Romans 1:4b-6 (ESV)
“…Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ…”
Faith was never intended to be separate from obedience. Although many people who call themselves “Christians” live believing this, Paul thought differently, because everything he wrote was guided and given to Him by God. This is because real faith produces action. Which leads us to this question: who are you going to believe, Jesus or yourself?
Augustine (a Church father) wrote this:
“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
The gospel (the good news about Jesus) and the Christian life are about being totally committed to Christ. One sign you can be sure that you are saved is examining your life: am I convicted of my sin more than before I knew Christ? Do I hunger after God’s word? Is Jesus and His word important to me, or an extra part of being a Christian that I don’t really need? After all you already have a ticket to heaven? Wrong.
Salvation implies that you live differently now because you know where you are going in the future. If you’re saved from being sent to an eternal Hell (and living a life that reveals a Hell-worthy existence) then when Christ pierces your heart with arrows of conviction and saves you, won’t you live differently? Heaven is not heaven because it’s a place of happiness, its heaven because only God can complete it.
Therefore, if you don’t know God, heaven won’t be for you. So, do you really know Christ? After all, He says, “a good tree cannot produce bad fruit.” Although we still have a sinful nature, God’s in control. If you claim to know Him, where are the signs? When you plant an apple seed, you won’t see results at first glance, but after a month you should start seeing the tree grow. Where’s your growth, in Christ or a love for the things of this world?