The New Testament everywhere teaches that salvation will be accompanied by evidence.
1. Consider some of the Scriptures that teach that salvation is accompanied by evidence:
Consider 1 John 2:3-4
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Consider 2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Consider Titus 1:16, where Paul warned about those who profess Christ but deny Him by their works.
Consider 2 Timothy 2:19, where we see that the seal of salvation is the two-fold truth that God knows those who are His and that the true believer will demonstrate his salvation by departing from iniquity. To depart from iniquity is not the way of salvation; it is the evidence of salvation.
Consider Ephesians 2:8-10. Though salvation is “without works” in that it is God’s free gift through Christ, it is “unto good works” (Eph. 2:8-10). The good works are God’s works showing themselves in the individual’s life. The good works are the evidence.
Consider John 3:3, which teaches that salvation is a supernatural birth that changes the individual’s life.
Consider the conversions described in the Gospels under Christ’s earthly ministry. In every case the individual’s life was dramatically changed: e.g., the woman at the well (John 4), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).
Consider the conversions described in the book of Acts. Again, in every case the individual’s life was dramatically changed: e.g., those who were saved on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41-42), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), Paul (Acts 9:1-21), Lydia (Acts 16:14-15), the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:27-35).
Consider the believers at Thessalonica who modeled genuine salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
2. The following five evidences of salvation are described in the New Testament:
a. A conversion experience (Matthew 18:3; John 3:3)
b. Love for God’s Word (John 8:47)
c. Love of righteousness (1 John 2:3-4)
d. God’s chastening (Hebrews 12:6-8)
e. Looking for Christ’s return (Hebrews 9:28)
3. Jesus warned that it is possible to “believe” without being saved.
a. In John 2:23-25, the people believed on Christ because of the miracles, but they did not believe savingly. Had they believed savingly, Christ would have “committed himself to them.” Even the devils “believe,” but they do not have saving faith (James 2:19). The Jews in John 2 did not believe on Jesus as Lord and Saviour; they believed on Him as a “a prophet” (John 6:14), as a miracle worker and a provider of their physical needs (John 6:26-27), and as one who would deliver them from the power of Rome, which was their concept of the Messiah: a political deliver rather than a personal Saviour from sin. That they were not true believers is evident in that they turned away from Christ because of His preaching (John 6:60). In contrast to these false disciples, Peter refused to turn away even when the “going got rough,” because he had genuine saving faith (John 6:67-69).
b. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus warned that many of those who call on Him as “Lord, Lord” will be false Christians. We see from the testimony of the people in verse 22 that they trust their works and their “sign gifts” rather than trusting Christ’s blood alone for salvation. Christianity today is filled with people who profess Christ but who are trusting their baptism, their church, priests, sacraments, sincerity, social-justice activity, etc.
4. When we say there is evidence of salvation, we are not saying there will be some sort of sinless perfection. That there is evidence of salvation does not mean that every believer will change at the same rate or bear the same fruit (Mat. 13:23). The believer still has the “old man” that he inherited from Adam, and the Christian life is a process of putting off the old man and putting on the new man, which is Christ (Eph. 2:22-24). Some believers are more passionate in living for Christ than others. We are not saying there will be a “total transformation”; we are saying that there will be at least some sort of transformation!
REVIEW QUESTIONS ON THE EVIDENCE OF SALVATION
1. What verse says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar”?
2. What type of people are described in Titus 1:16?
3. What is the two-fold seal of salvation described in 2 Timothy 2:19?
4. What verse says the believer is saved “unto good works”?
5. Jesus described salvation as a new birth. How does this prove that salvation has evidence?
6. What are four examples of salvations in the New Testament that involved a great change of life?
7. What are five evidences of salvation?
8. Why does John 2:24 says that Jesus did not commit Himself to those who believed in that situation?
By David Cloud