Are we obligated to accept a person’s profession of faith because he tells us his story of salvation?
Is it right to expect certain behaviors, attitudes and actions from people who profess to believe in Christ? Is believing more than holding correct thoughts about God and Jesus?
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly (ἀληθῶς) my disciples if you remain faithful (μείνητε) to my teachings.’” (John 8:31 NLT).
This question is important to me on a number of levels.
1. Counseling: In counseling others, I am often trying to understand why an individual displays consistent patterns of thought and behavior contrary to God’s will. How can I hold someone accountable for ways of thinking and behaviors produced by the Spirit of God if he has never truly come to faith in Christ? When I do not see, for example, evidence of a conflict like the one described in Galatians 5:17, I want to know if the individual has been genuinely converted to Christ.
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