Question: My neighbor says he is a Christian, but I don’t see any fruit in his life. Is he really saved?

Answer: Some profess Christ but do not “go on” with the Lord. There are three reasons why this happens:

  1. Some are not saved. They know the language but not the Lord. They have never trusted Christ as Savior.
  2. Some are not followed-up. In other words, they have never been taught how to grow as a Christian. They’ve been taught how to enter the Christian life. They have not been taught how to live it.
  3. Christians are saved sinners. Christians may be saved but, just as disobedient children, they make mistakes, get away from the Lord, and do things that dishonor Christ.

It is not our job to determine where a person is. It is our job to help them to determine where they are.

For that reason, it is helpful to lovingly and honestly say to one who professes to be a Christian but is not living as he should, “It’s possible that you have never understood the simple plan of salvation and put your trust in Christ. Or it’s possible you may have trusted Christ but you are simply not growing, or as a believer you’ve gotten away from the Lord. Where do you think you are?”

With that loving and honest approach, individuals will sometimes confess where they are and then you can deal with them accordingly. Keep in mind that if they are not being honest with you, the only ones they are hurting are themselves.

(Note: This article originally appeared in EvanTell's 2012 Spring issue of Toolbox. View our Toolbox archives!)