John 15:5-8 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

If you are concerned for your eternal destination and feel like you have repented, believed, and received salvation in Christ, great! But know that the assurance of salvation is not a one-time event. Just because you did those things does not necessarily mean that you are saved. When God saves a person, He works in him, guides him, and brings forth fruit in his life (Philippians 2:12-13). This fruit is evidence of salvation that includes love and desire for God, obedience to Him, and repentance. Jesus said if you claim to be saved and yet your life lacks this fruit, then you are a hypocrite who is in fact still lost (Matthew 7:17-20; John 15:2, 8). The Bible says it is impossible to have true faith without it (James 2:18-20; Matthew 3:8-10). If God has started a work of salvation, He will definitely see to it that it brings forth fruit in one's life. If it isn't a reality in your life after some point, and you go back to your sins, then the Bible warns that you never were truly saved to begin with, because God always completes what He starts (Philippians 1:6). So cry out to God, plead with Him to save you; and if He has, then, by His Holy Spirit, press on, fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12)!

Examine Yourself

The Word of God warns Christians to take heed and to be on guard lest they fall away (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 10:12; Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 3:17; Hebrews 3:12-14; 12:15). We are commanded in the Bible to examine and test ourselves to see if we truly are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). The Bible declares that if you do not have the Holy Spirit—His presence will be known in that He will cause a person to live for Christ by obeying Him and forsaking sin—then you do not belong to God (Romans 8:9-13). Therefore, we must examine ourselves to see if these things are a reality in our lives. If they are, then we have great cause for rejoicing and glorying in God, for we have a biblical ground for assurance—and not merely based upon a whim or false hope. If they are not, then the time spent examining ourselves has furnished us a wonderful opportunity to cry out to God to rescue us, while we still have time.

Discipline from God

God is faithful to keep His true children on the path of faith and holiness, and He does this often by way of discipline. Whether God works powerfully through a preaching ministry, the personal reproof or counsel of a friend, or even through adversity and affliction, He will ensure, for His own glory and for their good, that His people are kept one way or another (Job 37:10-13; Psalm 119:67, 71, 75). This is one of the promises of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 32:40). Therefore, if a person's lifestyle is void of any such discipline, then the Bible warns that they are by no means a child of God (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Walking in the Light

The Bible says you're a liar if you claim to be a Christian and yet walk in darkness (1 John 1:6-7). Walking in the light has to do with living your life in such a way that you don't need to hide anything from anyone. You go to church on Sunday, but where are you Friday night? Would you gladly tell everyone about it, or would you have to hide it? Could you tell a pastor about the kinds of movies you watch or games you play? You can't be a true Christian and yet walk in darkness. Repent of your sins so that you will have nothing to hide, and then you will be walking in the light (John 3:19-21; Ephesians 5:11-15).

Confessing Sin

If you claim that you have not sinned, you make God out to be a liar because He says the opposite (1 John 1:8). If there's something sinful in your life and yet instead of confessing it as sin you justify it, you have deceived yourself (1 John 1:9-10). You cannot be a Christian and yet justify yourself or your sins; you must confess and be rid of them all (Proverbs 28:13).

Obedience to God

One of the greatest assurances that one is a child of God is that he joyfully obeys Him from the heart. God's commandments are not burdensome for the true Christian (1 John 5:2-3). The Bible declares that whoever claims to be saved and yet does not keep His commandments is a liar, and that those who make a practice of sinning are actually children of the devil (1 John 2:3-6, 29; 3:4-10; 5:18). Those who claim to be Christians must walk in the same manner as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).

Love for Christians

There are many people who believe that they are saved and yet they do not love Christians in such a way that they would lay down their lives to serve them. The Bible declares that God sees these people as murderers in whom is no eternal life, because it is impossible to love Him when you do not love His people (1 John 3:15-18; 4:20-21). You know you have passed from death to life when you start loving God's people (1 John 3:14). If you would rather spend time with people who are not wholeheartedly and seriously devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, then you're in trouble here.

Hatred for the World System

There is so much glamor in our culture, and everyone is fascinated with what this world has to offer—trying to be popular, rich, or accepted. The Bible says if this describes you, you don't have the love of God in you (1 John 2:15-17). We are commanded not to love the world or the things in the world, because this world is evil, belongs to Satan, and friendship to it is hostility toward God (James 4:4; 1 John 5:19). The world is passing away but the will of God lives forever.

This article was revised and republished on 08/29/2020. It was originally published on 06/01/2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. © The Lockman Foundation

Comments (21)

  • Cinthia 03/07/15 at 07:44 AM CST

    I want to thank my Lord Jesus for Saving me from myself!!!!! These are great Truths that nobody wants to speak about! So crucial! Don't stop standing for GOD! Our creator our Father our Savior!!!! He deserves all the honor and praise!!!!! He is sooooo merciful with us! We should be in hell right now and because of his LOVE for us, we're not!!!!! He became sin!!!! He took my sin, my punishment! The wrath that was aimed at me!!!!!! He swallowed it up!!!!!!!! Wow!!!!! Thank you Lord!!!! Thank you Lord for sparing me!!!!! A pathetic rebelios fool as me!!!! Continue to defend the TRUTH!!!! That's what saved me me!!!! His TRUTH!!!! Jesus Christ!!!!!

  • Lee Poskey 12/13/14 at 03:53 PM CST

    Go get em boy.
    I like your way. I'm the same way, zealous, misunderstood.

  • Stephanie 09/02/13 at 09:13 AM CDT

    I am ashamed but also relieved to find that I have been living with a false sense of salvation. I was led to believe the lie also that a simple confession of the prayer of salvation was enough to cover me in The Blood. I now understand what salvation is. I know that it is a free gift from God through Jesus, but that I still must live in in the faith of Jesus Christ and His teachings. Yes, salvation is free, but the life we must continue to live must bear good fruit to be approved by the Father. I was taught at the age of (10) that one must speak in youngest to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit. When I was (14) I prayed the "sinners prayer" and was baptized. I am now (47) and have never attended church much. I have gone through (2) husbands and several boyfriends. I have a (19) yr old daughter who claims to he an agnostic. This breaks my heart and sickens me. I feel very responsible for that because I have always claimed to be a Christian. I have taught her to pray as a smell child, and prayed with her when she would ask me to as a young adolescent. I guess you really can judge a tree by the fruit it bears. She has looked @ me and decided that. "if that's what a Christian is, then I'd rather leave it." I have lived my life "on both sides of the fence" you could say. Please pray for my daughter, "Dallas" and my husband, "Doug" . He also claims to be agnostic. My family needs Jesus. We need healing. Thank you for this website.

  • Dennis Gagne 04/25/14 at 04:59 PM CDT

    I was shopping recently in a thrift shop in Florida and discovered an old book called "Returning To Holiness" I bought it because this thought has been haunting me for some time now. The "once saved" easy believeism that is being proclaimed from todays pulpits is not changing lives! It is the same old stuff week after week. I admit that I used to be somewhat of a legalist but still, I always loved His Word, it was never a burden to me. I wasn't bound up with the foolishness of clothing and such, but I was a staunch believer who didn't have much patience with lukewarmness. But this stand alienated me from my wife and children for a season. I am only now able to say that I have a relationship with my children and grandchildren after more than a decade. I truly want to walk in the full counsel of Jesus and uncompromising holiness. I am so happy to have found this website, thank you so much.

  • Ali Pankyes 05/12/13 at 11:42 PM CDT

    Its my first day here and am blessed already.Thank you Jesus for this discovery...Am Unashamed! Rm 1: 16.

  • Administrator 01/26/13 at 09:17 AM CST

    Thank you Lorilie, your comments have been a blessing and encouragement. The Spirit's presence and working is evident in your expressed burdens and desires. How few there are whose souls are consumed by the things of God!

  • Lorilie 01/25/13 at 04:33 PM CST

    I was also a false convert for 6 years. The Holy Spirit drew me near Him and through His Word convicted me of who I really was. As I delved deep into His Word, He placed key people of great Christian strength in my life, used them also, and brought me to great repentance. It was overwhelming. It still is. To have finally read and understand the Truth deep in my heart. I'm not even sure of the day, I just remember finally sobbing and sobbing over my sin to my Saviour, my Holy God. And I remember a fiery passion to get on my rooftop with a megaphone and tell everyone the Truth. John MacArthurs bible studies and sermons have been instrumental in helping my growth, finding a Biblically sound Church that teaches Gods Word, and to live with integrity. This website is also helping me learn how to evangelize, along with The Way of the Master series, and the studying of His Word. It is consuming me to be ready to defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and live the Truth. For the glory of our Lord and King Jesus Christ! Your comments section here has been of encouragement. Keep up the good fight of Truth! Your sister in Christ.

  • Jonathan 01/15/13 at 10:24 PM CST

    i find this site very helpul to me especially on my leadership training,i hope the Lord will provide all the things needed here so we all grow in Gods Grace...

  • Dan 01/01/13 at 04:02 AM CST

    It's simple really, we are called to be a HOLY people of God. Jesus has shown us how to be HOLY, you have to decide who you want to follow Jesus or man. Like in 1 John and the rest of the Bible (old and new) God is good, and we should also strive to be good. We are human so we are made to fall short from time to time, but we must repent (this means to rebuke ourselfs and walk in the oppisite direction) and carry on in the direction Jesus has shown us. Therefore, salvation comes to those who have this mindset truly in there heart. It is there desire in other words. There is no place for worldly living. We are to die to self and live for Christ, For those who don't understand the meaning of this statement it means: If what you want does not line up with the model that Christ set out for us in His word, we should not do it. If we are faithful to do this, He is faithful to bring us to a state of Holiness. That is our gift from the Father made possible through the sacrifice of His Son for the sin of all mankind. All sin. The gate is narrow, but the invitation is for all. Won't you R.S.V.P. today.

    I hope this helps.

  • Joseph Kreger 01/04/13 at 05:59 PM CST

    Thank God for all true believers and for the maker of this site. To feel joy finally! It feels so good that there are true Christians who struggle with the same stuff my degenerate heart struggles with, its been a blessing to understand what it means to have fellowship with true believers. I think I want to truly congregate with others like you guys and myself, maybe helping the pastors who travel like Paul Washer. To be in the thick of battle, instead of the shallow waters of our satanic society.

  • Administrator 10/26/12 at 07:15 AM CDT

    Amen Torrey. Praise God for His grace. Thank you for sharing this testimony.

  • Torrey Courier 10/25/12 at 11:37 PM CDT

    I was a false convert for fourteen years. I was born again April 1st of this year. I came lacking repentance, without which no one will be saved. I made a committment, but there was no immediate change. Over time I changed, cleaned up my life and looked like this super Christian. Then after 6 years when I suffered major pain, I fell away completely. I was never freed from my sins. I had certain sins that I was still practicing. Now I am freed from having to practice sin. I now hate all that is sin and contrary to the character of God and love righteousness and holiness. Without inward holiness, no one will see the Lord. When I was a false convert, I still had a love for certain things of the world. Now, today, I hate everything that is of this world. Praise God that He was patient and longsuffering with me. Because I deserved to die and go to Hell. But praise God, through Christ, He saved me, He transformed me, He gave me new desires, He gave me new affections, and He gave me a new heart. I now delight in His commandments, I delight to do His will even if I have to suffer for it.

  • Administrator 07/18/12 at 08:17 AM CDT


    It is true that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, and that salvation is not gained by works. It is also true that one cannot lose his salvation.

    However, the issue here instead is determining whether or not one has truly been saved. If a person has been deceived into thinking he is saved, then obviously he cannot lose salvation since he never had salvation. You cannot lose what you do not have. And Jesus warned that there are multitudes of people who call Him Lord and who think they are saved when they are not and are in fact on their way to Hell (Matt. 7:21-23). Many people profess to know God, but by their ungodly deeds, they deny Him (Tit. 1:16). John the apostle said that anyone who claims to know God and yet still walks in darkness is a liar and the truth is not in him (1 John 1:6-7).

    The phrase "once saved always saved" is not found in Scripture and the concept, although technically true, can yet be extremely misleading. Many people comfort themselves with that phrase, assuring that they are saved because once they prayed a prayer or did some other thing whereby they think they gained eternal life in Christ. And what happens is they will fall into a lifestyle of sin or worldliness and continue to maintain their hope for Heaven since they "prayed the prayer" and, after all, "once saved always saved." But this is a deceptive lie. The issue is not "once saved always saved" but "IF saved always saved."

    If a person is living a lifestyle that persists in sin and rebellion, there is a good chance that they have never been truly saved in the first place. In this case, it is not that they have "lost" salvation, but that they never had it, and that they are simply revealing their true colors: a lost, unregenerate reprobate, in danger of the flames of Hell, one of the individuals whom Christ warned about in Matthew 7:21-23.

  • Carolyn 07/17/12 at 11:01 AM CDT

    Ephesians 2 verse 8 and 9 is one of many that sums it up. Salvation is not gained by you works , onlyby faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Thus, one can not lose his salvation throught his works either. that would make one a co savior with Christ, once saved always saved.

  • Simons 05/06/12 at 09:33 PM CDT

    I wanted to thank you for your page and efforts. I thought I was saved 3 years ago but I was TRULY reborn 3 months ago. As you know it is difficult to explain this regeneration but so easy to understand it once we've been allowed to experience it. Although Scripture discusses it in detail, it still does not register to those without this circumcision. But WOW how the Light shines on Scripture and life to those of us it has! Absolutely divine clarity! I pray that I may reflect even a small glimmer of His Light on those around me so that they too may be guided out of the dark by it. However, I know even Jesus had non-believers of His Light.<br/><br/>Its sad to know how narrow the gate TRULY is now. So many to save! I try but am accused of being judgmental or worse. Some are even so called, "Christians." If they were TRUE, they would HEAR the TRUTH... WALK in TRUTH!. I am sure you know this struggle all to well. So all we can do is reflect the Light with the help of He who strengthens us. I could go on and on but I'll just REJOICE in TRUTH with you! Finally! Thanks again for this page and for its TRUTH! Keep up the God fight!

  • Mike Quebedeaux 01/06/12 at 09:14 AM CST

    Thank you for the truth
    At 9years old I made a profession of faith as they call it and my life was never changed. I really believe I was even more evil because all I wanted was self-preservation from hell. I really didn't love God and I would always say that I wish I had never heard about being saved so that I could do everything my friends were doing. It wasn't until March of 1996 after hearing the gospel that God opened my heart and gave me the gift of repentance and faith to be able to receive this gift from above that He was offering me. From that day on, the direction of my life has been towards God. Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe. My "Kurios" and My God. I am His Doulos, Gladly.

  • Administrator 08/18/11 at 10:22 AM CDT

    David, it was never said that they couldn't. What has been said, rather, is that if they do, then God will come for them and put them back on the path again. Peter didn't remain in that state long; the Lord came and restored him to repentance again. He did so personally, and later on, when Peter fell into hypocrisy, He did so again by a fellow believer, the apostle Paul (Gal. 2:11). This is what the Bible means when it says God disciplines His children. If a Christian falls into sin or worldliness, God will most certainly come for him and chasten him and put him back on the right path. This is guaranteed for those who are truly saved. If a person who claims to be a Christian falls into sin and worldliness and is allowed to continue in it indefinitely, and God doesn't come and put them on the path again, then they're liars, they're lost, not saved, and in danger of Hell. The Bible calls such people illegitimate, who are not the children of God (Heb. 12:6-8).

  • David 08/17/11 at 02:01 PM CDT

    Christians can backslide, look at Peter.

  • Reba Jones 03/28/11 at 10:55 AM CDT

    Amen. A true follower of Christ will know His voice and will not walk after the lust of the flesh. I agree 100% that "The Word is so simple" even a child can understand it.

  • Administrator 02/26/11 at 04:45 PM CST

    Well said, Cheagan. Scripture mentions three tenses of salvation: past (saved - Eph. 2:5), present (being saved - Rom. 11:22; 1 Cor. 1:18), and future (will be saved - Matt. 24:13; Phil. 3:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). Though salvation occurs once, justified by faith apart from works, nevertheless it evidences itself through an ongoing work of God in a person's life, demonstrated by perseverance beginning with conversion and ending in death. Anything less is not true salvation but a work of the flesh. Only those who "endure to the end" will be saved, because "He who began a good work will finish it" (Phil. 1:6).

  • Cheagan 02/26/11 at 08:16 AM CST

    The word is clear: I am saved, not if I have believed, but if I believe. The proper emphasis is on this present moment - because faith yesterday, that is abandoned today, will not effect my salvation. Peter and Paul (not to mention the Lord Jesus Himself) agree. Read it for yourself - the Gospel message is very simple. Not easy, mind you, but simple to understand.