5 Question 1

That’s a tough question.  First of all, we really don’t know if a person is truly saved or not.  We look for evidence of salvation in a person, like we read in Luke 6:44, which says, “For every tree is known by his own fruit.”  Peter made a similar statement in James 2:18 when he said, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  When a person says that they are saved, we really want to see some evidence of that salvation in their life.  We look for a desire to please the Lord.  We look for a hunger for the Word of God.  We look for a love for souls.  We look for a life transformed by their being saved.

We do have this important statement in 2 Timothy 2:19 – “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  This lets us know that although some people may fool us into believing they are saved, the Lord knows for sure if a person is saved or not.  He knows His people.  The Lord Jesus said in John 10:27 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Again, the second half of 2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  So we see that there is responsibility for those that are saved.  They are supposed to stop living a life of sin.  Of course, the Lord empowers His people to no longer be slaves to sin, so He can rightly tell us to depart from iniquity.  In His statement in John 10:27, as we just read, the Lord said that His sheep do follow Him.  If someone claims to be saved, but is not following the Lord, then we have reason to doubt their salvation.  Now, we have no right to declare that they are not saved, but we can certainly judge the fruit that we see and, with that, we may realize that they are probably not really saved.  The Lord asks a very searching question in Luke 6:46 – “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  So, we look for obedience to the Lord in someone who claims to be saved.

One nice lesson that we have from God’s Word is found in looking at the different times that the Lord Jesus raised someone from the dead while He was on the earth.  Searching the scriptures, we find that the Lord Jesus raised up three people from the dead, not counting Himself, of course.  In each instance, we find a ‘sign of life’ in the person that was raised.

After raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead in Luke 8:40-56, we find in verse 54 that the Lord Jesus “commanded to give her meat.”  Her sign of life was that she was hungry, and every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should exhibit that same sign…a hunger for the Lord Jesus and His Word.

In Luke 7:11-15, we have the story of how the Lord raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead.  After he was raised, we read that “he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.”  His sign of life was that he began to speak, even as the believer in the Lord Jesus should be ready to speak of the Lord, His glory, and His mercy to all who come to Him by faith.

In John 11:1-40, we have the account of the Lord Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Verse 44 says, “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”  We see here that his sign of life was that he walked.  Even so, the believer in the Lord Jesus will have a new walk, or new way of living.

The lesson we learn from this is that one who is truly born again and “is passed from death unto life” according to John 5:24, will exhibit signs of that new life.  There will be a hunger for the Lord’s things, there will be speaking of the Lord’s things, and there will be a new walk.

Now, how do we handle a person one who says they were saved years ago, but now shows no evidence of being saved?  Without being judgmental, we would do well to always look for occasions to present the Gospel to this person.  If this person is not saved, then they certainly need to hear the Gospel.  If they are truly saved, then hearing the Gospel may encourage them to live a life to please their savior.  Perhaps if we see them doing something that dishonors the Lord, we should remind them that they said they are saved, and then ask them, “Do you think the Lord wants you to do behave like that?”

We should absolutely be praying for this person, and since they do profess to be saved, encourage them to consider their life style.  Is it consistent with their testimony?  Are they showing any of the signs of life that we mentioned earlier?  If this person should one day confess that they truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and realize they have been living a life that is contrary to the Word of God, then we can joyfully point out to them that the Lord will forgive and cleanse them when they confess their sins to Him.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”