The Church of Jesus Christ is comprised of sinners who have repented of their sins and found, by God's grace, shelter in at the feet of Jesus, sinners who through acknowledging their brokenness and their need for redemption, were justified by their faith in the sacrifice of Christ and its power to cleanse us and make us righteous before God.
Yet having confessed Christ Jesus as Lord and savior and assisting regularly to church services and activities, even being active in other areas of service does not fully determine a person's spiritual condition and final dwelling.
The Bible is very clear about who has been truly redeemed, whose name is written in the book of life, who truly belongs to Christ, yet somehow this seems to be an elusive doctrine to the redeemed. And while there should be no confusion at all, millions of churchgoers are deceived about their salvation, and many others live in doubt about their true condition in Christ.
Justification by faith is taught by Jesus and by every one of the writers of the New Testament, and so is also sanctification. And these two doctrines are intertwined, they are attached to each other and together reveal a significant truth about true salvation.
The parable of the banquet on Matthew 22:1-14 is one of those occasions in which Jesus clearly teach who belongs In heaven and who doesn't, in this parable we notice how those who were originally invited and rejected the invitation are left out, these are the natural heirs of the promise, and the doors are open to everyone else "both good and bad" these are the spiritual heirs of Abraham's promise. Jesus is telling us that the original invited guests, the Israelites who rejected the invitation are being left out, and under the new covenant the new guests, the gentiles and Israelites who accepted the invitation are being welcomed. Yet among those at the wedding there are some who have no wedding clothes, those who have accepted the invitation but rejected the conditions of the wedding. These are also being rejected by God.
Romans 3:21-26 thoroughly explains the Doctrine of Justification by faith, and help us understand that everyone who believe is justified, made righteous by God through Christ. However, the understanding of the word believe in this statement is of great importance to understand who is really being justified, for believing is not just an assent of a statement but a transforming conviction which brings repentance and causes a radical change in the life of a person. The Believe stated in every one of Jesus words through the gospels is a profound restructuring of an individual's world view, and a complete renewal of his or her nature caused by the works of the Holy Spirit in his or her life. This believe causes a complete change of mind, which leaves no room for looking back to the old life, and it generates a whole new set of desires and motives or one's existence.
The specific word used by Jesus is born again, for this is exactly what takes place both physically and spiritually when this conviction invades our body.
So justification by faith leaves obvious marks which are remarkably evident. It is impossible for the redeemed to be the same person once repentance and redemption has taken place, so if there's no evidence of change there's no repentance, and there's no redemption.
Now, a person may not necessarily feel these changes in him or herself immediately, although there will be a new set of desires and conscious rejection of old things; but to others the changes will be obvious.
The doctrine of Sanctification is also taught by Jesus in many of His teachings and parables, in Matthew 6:19-24 He speaks of accumulating treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy; He tells us the eyes are the lamp of the body, and that is better to lose an arm than to end up with both arms in hell.
The Bible teaches us in James 2:14-26 that a faith which is not active is a dead faith, and that the only valid faith is that which is evident through works of love and compassion, and continuous commitment and closeness to God.
Paul tells us: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed; not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence; continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
While some cases are obvious, only God knows those who are saved and those who are not, yet each individual can know whether he belongs to God or not, for God will know leave us in darkness if we cry to him to search our hearts and show us the fault that may be hindering us form perfect communion with Him, many who call themselves Christians prefer to live in self-deception, than to give up their life style; They are living the sad deception of the young rich who came to see Jesus, desiring to secure a place in heaven, but holding on to their idols.
God does not share His glory with anyone, we either submit to Him truly and fully, or we live in rebellion, giving Him lip service and deceiving ourselves about our true condition. If you have any doubts today, ask Him to cleanse you and to make you anew, if you are sincere, He will give you assurance of His love and evidence of your salvation.
There's no room for half Christians in heaven