If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
NOTE: I'm not in any way judging who is and isn't truly saved. That is between God and the individual. The purpose of this post is to get people to analyze their walk with God and hopefully make any adjustments necessary to get back on the narrow path. 😀
1. Those who claim to believe in Jesus but only have a mental belief, not a heart believe
I have a family member like this. He has read tons of theology books, knows everything there is to know about the Bible and Jesus, claims to believe in Him, but has no evidence of a life-changing relationship with Him.
Yet, doesn't the Bible say all we have to do is believe? The word "believe" in the above Scripture is the Greek word pisteuo which means the following
To have faith in, to entrust ones spiritual well-being to, to commit unto, to be committed unto, to commit one's trust.
From Strongs concordance: Pisteuo means not just to believe, but also to be persuaded of, and hence, to place confidences in, to trust, and signifies in this sense of the word, reliance upon.
So, to "believe" in Jesus means much more than just a head belief. Lots of people believe Jesus existed. To truly believe in Him means you entrust yourself into His hands, you commit your life to Him, you make Him your Lord. That's the kind of belief that will lead to salvation.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! James 2:19
2. Those who claim to believe in Jesus but who have no relationship with Him at all.
These are the people who have probably taken their belief a step further than the people in number 1. They may have at one point actually believed in the truest sense in Jesus as God's Son, but they never cultivated a relationship with Him. They never spend much time praying and they rarely read the Bible. They may even attend church, but, although they wouldn't admit it, this Jesus everyone talks about is a stranger to them. This is a very dangerous place to be. Are they still saved? That's for God to decide.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22-23
3. Those who claim to believe in Jesus but do all the things He says not to do
These are the "grace grace and more grace" people who have been schooled in the hyper-grace teaching that is so prevalent in our churches today. They may or may not have had a true faith in Jesus at one point (and they still might) but they have put their own selfish desires and pleasures on the throne instead of Him. These are the Christians who live together in sin, practice homosexuality, lie, cheat, blaspheme, drink to excess, do drugs, and essentially just behave like everyone else in the world. They believe that the grace of Jesus will cover all their sins and they will get into heaven anyway.
The problem with this kind of faith is that it is completely false. If you really believed and trusted in Jesus. If you really had a relationship with Him, and hence, loved Him, you wouldn't WANT to do all those things. You may mess up now and then, (hey, we all do!) but there would be no desire to go against God's commandments. This is called true Repentance, and it's something dearly lacking in today's church.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
( Did you notice how politically-incorrect the Bible is?)
4. Those who claim to believe in Jesus but who have created their own Jesus to worship
I saw a T-shirt on a young man once that read "Jesus is my Home Boy". Really? Just what does that mean? How demeaning to reduce the Son of God who died for the sins of the world to a "Home boy". Often in churches today we are taught only one side of Jesus, the lamb Jesus, the teddy bear Jesus. He's the great teacher who loved everyone, healed everyone, fed everyone. He's the Jesus who said just believe in me and have eternal life. We love this Jesus, don't we? This is our kind of savior. He's pure love, non-judgemental, and gives freely of Himself but asks nothing in return. If you're worshiping this Jesus, that's NOT the Jesus of the Bible. He may have come to earth the first time to show God's love, but He's coming again as a warrior and a judge. And, believe me, you do not want to be caught in His cross hairs.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11
5. Those who claim to believe in Jesus, but he is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Mormonism, Jehovah witnesses, and Muslims all believe in Jesus, but he isn't the right Jesus. He may very well sound the same and have some of the same history but when you dig a little deeper, he is nothing like the real deal. The only way to ensure you are believing in the right Jesus is to pick up the Bible and read it cover to cover. The real Bible, the one that has existed unchanged for thousands of years. Stop relying on men and their religions to tell you who Jesus is.
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect Matthew 24:23
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 2 Corinthians 11:3-5
6. Those who say they believe in Jesus, know all the right words to say, and are model church-going citizens, but Christianity is more of a social club to them.
These are the people who were raised in Christian homes, went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night, but they never really had a saving experience with Jesus. They believe, but they don't really like Christianity and all the rules they were taught to follow. They said the obligatory prayer to get saved when they were kids, but today they want to live their life as they choose. They believe in heaven and fear going to hell. As adults, they may still attend church just to make sure God notices their dedication. They can talk the talk and walk the walk with any Christian and they know their Bible well, due to the number of sermons they've heard. But they really only think of church as s social club where they can get together with friends.
7. Those who say they believe in Jesus and who are continually stressed about doing enough for him and making it into heaven.
The legalists. Opposite of they hyper-grace movement, the legalists adhere to a list of rules to follow in order to be good enough for God. I don't mean to pick on the Baptists here but I went to a Baptist high school and I can tell you all about rules. There were a ton of them...about what we were allowed to wear, eat, drink, say, etc. We couldn't even play a game of Solitaire with a deck of cards, and we certainly weren't allowed to have a prom dance. We had a prom banquet instead. Most of these rules were man made and not in the Bible. God actually isn't a God who issues a ton of rules. Jesus, Himself simplified the law into the following two rules:
- To love the Lord our God with all our heart
- Love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
If these legalists have true faith, they are saved, but I can tell you, they are a miserable group of people. God gave us life to enjoy, not to restrict us.
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36
8. The true follower of Jesus
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21
This is a person who has had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Whether they met the Lord as a young person or an adult, they can definitively describe how much they've changed and what Jesus has done for them (in their heart and in their life). God is the most important Person in their life. They love reading the Bible and their prayer time is the most special time of the day. In fact, they are constantly in prayer, constantly talking to God throughout the day. They are filled with the Holy Spirit. How do they know? Because He convicts them of sin and inspires them to good works, and because they hear from God through His Spirit.
Do they mess up now and then? Yes, like everyone else, they sin, but the difference is, they hate their sin and they have no desire for it. They immediately repent and move forward, and they can tell you that they've gotten better over the years.
They bear fruit. They tell others about Jesus. They try to love their neighbor as themselves. They help feed the poor and take care of the sick. They love God's people. They support missionaries or they go out into the field themselves. They give of their time, money, and talents for the Kingdom of God. They are humble and have no room for pride.
Yes, they are flawed human beings. But they are forgiven, protected, and loved beyond measure. And they know it. They are not caught up in the things, cares, and pleasures of this world. These are the people who can't wait for the Lord to come back and take them home.
Please understand me. Don't read the qualities I listed above and become afraid because you fall short in one area or another. We are ALL a work in progress, right? We are all in different places in our walks with the Lord. This is not meant to frighten but to inspire. If you have truly had a saving encounter with Jesus, you will know it in your heart. You will want to love Him, get to know Him, serve Him, and you'll find within you an abhorrence for sin that you didn't have before. It's a matter of the heart. You continue to walk out your faith with Him at your side and allow the Holy Spirit to change your heart. It's a process. But it's a wonderful process.