Assurance: Tests of True Faith by Paul Washer
… the evangelical church in America has gone through something of what I would call evangelical reductionism or gospel reductionism. We have taken the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and reduced it down to four spiritual laws or five things God wants you to know….The Christian life is not Jesus coming in and making your already wonderful life more wonderful. What you need to understand is that, if you have not Christ, you have nothing….
How can a person know that they truly believe?….superficial evangelism — we’ve got to stop it. II Corinthians 13:5 Paul looks at this group of people and says, Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves… What Paul is doing here is he’s looking at a church that was filled with a lot of people acting carnally, acting like lost people. And he comes to them and he does not say what I have heard countless parents say to their teenager, who after praying a prayer when they were little have become viciously rebellious. And they say something like this, “Now, Johnny, you’re saved. You need to start acting like it.” No, what Paul would say to your son is this, “You made the profession of faith in your younger years, you were baptized, following the Lord in obedience, but at this moment you’re living in a way that may demonstrate that you never truly came to know Him.”
How do you know you’re saved? How can you have assurance? By examining your life according to what the Scriptures declare a Christian truly is….how many people out there right now are not trusting in Jesus Christ, but they’re trusting in a decision….It’s not just a confession, but it’s also ethical — bearing fruit. Jesus said you will know Christians by their fruit.