John 8:30-32 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Verse 30 says that many believed in Him, and it is to those people who believed in Him that Jesus is speaking. To them, He says that some of them are truly believers and some of them are not. What separates the true from the false is abiding in His Word. Here we would be wise to note a difference … That of one who is a disciple and that of another who is a disciple indeed. Indeed means, “Without any question,” in other words a disciple who is undeniably a disciple. The evidence of their life points to it.
Well, what evidence? The evidence of deeds; works that indicate you are of Christ. You see, one can be a follower yet not be a “disciple-in-deed.” Jesus said, referring to those who are false:
Matthew 7:16 You will know them by their fruits.
There are certain things that differentiate between believers and non-believers …
Fellowship with Christ and with other believers … Not necessarily always in a church setting but definitely not excluding a church setting. The book of Hebrews exhorts us to maintain regular assembly with other believers in a church setting. Even though we broadcast our services and record them, I grow concerned about those who may choose to remain home rather than desire to be in the presence of other believers, worshipping God together.
Would other people say you walk in light? If your friends would be shocked to find out you are a Christian, then you are probably not walking in the light. That is unless you have only recently received Jesus, in which case many of your previous habits should be changing. The life of a Christian should indicate that they love God rather than the world.
When you mess up, do you confess that to Jesus? It would probably surprise many Christians to find out that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to excuse sin, but to atone for sin. 1 John 1:8 says that we should confess our sins, not to a priest, but to Jesus.
Do you desire to live a pure life? A desire for holiness is the work of renewal that takes place in all who receive Jesus. Because we know that there are better things in Christ we should prefer to set aside what is without spiritual profit and unholy for what is pure and holy. I once saw a bull that had left a huge pasture of green grass and crossed the road to eat out of a nasty dumpster. Romans 12 talks about not being conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind. That is a work of the Holy Spirit in your life as He will convict you of righteousness and because you desire the better things of Christ you will lay unrighteousness aside.
Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? Do you look to your brothers and sisters in Christ and want the best for them? Do you desire to serve them as Christ demonstrated?
Do you “walk the walk” instead of just “talking the talk?” Don’t be someone who is all amen and hallelujah in church yet cussing like a sailor outside of church. Nobody is fooled by that, especially not Jesus.
These are just a few of the evidences of faith and you can find more by reading the epistle of 1 John.
It’s important that we understand that as Ephesians 2 says, we are not saved by works but by grace through faith, yet the reality of our salvation is expressed through works, and genuine saving faith will always be expressed by works. Please note that Jesus never draws a distinction between those who are His disciples and those who are not according to such physical things as outward appearance, keeping the Sabbath, circumcision, heritage or genealogy.
It bothers me when I hear people use the phrase “True Believer” when referring to themselves because they are this, or they do this or that, and others don’t do it. You see, someone who is a disciple in-deed doesn’t have to make that distinction about himself because Jesus makes that distinction for him. Anything beyond that is pride.