It is my desire in this set of posts to differentiate between the Christian who possesses the living God and is possessed by Him from the person who professes to know Him but at the last judgment will hear those awful words, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)
During the following posts, we will take a jog through the book of Romans and learn the distinguishing marks of the authentic Christian. Anyone can proclaim themselves to be saved but the only saved people are those whom God says they belong to Christ.
Let us begin our quest for the evidence that points to a person’s salvation by understanding the purpose of the book of Romans. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:16, 17)
Paul begins the announcement of his purpose for writing his diatribe by proclaiming that he is not ashamed of the Gospel. The word Gospel means good news, unfortunately, there is only good news to those who are willing to admit they are lost and are need of saving. Therefore, the first evidence of salvation goes to those who acknowledge their condition as sinful.
Let us then understand what it means to be sinful. Paul explains, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Ro. 1:21) Paul when speaking about the plight of mankind said that men know God, that is, know Him by reason. Reason says the first cause of all things is God. So when your child asks you, Daddy, where did everything come from? You can, by reason, say, God created all things from nothing. He is the first cause of all things. Any other belief about origins is pure nonsense.
The first evidence that there is no salvation abiding in a person is if that person believes there is no God or he believes in a false god created in his own imagination. Man is made by God, therefore, he must honor Him as God and give thanks for being created; the unsaved do neither. As a result, their sinful heart is darkened. As a result of the darkness that lives within, men create wild and fanciful stories we know as world religions.
Romans 1:17 tells us that the righteous man shall live by faith. The faith Paul was speaking of accepts the teaches of Romans. The man who places his faith in Christ for salvation may not know all the teachings initially, but as he becomes aware of them he will accept them as true. The first evidence of salvation is the belief in God’s word. Such belief is not a merely intellectual understanding but a wholehearted acceptance that what God has said as written in the Bible is true.