This topic has been weighing heavy on my heart lately. So many people these days think they are saved, when they are not. Too many call themselves Christians, yet the way they live their life will say differently. How can we tell who is really born again, and who isn’t? How are we supposed to know if someone is truly saved, or if we are really saved? What are the signs of a true, born-again Christian? What does the Bible say?
First, to get a good understanding of this, we must take a look at the requirements of what it takes to enter the Kingdom of God and be saved. The Biblical steps to receive salvation are as follows:
- Call out to God & confess our sinfulness (“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9; “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” – Romans 10:3)
- Repent (“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” – Luke 13:3; “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,” – Acts 3:19)
- Become Born Again (“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” – John 3:3)
Now that we’ve covered the Biblical steps to receiving salvation, let’s take a look at 7 signs of a true Christian, or one that is truly saved and born again.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
7 Signs Of A Born-Again Christian
This is the first and foremost sign of someone who has been truly born again in Christ, as it is also a necessary part upon receiving true salvation. When someone is born again, they will repent of their sinful lifestyle and begin to pursue living a holy lifestyle for God. (i.e. a thief will stop stealing; a liar will stop lying.) To repent literally means to change your mind and do an “about-face” or turn around and go the other direction in the way you live your life.
The Bible gives us several warnings about repentance and living a holy lifestyle. Jesus tells us that unless we repent, we will all likewise perish (Luke 13:10). Unrepentant sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). We are called to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16).
This is and can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own. Without Christ, we cannot stop sinning. With Christ, He gives us the power to overcome sin in our life in a way that we never could do purely in our own strength. We are helpless on our own. There is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).
“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” – 1 John 3:9-10
This is not to say we will never slip up and sin again; for if we say we have no sin, we are liars and do not know God (1 John 1:8). Even all of our righteous works are still as filthy rags compared to God’s righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). We are only deemed righteous to God through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22). This is why He died for us, to complete what we could never do on our own!
That being said, it is important to note that this is NOT a license to sin. Stumbling in sin is completely different than living in habitual, unrepentant sin. When we do sin, it will grieve us because it grieves God. When we are truly saved, we will repent because His Holy Spirit lives in us. If we walk in darkness (an unrepentant sinful lifestyle) we do not truly know Christ. Being born again WILL change the way you live your life!
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” – Romans 6:1-2
“If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:6-7
2. Conviction of Sin
This goes hand-in-hand with repentance. We are all guilty of sin, and we all need Jesus to cleanse us and save us. John tells us “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8,10
Conviction is a work of the Holy Spirit. Without Him, we would not care too much about sinning, as our flesh is inherently sinful. Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict us of sin. (“And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” – John 16:8)
If someone who claims to be Christian knowingly sins and feels no remorse, guilt, or shame and desire to repent of their sin, then they likely do not have the Holy Spirit in them at all.
Therefore, when someone becomes born again, the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and lead them to repentance.
“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:14
“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” – 1 John 2:1
3. Loving God, Hating Sin
Where does your heart and treasure lie? Do you love God, and the things of God? Or do you love sin and the things of this world more? To love the world does not mean to love other people, as we are commanded to love others just as Jesus loves us (John 13:34). Rather, loving the world means to love the things of this world, i.e. the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. The world often applauds, encourages, and glamourizes sinful lifestyles.
John, Paul, James, and Jesus give us more insight into what loving the world means:
- “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17
- “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” – Romans 12:2
- “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4
- “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”” – Luke 16:13-15
- “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” – John 12:25
Need I say more?
John is telling us that those who love the world and sin do not have the love of God in them. Paul warns us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world so that God may transform us by renewing our minds. James calls those who love the world adulterous, because you can’t love the world/ sin and fully love God at the same time- these two things are completely incompatible. We cannot serve two masters. You are either devoted or you aren’t- and on that note, Jesus tells us that He will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). Don’t be that person.
“When we enter God’s family through faith in Christ, God gives us the ability to exit the world’s rat race (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become citizens of another kingdom (Philippians 1:27, 3:20). Our desires turn heavenward, and we begin to store up eternal treasure (Luke 12:33; Matthew 19:21; 1 Timothy 6:18-19). We realize that what is truly important is eternal, not temporal, and we stop loving the world.” – Got Questions
4. Good Works
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe- and shudder!” – James 2:17-19
Faith without works is dead. This isn’t to mean that we get into Heaven based on our good works, but rather saving faith in Jesus will always result in good works.
John also tells us again in 1 John that if we truly know Him, we will keep His commandments:
- “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him, but whoever keeps His word, in Him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6
Likewise, Jesus gives us a sober warning in Matthew that we will know people by their fruit (or works) and that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
- “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:15-20
- “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
Jesus tells us that if we really love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). When we become born again, we will keep His Word and follow Him, because we love Him and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3
“Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” – John 14:23
5. Growth in the Fruit of the Spirit
Growing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit goes along with good works. When we are truly in Christ, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Let’s take a look at the fruit of flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.
Works of the Flesh
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21 (emphasis added)
Paul is telling us that those who live an unrepentant lifestyle of sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This is because those who habitually live these kind of lifestyles do not truly know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Many want a savior, but few want a Lord in their lives. This is where several get deceived.
Fruit of the Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ” – Galatians 5:22-23
The Holy Spirit will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives. This is purely the work of the Holy Spirit, not us. If someone is truly saved and born again, the fruit of the Spirit will manifest in their life because Christ lives in them, and they abide in Christ and His commandments. The desires of the flesh will become increasingly suppressed the more you walk in the Spirit.
- “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
- “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfull the lust of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16
6. Love for Others
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” – 1 John 3:11-15 (emphasis added)
- “ If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:20-21
Someone who is full of hatred and bitterness, someone who is murderous, does not truly know God because God is love. When you are in Christ, you can’t help but care for and love others. Even when someone has sinned against you and hurt you deeply, Christ will give you the strength and ability to forgive that person.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
7. Desire to Do God’s Will & Share the Gospel
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16
When someone is truly born again, they will want to share the gospel. Why? Because they have been loosed from the bondage of sin and darkness. They were saved by Jesus Christ! That’s why they call the gospel the “Good News”; it truly is the best news we could ever receive in our life!
The Creator of the entire universe, the one true God, loves us so much that He died for us and rose again, He took our place and took our sin upon Him to save us and set us free. He rescues us from sin and death, guilt and shame. He freely gives us eternal life with Him in Heaven; not by anything we’ve ever done, but by His love and grace. What better news could we possibly get?
When you’re really saved, you want others who aren’t saved to come to know the truth. You will care for those who are lost, you will care about the destination of their souls. You will want and desire to do God’s will for your life, because you love Him and He loves you. Jesus wants us to preach the good news of salvation that only comes through Him so that others may hear and come to know Him. Faith comes by hearing. If you never heard the good news, how else would you have been able to receive it?
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” – Romans 10:17
God wants us to proclaim His salvation to the whole world. He commands His disciples to preach the gospel.
- “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”” – Mark 16:15
- “And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” – Acts 10:42
- “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” – Matthew 10:27
Furthermore, Jesus gives us a warning in Matthew 7:21 that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter Heaven; only those who do the will of His Father will enter the Kingdom. This means that those who have been truly saved through the blood of Jesus Christ and are born again will seek and do God’s will in their lives. The Bible also tells us that God, who began a good work in us, is faithful to bring it to completion.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” – Revelation 3:20
Have you been born again? Is there a time where you can say that Christ really changed you and the way you live your life? Do you continue to walk with Him? Do you have a real relationship with Him?
Sweet sister, perhaps you are like how I used to be. I felt God tug at my heart several times throughout my life. He was knocking at the door of my soul. I would pray for Him to save my soul, but then I wouldn’t follow Him. I was unregenerate. I lived in habitual, unrepentant sin. I was living in deceit, sexual immorality, immodesty, selfishness, vanity, drunkenness, anger, depression, addiction, you name it. Yes, He was knocking at the door- but I’d only ever crack it, look at Him, and then shut it in His face.
You see, I thought I was saved. I believed in God. I prayed for Him to save my soul when I was younger. I went to church every now and then. So what was the problem?
The problem was that I never truly surrendered to Him as my Lord and Savior. I wasn’t born again. I had never completely let Him in. I had never really given my life to Him. I didn’t have a real relationship with Him. It wasn’t until years later that I finally opened the door all the way, and truly let Him in my heart. I finally surrendered and let Him change me from the inside out. My life has never been the same since. God is so good!
If you don’t truly know Christ yet, I want you to know that you are so loved. Jesus loves you so much, He willingly suffered at the cross, died an excruciating death, and rose up again, so you could be saved and live with Him forever in Heaven someday. He wants to change your life. He wants to heal those wounds in your heart. He wants to give you comfort, peace, joy, and guidance. He wants to set you free from sin, guilt, and shame. When we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
No one is too far from His grace!
He is standing at the door, He is knocking. He wants to have a relationship with you. When we come to Him and let Him cleanse us from our sin, He clothes us with His righteousness. He takes our brokenness, and makes us beautiful and whole. He brings us out of darkness and into His marvelous light!
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 18:1
Isn’t that amazing? He takes our sins, and makes us white as snow! He isn’t shocked or surprised at our sins. Nothing you’ve done could make Him love you any less than He does right in this very moment.
He loves us, and wants a real relationship with every single one of us. Don’t wait another day, today is the day of salvation! There is no better time than now to receive Christ into your heart and life. Jesus is already there waiting for you with open arms, sister!
According to the book of Romans in the Bible, the apostle Paul tells us that to become saved, one must:
- Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
- Believe in your heart that He died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” – Romans 10:9-13
Below is a prayer that you can pray to God to receive salvation. This isn’t an “official prayer”, but rather an example to follow when asking Jesus into your heart. You can pray to God in your own words if you’d like to do so. This prayer is based off of Romans 10:9-13.
Prayer of Salvation
Dear God in Heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead for the forgiveness of my sins. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and Lord.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
If you just asked God into your heart, I am so happy for you! The Bible says that Heaven rejoices over even one sinner who has received Christ and repents.
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:7
May God bless you in your new life with Him, sweet sister.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26
For more on how to be saved, please click here.