What determines whether we will end up on His right or His left? That answer is given throughout Scripture.
- We must come to a place where we realize that we have broken God’s perfect Law and stand guilty before Him (see Romans 3:23).
- We must realize that God loved us so much that He has offered a way for our sins to be paid for by a Substitute – Jesus (see Romans 5:8).
- We must turn away from (repent) our sin and self-rule. Further, we must turn to Jesus, trusting in Him and what He did on the cross on our behalf (see Acts 20:20-21). This means that we no longer depend upon ourselves to gain God’s approval – that’s impossible. Instead, we depend upon what Jesus did on our behalf to gain God’s approval.
So, if you have done this, how do you know you are saved? It would be nice if Heaven sent down a spiritual birth certificate but that’s not going to happen. So, how do we know we are saved?
If you look in our Bible reading for today, you’ll see that Jesus mentioned behaviors (see Matthew 25:35-36, 42-43). Implied is that those on His right trusted in Him for salvation. But, their changed heart was evidenced by a changed life.
Further, there is a book in the Bible that was written for the sole purpose of giving us the assurance of our salvation. It’s 1 John. In fact, the author makes it clear that this was His purpose:
“I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13).
So, we would expect that as we read 1 John, we will find the necessary information to let us know if we are truly saved. What do we find in the book?
Well, first, we realize that we must trust in Jesus. That’s given in 1 John 5:13. Our journey with Jesus begins as we “believe in the name of the Son of God.”
But, how do we know if we’ve truly believed? What do we find in the book?
If you will take a few minutes to read the five chapters in 1 John, you will see a handful of behaviors mentioned: loving others, refusing to continue in sin, loving God, etc.
These behaviors don’t save us. They simply show that we have been truly saved. They reveal that God has done a work in our hearts – that we have genuinely been born again.
We don’t rest in works to save us. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that it is grace through faith that saves us. Any reliance upon our “good works” to save us sabotages our efforts to be made right in God’s eyes.
Yet, the very next verse (Ephesians 2:10) makes it clear that we were saved for “good works.” It’s a changed life that ultimately reveals that we have legitimately received a changed heart.
And we had better get this right. Why? Because the last verse of Matthew 25 is terrifying. The same word that is used to describe how long we will be in Heaven is used to describe how long the unsaved will be in Hell.
Matthew 25:46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
If you have never given your life to Jesus, trusting in what He did on the cross for you, then why not do that today? It is by far the most important decision you will ever make in your entire life. Your eternity rests on it.