We were having a discussion in our church’s training school a while back regarding baptism. The question was regarding what to do if a person “accepts” Jesus as saviour, but doesn’t want to follow through with baptism. The issue I raised in my answer was that of the issue of legitimate regenerative experience, to which everyone looked at me in disbelief at the very thought of questioning someone’s salvation. I’d imagine the same look some of you may have at reading this. Now, before you get too offended, let’s be honest real quick. We’ve all thought this at one point or another. We’ve run into those people who aren’t on mission, whose lives look very normal in a bad way, that we can’t tell if there is really any genuine love for Jesus in the first place. It causes a frustration for both us and them out of a legitimate and necessary concern that comes from leading people. We wonder if it might just be better off if they said they weren’t christians simply so both us and them could change our expectations.
Now, I know that someone can never really know where someone is in terms of relationship to Jesus, since we only have externals to view this from and aren’t the one who “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart“. However, Jesus did give us criteria, such as “by their fruit you will recognize them“. So what do we do here. I’m not saying that I know people aren’t saved because they don’t want to be baptized. What I am saying is that we should continually have a deep concern for the obedience level in the lives of those we lead and love. Because “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Saviour’”…wait, that’s not right. Oh yeah!! It’s “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’” You see this is an issue of lordship, not belief in a savior, according to Romans 10:9. This is the tension we live in, of not knowing, but having to gauge where people are at in relation to Jesus.
How do you do this? What do you use as significant signs of salvation?