How can I tell if someone is a true believer?

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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About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
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One Response to How can I tell if someone is a true believer?

  1. Todd McAllister says:

    Good Morning Steve, This is an excellent summary. Are you aware of the one page document that Pastor Paul had developed when he was still on staff? I actually just used it last evening with a group of younger guys. Perhaps we should develop something that would be handed out during the summer elective. It could be a homework assignment type of thing. It could be handed in with the pre-membership application. In the elder meeting we had discussed that the need for baptism as a requirement for membership should be emphasized in the summer elective and have them sign up for the fall baptism. We have 3 people, who are coming into membership, that are planning to be baptized this spring, because they missed the fall opportunity.

    Thank you for your careful thinking in these crucial areas. Todd

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