It appears that you are asking about the difference between someone who gets emotional when they hear the gospel but is not truly under conviction about their sin and another person who is truly under God’s conviction that they are a lost sinner and need salvation. It is certainly possible for someone to pretend to agree with God that they are a sinner and shed many tears about their sinful condition when they are only acting and there is no sincerity at all. There is nothing wrong with emotions themselves. God gave us emotions and often people will show emotions when they repent of their sins and trust Christ as their Savior. However, some people profess to get saved and put on a show of tears in order to try to impress someone or for some other selfish reason.

Let us look at an example of someone in the Bible who fits this description. Esau was the brother of Jacob and son of Isaac and Rebekah. Jacob’s name means supplanter or deceiver. Jacob sold some red soup to Esau when Esau was hungry at the price of Esau’s birthright. Esau agreed to this and surrendered his birthright to his younger brother Jacob. The possessor of the birthright was given a double portion of his father’s possessions, became the head of the family when his father died, and would be an ancestor of the Messiah. At another time Jacob deceived his father Isaac into thinking that he was Esau so that Isaac would bless him. Isaac said to Esau in Genesis 27:35, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing” (NASB). Esau replied in Genesis 27:36, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing” (NASB).

We learn more about Esau in the New Testament. We read in Hebrews 12:14-17, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” God does not approve of how Jacob got the birthright, but Jacob did value the birthright and a place in the godly line more than Esau. Satisfying his physical appetite was more important to Esau than spiritual blessings. We learn in verse 17 that Esau’s repentance was not genuine. He desperately wanted the blessing, but his tears did not indicate true repentance.

We can be fooled by others. However, God knows each person’s heart. We read in Acts 15:8, “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us” (NASB). We cannot see a person’s heart like God can. However, we can observe a person’s behavior. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” A person who has truly repented of their sins and trusted in Christ as their Savior will have new desires and new behaviors. We read in 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.”

Each person who is truly saved is given the Holy Spirit to indwell them. We read in Ephesians 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (NASB). We read in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (NASB). These are the new behaviors that will indicate that a person is truly saved.

In summary, emotions may or may not be displayed when someone is under God’s conviction of their sins. Getting emotional does not save anyone. However, when God convicts someone of their sins and that person repents of their sins and trusts Christ as their Savior, then that person is truly saved. Unlike us, “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19, NASB). However, we can see others’ behaviors to give us an idea of if someone is saved. If someone’s actions do not correspond to their profession of being saved, pray for that person and ask the Lord for wisdom about how to talk to them. Possibly some of the verses mentioned above could be lovingly shared with the person in order to lead them to genuine repentance and faith in Christ.  (DJ)  (540.4)