Unfortunately, the sad reality is that many of those who call themselves Christian are not truly born again or saved. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven
"(see Matthew 7:21-23). The Bible exhorts, Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves
(2 Corinthians 13:5), and make your calling and election sure
So how can we have assurance of our salvation? To begin, one important question for us to consider is, Why did I choose to become a Christian? This is important because those who are false Christians have one thing in common, namely, they all have wrong motives for serving Christ. If we take upon ourselves the name Christian for the wrong reason we will be seriously and sadly deceived. So lets consider three types of false Christians and their wrongful motives;
Firstly, some people take on the name Christian in order to get something physical, emotional, or material from God. They might be going through a tough situation, such as a health complication, financial issues, a problem in a relationship, feelings of loneliness or depression, etc. They think that by becoming a Christian they can earn Gods favor and that He will then be obligated to fix their problems. While it is true that God often uses such trials to get our attention, His main concern is not to fix our physical, emotional or material problems here on earth. His main concern is that we would consider seriously our sins against Him and get right with Him through repentance and faith in Christ. His main concern is to make us holy and fit for His kingdom.
Secondly, some people take on the name Christian merely to escape the damnation of hell and earn a place in heaven. They too only want to get something from God for themselves and do not really care about the honor and worship that God so rightfully deserves. They do not serve God out of love and honor but purely out of fear.
And thirdly, some people take on the name Christian only to appear righteous or religious before others. They desire to be seen as respectable, devoted, or religious in the eyes of others. These kinds of false Christians may or may not be very involved in a church. They may or may not be very zealous in their religious practices. Their seeming devotion is all for a show and not for the honor and glory of God.
So what is the right motive for coming to Christ? The Bible clearly declares that we must come to Christ because of the dilemma of our sins against a holy God (see John 3:19; Romans 1:18). What God requires from us are two things that must go together, namely, true repentance and true faith in Christ. So lets consider those two briefly.
True repentance is being sorry and inwardly broken over your sins against God. It means that you realize how wicked and rebellious you have been toward God after all the goodness He has showered on you during your lifetime. It means that you stop justifying your sinful ways before Him and confess your wickedness to Him. And it means that you are determined with all of your heart that you will turn away from your old sinful way of living and surrender your life over to Him. Jesus said, Unless you repent you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:5; see also Acts 3:19).
True faith in Christ has to do with placing all of our trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone for our salvation, and not in ourselves or anything that we do. It means that we look to the cross of Christ as the only grounds upon which God can legally make us right with Himself. We must fully believe that Christ took our judgment and punishment upon Himself and rose again on the third day. The Bible declares that it is by Gods grace that we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Romans 5:6-8).
As soon as we repent and trust in Christ we become born again as Jesus described in John 3:5-7. That means that God changes our hearts and we begin to have new desires to please God in all that we say and do. We begin to desire to please Him because He alone is worthy of our worship and praise and thanksgiving. Our main motives for serving Christ are heartfelt gratitude for His amazing love toward us, and a healthy reverence of Him in light of His awesome, all-consuming holiness. We begin to walk humbly before Him and obey His Word. That does not mean that we become perfect while here on earth. But it does mean that we begin to grow more and more into the likeness of Christ as we forsake all known sin in our lives and keep His commandments.