“He’s a true Christian.”
“She’s a real Christian, not one of these pretend Christians.”
Have you ever said something like this or heard someone else say something like this?
Do you realize what people are really saying?
Well, maybe a couple of things.
What they are really saying is that they can determine whether or not a person is saved, BASED ON THEIR WORKS.
Do you know what a real Christian is? Do you know what a real saved person is, according to the Bible?
A real Christian, a real saved person, is a person who believes in Jesus as Savior. (John 6:47; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
Nothing more. Nothing less.
When a person says that someone who does good works is a “real Christian,” what they are really saying is that people are saved by being good people–by being people who do good works.
Doing good works and being a good person are good things, of course, but doing these things will not save your soul from Hell.
Being a good person and doing good works, will not forgive your sins.
Only believing in Jesus will save your soul.
Only believing in Jesus will make you a good person in the eyes of God.
But what about people who exhibit the nine Fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control? If people have these things, then surely they must believe in Jesus, and then, of course, by simple logic, they must be saved, right?
True, but we can be fooled.
How? Because people who do not believe in Jesus can ~seem~ to have these qualities. The problem is that similar qualities can emanate not from the Spirit of God, but from self-justifying PRIDE (“I’m a good person.”) Well, maybe they are a good person in the eyes of people. But they are not a good person in the eyes of God if they do not have the Spirit of God, the forgiveness of God, and the righteousness of Christ, that come only through faith in Jesus.
Only an individual person knows, by the Holy Spirit in his or her conscience, whether he or she believes in Jesus as Savior.
Everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior is saved forever. Everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior is a “true Christian,” and is saved, no matter how unsanctified and unholy they may seem to outside observers.
There is no self-pride in salvation.
Salvation is all the work of God to those who believe in Jesus as Savior.
Of course, it is God’s will that believers live by the Spirit, do good works, love their neighbors, and be filled with the love and Spirit of God.
But, to the outside observer, none of these are proof of any individual’s salvation or lack of salvation.
People who believe in Jesus as Savior are forgiven, saved, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and irrevocably destined for Heaven.
People who do not believe in Jesus may have a serene soul and they may have many good works, but they are not saved, they do not have His Spirit, and they will not go to Heaven because they have not been forgiven of their sins.
Those who believe in Jesus as Savior are saved because they have been forgiven of their sins, and they have been given the perfect righteousness of Christ by faith.
People are not eternally saved by their good works.
People are eternally saved and forgiven of their sins, and destined for Heaven, by faith in Jesus as Savior.