A non-Christian is spiritually dead. Dead people don’t feel or see, for they are dead. Their spiritual nerves do not feel the prick of sin, and their deadened eyes do not see the sin in others. They continue to sin, and do not feel or see its effect. Therefore they think they are just fine. It is similar to leprosy. Leprosy deadens the feeling in people’s bodies; therefore they continue to do something to their ultimate harm because they didn’t feel the discomfort that signals their brain to stop.
Christians, on the other hand, are spiritually alive. This means that they have been awakened to the fact of their wretchedness and have therefore cried out to Jesus to save them. They are sin sensitive. Therefore, whenever a Christian sins against God, they feel the prick. This causes them to confess their sin, and praise God for the forgiveness only found in Christ. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him.” It is because we are aware of our remaining unholiness that we start to question whether we are saved or not.
These two problems of false conversions and lack of assurance are one of the reasons why the book 1 John was written. If you have not read it, I encourage you to do so.
To begin, Verse 8 of 1 John 1 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” If you claim to be a Christian and base that claim on “being a good person.” Then you are effectively saying that you have no sin. This is a lie of Satan, for at the core of being a Christian is the deep understanding that we deserve Hell, but we have been freely given Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. If you do not feel the weight of your ongoing sinfulness, then I would encourage you to examine your standing before God.
Next, in 1 John 2:4-6 it says, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
You may think this is the opposite of what I just said, but it is not. It coincides well. For when a non-Christian sins, he does not feel the prick, therefore he continues in his sinful ways and therefore does not keep God’s Word. The ongoing practice of sin is evidence that he is not in Christ. However, when a true-Christian feels a prick from sin he repents, for he does not want to be outside of God’s will and therefore he gets in line with God’s will as declared in God’s Word.
For those who call themselves Christians and willingly reject clear Biblical teaching and choose to live in opposition, or support living in opposition, this is evidence that they are not born again, but that they are still dead in their trespasses. However, for those who allow God’s Word to mold their thinking and their behavior, this is evidence that they are born again.
So in summary, if you think you are doing just fine for you are a “good person”, then I would encourage you to consider your salvation. However, if you instead recognize how unholy you are and you desire to live in accordance to God’s Word, then rejoice for this is evidence that God is in the process of completing his work in you to make you like His Son.