Do you believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ? I mean, do you really believe? Have you ever seriously considered the depth of your own faith? The Bible tells us, in 2 Peter 1:10, to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure…” and in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” So the question is, Are you in the faith? It is heart-breaking to see the numbers of young people who grew up in the Church, made a profession of faith, were baptized, were active in the youth group, and considered themselves to be true believers in Christ… and then went out into the world as young adults and left Christ and their faith behind them.
Don’t be content to rest in the fact that you went to the altar or made a decision for Christ. It is possible to make an emotional decision that does not come from the depths of your heart, and does not include the kind of genuine faith that saves through Christ. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Faith is more than believing that Christ is the Son of God, and that He died for the sin of the world, and rose on the third day, and that all who believe in Him will be saved. Believing these things about Him is not the same as believing in Him. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!” (James 2:19). Even the demons believe these things about Him and know that they are true. Belief must be more than informational–belief must be submissional. In other words, we must embrace Him with our whole heart, desiring to forsake self, sin, and the world. We must want with our whole heart to live in Him and die to our old self.” Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” Anyone who prays the “sinner’s prayer,” while saving his life for himself rather than surrendering his life to Christ, is only fooling himself. When a sinner comes to the Cross and surrenders his life to Christ, he is spiritually placed on that Cross so that his “old man,” his self-life, is “crucified in Christ” and put to death. In this way, the believer forsakes and leaves behind all that he used to be, and “rises again” to new life in Christ. This is what it means for the sinner to deny himself and take up his cross and follow Christ.
To be saved and believe in Christ only requires a decision… but it requires an honest decision from the depths of one’s heart. And the God who looks on the heart is not swayed by mere words. A man can be saved without saying a thing; and a man may remain lost though he say all the right things. Jesus told us, in Mark 7:21-23, that there will be many who call Him “Lord, Lord,” but will be told by Him, “I never knew you. Depart from Me…” That verse should be sobering to everyone who calls Him, “Lord.” God desires truth from us—”truth in the inward being” (Psalm 51:6). Human beings are sinful by nature, and we easily deceive ourselves rather than face difficult truths. Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Let us all search our own heart, and face the truth of who we are in our inward being. This is the most important matter in life, for “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation… ?” (Hebrews 2:3). This is why we are told, in Philippians 2:12, “…Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Those who honestly face themselves, and the truth of who they are in the inward being, and who embrace Christ and His Cross from the depths of their heart–these are they who truly believe in Him. And “…He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Do you know Him?