Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).
Have you heard or read that God says come as you are but loves us too much to leave us as we are?
Sanctification is part of that process. Salvation is the new birth; sanctification is new growth. It is growth granted by the grace and work of God to renew us and rebuild us as we die to sin more and more and live with, for, and in righteousness.
In John 17:17, Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth,” which verified the importance of being in God’s Word and applying it for growth and increasing our confidence about His promises to us.
I offer this not to segue into the “once saved, always saved” discussions, but as a means to explore the process and progress of sanctification. If during this you see you fall short by God’s Word, then address it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Assurance of heaven – false appearances vs. necessary evidence
Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven like a field with wheat and tares in Matthew 13:24-30 and then explains it in Matthew 13:36-43. Tares appear nearly identical to wheat (see here).
Speaking spiritually, we don’t want to appear to be wheat, we want to be wheat. Just like wheat yields its fruit with maturation, the Christian who is being sanctified should have increasing examples of maturation too. According to one six-paragraph blog on sanctification that is worth reading in full, “Sanctification is a real transformation, not just the appearance of one”
When one surrenders to Jesus as Savior, then there should be real change. Steven Lawson shares, “…you have got to peel back all of the veneers and layers of religiosity and ‘churchianity’ to get down to the live nerve of what it is to be a follower of Christ. And there is a necessary evidence of the new birth, and that’s why 1 John was written.”
Lawson shares nine verses from 1 John to measure the evidence in our lives. He even adds, “If you do not see this evidence in your life, you are not saved. You are self-deceived. You have never been born again.”
That would mean you are a tare telling yourself you are wheat.
Examining yourself with the verses from 1 John allows you to discover if you are in tune with God’s Word, improving, and being sanctified. What are those verses?
Todd Friel of Wretched Radio shares those nine plus an additional verse from 1 John in this 11-minute video Ten point test to know you are a Christian (see here for the 28-minute version). For his commentary beyond the list below, please visit the link to listen. The verses for numbers one through three below were pulled from his longer video.
Considering some resources say reading 1 John takes an average of 16 minutes, why not visit these verses and read the entire book in one sitting?
- Correct Friends and Fellowship – 1 John 1:7.
- Correct Theology – 1 John 1:8.
- Correct Direction – 1 John 2:3.
- Correct Love – 1 John 2:15.
- Correct Courage – 1 John 2:23.
- Correct Longings – 1 John 3:2-3.
- Correct Lifestyle – 1 John 3:8-9.
- Correct Emotions – 1 John 3:14.
- Correct Learning – 1 John 4:6.
- Correct Christology – 1 John 5:1.
Every soul who continues to let God work on his or her heart, no matter how long he or she has been a Christian, is quite something – a new creation under the Son (2 Corinthians 5:17) who is learning to test and prove what pleases the Lord (see Ephesians 5:17, Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:10).
For those wanting peace with God based on His promises in Scripture instead of feelings that may be false, then revisiting the tests above every few months may become a habitual exercise in your growth and assurance.