if we have become saved and this section of the Sermon on the Mount gives an indicator of whether we have been truly saved or religiously elated. Notice in Verse 17 the Lord speaks about a fruit tree bringing forth good fruit and a corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruit. Then in verse 20, He tells us that by this method you will be able to discern whether a person is saved or not.

The key to knowing whether you are saved or not, is not based upon the moment of some type of confession or commitment, but the key is what comes afterward. Your lifestyle after a confession or commitment is the determining factor to indicate whether you are saved or not. Going back to the good and evil fruits, each is a fruit which the Lord states comes from the tree. Normally it takes about five months for a tree to bear fruit, from blossom to harvest. This means that a person who claims to be saved is tested by time and not words. It takes a good year or two to determine whether a person is saved or whether they will go back into the world as Demas did who showed his true nature in two years and was so convincing that he even had the Apostle Paul fooled. However, this does not mean a person sits around waiting for a specific time. They can become involved immediately in the work of the Lord. Now let us look at a parable of Jesus which speaks of the same principle.
 
(Mat 13:3-8 KJV) And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
 
(Mat 13:37 KJV) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The one who sows the good seed is the son of Man, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ. The seed is the Gospel.
 
{4} And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
 
This group of seeds had fallen on top of the ground. This field was not tilled yet and therefore the seeds remained on top of the soil and as soon as the birds saw the seed, they swooped down and ate up all the seeds. This is what happens when a person is not prepared to receive the Gospel. Their heart is not open to the Gospel and Satan steals from them whatever seeds of truth that came their way. These are the non-elect of God whose heart remains hard against the Gospel.
 
{5} Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
 
The seed here fell on a thin layer of soil but there was not enough room below for the plants to grow long roots so they could be healthy plants. There was a little evidence of growth but the rocks underneath the soil prevented the seeds from becoming strong plants. This is the religious crowd which believes they are saved but they have no root in the Lord Jesus Christ. Their root is in religion or in the teachings of their church or radio/TV preacher.
 
{6} And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
 
Since these people were not rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ, when a temptation or a situation comes along, their religion was not strong enough to hold them as the Lord Jesus Christ holds His children. This results in them withering away. The word “wither” in the Greek means “dry up.” There is no water of the Gospel in them, so their religion fails them and they just fade away and lose their faith in their church and ultimately in Christ because the visible church represents the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. These are the same people who say, “why did God let this happen?”
 
{7} And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
 
(Mark 4:18-19 KJV) And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, {19} And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. The thorns are associated with the cares of this world, the riches of this world, and the lusts. The word “choked’ In the Greek carries with it the idea of “overpower or kill.” These are the people who concern themselves more with the present day and are rank unbelievers and care only for the things of this world. They are part of the world system and care not for spiritual things and do not allow Gospel teachings to supersede their lust for wealth or pleasure.
 
8} But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
 
These are the people who have been “spiritually tilled” to receive the Gospel and as a result of their true conversion, they are rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ and their lives after salvation bring forth fruit according to ministry and ability the Lord places in them.
If you notice in this parable, just like the fruit from the tree, that it takes time for the seeds to germinate and grow and bring forth fruit. So once again we have confirmation that salvation in a person’s life becomes apparent only after a period of time whereby one can evaluate their walk to see if they are truly in the faith.
 
Summary
Just to briefly summarize this section, a person will know whether they are saved or not by the life they lead after a supposed moment of salvation. To say a few words or to sign some paper means nothing. One who is truly saved will give evidence of that salvation because their life will begin to show a proclivity toward the things of God and there will begin to be distance between them and the world system. This is known as sanctification, which evidences itself by a person who begins to care more for the things of God than the world. This is why a person needs to belong to a Bible believing church so there is accountability and guidance for their Christian walk. The Internet or radio alone will not do it. There must be contact and interaction with other Christians.
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At this juncture, I wish to offer some lifestyle indicators which show a transformed lifestyle. When a person becomes truly saved, a transformation will begin to take place. The place where it begins is in the mind first. The human mind has been called Satan’s playground and it is the place where sin is planned and then the body carries out that sin. When a person becomes saved, they are translated from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God.
 
(Col 1:13 KJV) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
 
The word “translated“ in this verse simply means “to transfer or set in another place.” We were removed from the kingdom of darkness and set in the Kingdom of God. At the moment of salvation, we received our resurrected or living souls. The souls we had in us were dead in sins and now they have been made alive. Along with our risen souls, we also have been given the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16 KJV) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. This means our minds are no longer darkened according to spiritual deadness. (Eph 4:18 KJV) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: The mind of Christ in us allows us to filter our desires and actions through a holy mind and no longer through a dead one. There is no sin that you have committed or will commit that has not had its birthplace in the mind. Now that we have the mind of Christ, we are able to make decisions in keeping with our Christian transformation.
 
Let us now turn to the tenets of the new life in Christ and compare them to our present life. Keep in mind that we do not live the Christian life perfectly but that is not an excuse to intentionally commit sin. It is because we are still in the flesh and that flesh, if not kept under control, can cause us to sin. (Eph 4:30 KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Now I would like to turn to a number of Christian lifestyle principles which will help us discern our proof of being Christians. God does not want us running around wondering every minute as to whether we are saved or not because that would cause us to come to a complete halt in our Christian lives. Our goal is to continue on and progress daily in our Christian walk.
 
How do I view Sin?
Before we were saved, we did not count anything we did as sin. In fact, if it brought us gratification, then there was no reason to stop. Now that we have become saved, is sin reprehensible to you? Do you attempt to avoid any situation which may lead you in to sin? (1 Th 5:22 KJV) Abstain from all appearance of evil. The Bible warns us that we are to even abstain, that is, to refrain or hold ourselves back from even the appearance of sinning. Have I completely renounced sin because it is that very thing which sent the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. Now it must be realized that even as Christians we do sin and sometimes fall into sin. When this happens, what is your attitude toward it? Do you seek to continue in sin or do you seek to cut off any further situations which may cause a repeat of that act? Do you feel bad after you sin? If you do, then you are grieving the Holy Spirit and must repent of any further possibilities of committing that same sin.
 
What am I doing now I didn’t do a year ago?
As we progress in our Christian walk, we will also grow in the ways that we perform our ministries. Do I notice an increased desire today to become more involved than I did a year ago? Has my ministry increased over what it was a year ago? (2 Cor 12:15 KJV) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. The apostle Paul had no problem being spent which carries with it the idea of being completely dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ by means of ministering to the believers and even unbelievers in some cases.
 
Persistence or Perseverance
Do I notice an increase in persistence when it comes to ministry? (Acts 14:19-20 KJV) And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. {20} Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. When the Apostle Paul was stoned and left for dead, he did not run away, instead after he revived, he went back into the city. If something like this happened to you and you were derided because of you being a Christian, would you shrink back or would you continue on in ministry. One of the major tenets of being a Christian is tenacity. When we meet opposition, we do not shrink back but we face it head on, and not only face it, but we move forward in spite of it. (Mark 13:13 KJV) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Those who are faithful to the point of losing their lives or continue to be spent for the Kingdom of God right to the day of their home going are giving major evidence they are saved.
 
Have I Grown in Sanctification?
Sanctification is not only growing in the faith and farther from sin, but it is also a separation of ourselves from the things of the world. For example, now that you have become saved, do you find that the things of the world are less interesting? Let us say that you were a sports fanatic, do you presently find yourself with more of a desire to involve yourself with ministry instead of hours in front of a TV watching sports? If you have begun to see a fading of what you were obsessed with before salvation and now have an increased desire for things of ministry, then you are growing in sanctification. Sanctification is basically dedicating yourself to whatever or whoever pervades your life. If you have been saved for some time and your desire for the things of God have not increased, then you need to check that. It may be you never became saved or you may have just adopted the “go to church and that’s all” mentality which is found nowhere in the Bible. Basically, do you find less thrill with the things of the world and more thrill with the things of God?
 
Ministry Desires
Do I have an increasing desire to reach the lost for Christ? Do I have a desire to minister to others in the body of Christ? Am I making myself available for Kingdom work? (1 Pet 4:10 KJV) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Ministry is not an option in the Kingdom of God. If there is no desire to perform any kind of ministry, then that shows a dead spirit and that salvation is absent. The greatest part of Christianity is ministering to others and reaching the Elect of God through evangelism.
 
Do I desire the company Christians more?
Have I begun to exchange the group of people I spend time with? Do I still desire the company of the world or is there a desire to spend more time with the people of God? (1 Pet 4:4 KJV) Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: If there is one thing we can count on, it will be worldly friends who will begin to distance themselves from us because of our salvation. This does not mean we cannot remain friends but this means we do not partake in the same things we did when we were unsaved. The unsaved crowd will bring a Christian down and then accuse that Christian of being no different. This is why we must distance ourselves from worldly friends. When I became saved, my drinking buddies said “I went off the deep end.” Separation from the ways of worldly friends will be a big step in the reduction of many temptations in your life.
 
Do you study your Bible regularly?
For a Christian to live a victorious life, it is necessary for them to study their Bible. The Bible is our guidebook for Christian living because it contains the mind of God for the things He has chosen to reveal to us. Do you have a continuing desire to read and study the Bible? At this point do not concern yourself with you do not know in the Bible, concern yourself with what you do know! Do you know more of the Bible than you did a month ago? Do you know more today than you did a year ago? Do you shun Bible study for any excuse? Do you fear what you will find in the Bible? Are you able to understand what you read? This question is serious because God gave us the Holy Spirit to give us understanding in the Bible and if you are not gaining any understanding, then you may not have the Holy Spirit which means you may still be unsaved. (Rom 8:9 KJV) 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.
 
Do you give of your finances?
Have you committed a portion of your finances for the purpose of supporting mission efforts? Do you struggle with giving? Do you make excuses as to why you cannot give or better yet, why you will not give? The Lord knows that we need money to live in this world and He does not expect you to sign over your whole paycheck but He does expect you to be a faithful steward of His money, which also means not going into unnecessary debt. God funds ministry through His children and when His children do not give, God has the right to withhold blessings from that person. Giving finances is the easiest ministry yet it is the hardest.
 
Have you produced any Fruit?
(John 15:8 KJV) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. One of the principles of the Christian life is that of “spiritual reproduction” which is the bringing of others into the Kingdom of God. The fruit that we produce is other believers. Now we will not be leading every single person we speak to into salvation because salvation is given by the Lord and not by us coaxing or begging. Our responsibility is to send forth the Gospel within the confines of the ministry the Lord has given us. We are to be faithful stewards of the Gospel and we must always be ready when opportunity to present the Gospel arises. A Christian who preaches the true Gospel will bear much fruit in contrast to the false gospels which cannot save yet is prevalent in many churches. We must always make sure that we are proclaiming the true Gospel because a person’s soul is at stake. If your life is void of any fruit because it is void of any type of ministry, then that needs to be checked very carefully.
 
Have you faced any persecution in any form?
(2 Tim 3:12 KJV) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If there is one thing that a true Christian will face, it is persecution. If you have never faced any opposition to your ministry from the unsaved, then your ministry is in harmony with the world. All the Apostles faced persecution and all but John were martyred. In the Middle Ages, true Christians were martyred for their faith as they went against the Roman Catholic Institution. One such group which faced horrible persecution was the Waldensians of southern France. Then there were martyrs like Nicholas Ridley, John Hus, William Tyndale, many thousands more not known to us but known to God. If you face no opposition, then you are still in harmony with the world.
 
Have I joined up with a good church?
One thing a true Christian does is to join a good church for the purpose of having fellowship with the body of believers. Christians who refuse to go to a church will suffer from being alone. We go to not only hear the word of God proclaimed, but also to exercise our spiritual gifts within the church thus blessing other Christians. We also have the opportunity in a church to train the next generation. (Acts 13:36 KJV) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: David had served his generation and as believers we are to seek opportunities to serve ours and the local church is one place we can do that. If you have become saved and are still a member of a dead church, then you must come out from there or you will stagnate in your Christian walk.
 
Do you have an increased desire to do the will of God?
When a person first becomes saved, they may not immediately know the will of God for their life. In His timing, God will eventually reveal where He has empowered you to work in the Kingdom. When He does, will you have the increased desire to seek the ministry God has for you or do you simply have a desire to go to church and do nothing beyond that? It is unfortunate that apathy runs high among Christians but apathy may also be a sign of someone being unsaved. If you do not have the desire to become involved, then you need to check that. Even a person who is saved for one day can hand out tracts with other believers and if someone questions you, then bring one of the more mature believers to speak to them while you listen.
 
Are you looking forward to the return of the Lord?
As a Christian, you should be looking forward to the return of Christ. We look forward to the return of Christ because that moment signals the end of all suffering, sin, pain, and persecution. If you are not looking forward to His return because you fear you are not saved or you have not done enough for the Kingdom, then you need to check that. The thief on the cross did nothing and went to Heaven that very day. (Luke 23:43 KJV) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Your salvation is not based on what you do but what Christ did. However, we cannot use the thief on the cross as an excuse for being lazy in ministry. If you fear the return of the Lord, then you may still be hanging on to this world just as Demas did. (2 Tim 4:10 KJV) For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. He will stand before the Lord on Judgment Day unless he became saved later. If you too love this world and its systems, then that is an indicator you are unsaved.
 
Do you desire to know more about God each day?
How is your hunger to know God better each day? Do you have an ongoing desire to increase your relationship with Christ each day, that is, to become more obedient to Him and closer as a son is to a father. (James 4:8 KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. As we become closer to the Lord, He becomes closer to us! If you fear that relationship, then you are walking with the world and against Christ.
 
Do you have a servant’s heart?
Do you increasingly seek to serve others? The Lord Jesus Christ showed us that He came to serve by washing the feet of the disciples. The Apostle Paul was happy to give his life in service to other believers. One of the greatest tenets of Christianity is service to others. Do you see yourself as a servant or do you feel that you should be served? The latter is an attitude prevalent in this world. If servanthood is not your cup of tea, then maybe you are still drinking the Kool Aid of the world.
 
Do you find yourself obeying God’s word or opposing it?
When you find something in the word that specifically applies to you, do you accept it and adopt it, or do you fight against it by twisting the meaning or just outright rejecting it? God’s word is not only for us to get to know Him better but it is also a guide to correct us and prevent us from sinning by correcting any wrong doctrines or principles. (2 Tim 3:16 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: The rejection of anything taught in the Bible that we do not like is evidence we are walking with the world and not the Lord.
 
Do you find that you are overcoming temptation easier now than a year ago?
One of the tenets of the true Christian life is that as we grow in the faith, it becomes easier to identify temptation and reject it. As we continue to grow in the faith, it must be realized that Satan will never abandon his attempt to derail the Christian. (2 Cor 2:11 KJV) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. As we grow in the faith, then we are able to identify a possible temptation which will really be a trap of Satan to help ruin our testimonies. If Satan can get us to sin by tempting us, then he will build a power base in our lives where it will be hard for us to reject the temptation. This is why the moment that we realize a temptation is headed our way, we reject it immediately, so Satan is unable to build that power base in our life. As Christians, we have two natures. One is the resurrected soul which is where salvation has taken place and is sinless because it has been redeemed. The second nature is our sinful nature which resides in our flesh. (Rom 7:18 KJV) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 
Our flesh was not redeemed in our salvation and therefore the sin desire still dwells in the flesh. This is why there is such a war in the believers’ life. The sinless soul desires purity and the sinful flesh desires gratification. This is why we have to be very careful that we do not serve the flesh. If a person, who claims to be saved does not have a conscience toward committing sin or yields easily to temptation without regret, then that gives evidence that a person is still unsaved. If your flesh and your spirit are still in harmony, then that is evidence transformation did not take place which means salvation did not take place. God has allowed the believer to have this war in their body so we are able to tell that we have truly become saved. Since we have a resurrected soul and are alive unto God, it should become harder to sin because we are able to spot the devices of Satan.
 
Summary
We have looked at seventeen tenets of the true Christian faith. While they will not all be matured quickly, they are nevertheless part of the Christian walk. Some people claim to have a salvation experience and then continue to walk with the world. You will hear some say, “I got saved when I was younger but I walked away.” The reality is that they were never saved. You don’t walk away from salvation, you grow up in it. If there is no spiritual growth at all, then there is no salvation. These seventeen tenets have one thread in common and that is attitude or mindset. If we claim salvation and do nothing, then we are proving we do not have salvation. (James 2:17 KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. What James is telling us is that those who have truly become saved, will manifest that salvation by building upon that faith. In other words, if you are saved, your works will show it. These seventeen works listed above will give a good determination as to whether you have really become saved or not. As I stated at the beginning, it is hard for a person to write on this subject because no human can tell the heart of another human, only God can do that, however, Jesus did tell us that we will know them by their fruits, whether they are good or bad?

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