So I was talking to Bri about this the other day, and now i am going to attempt to put all the pieces together on paper of what I was trying to say. Whether I accomplish that goal, you my decide…but I shall attempt none-the-less.
On the topic of conversion - we can know and assume there are a lot of “false” conversions around the country. People who have muttered words free of understanding, guilted or scared into committments they do not comprehend, etc. And while we cannot know the heart of a person, and their true place with God, there are evidences of conversion that we as Christians can use to guide us in that knowledge - for instance the scripture tells us “…those who abide in me will bear much fruit” (Speaking of abiding in Christ.)
Now again there are seasons (though there shouldn’t be) that we may not bear evident fruit, that the Children of God may be caught in sin, etc. But for the most part - Christians shall be known by their love, and their fruits - and this can serve as a fairly clear guideline for speaking to those who may not have been truly saved / put their faith in Christ.
The whole point of this post is to find somewhat of an idea of what “true” faith is -
True faith is faith that justifies (frees us from sin) ANNNND sanctifies (perfects / sets apart). Both! That is what faith IS - at it’s core. True faith does not simply justify and then fail to sanctify. That is not how it works - and when we see those whose faith does not convict and perfect and sanctify, we see that that faith may not be true! “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no Means! We have died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” - (Apostle Paul, Romans)
I know this to be true in my life. Until I was 17 I had the faith of a man who wanted to escape the fires of hell but do NOTHING in this life for the LORD. I wanted fire-insurance - I did not have a true and salvational faith that both justifies and sanctifies.
John Piper, Pastor of Bethlehem Bible Church and writer, said “Faith delivers from hell, and the faith that delivers from hell delivers from lust” That’s what faith IS.
This understanding helps us to put together the verses like Romans 8:30 that says all who are justified will be glorified, but those who give themselves up to impurity will be lost, (Galations 5:21) those who do not pursue holiness will not see the LORD (Hebrews 12:14) - as well as many other texts connecting obedience and a pursuit of Christ-like behavior essential to our salvation. Why - because it is! Faith that delivers from hell delivers from continual-sin -
This doesn’t mean we’ll be flawless. It means that our fight will always fight. We will not “give ourselves up” to those things, because those saved, justified, are being sanctified through Christ.