Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
Many call themselves a “Christian” solely by external actions. They see a higher morality, church attendance, and good deeds as their ticket into heaven. Yet these things DO NOT prove or disprove saving faith. Religiosity is not a discernment tool for proof of saving faith, as we see what Jesus told the Pharisees who were probably the most pious, moral, and religious sect to walk the earth.
It is the INTERNAL workings from God which will prove whether one has been saved. By this, it means God has done His regenerating work on the sinner’s heart. He makes what is called a “new creation”. Many have this idea that it takes will power to enact faith, repentance, charity, etc, but as a new creation these things are done now NATURALLY. One who has not been saved will view these things as unnatural, thus they need to employ a will power and strive to endure through them. Many fall away after a season or so of doing so. Jesus called these sinners “tares” or “weeds” which will be thrown into the fire.
Tares are also described in Matthew 7:21-23 where many will call Jesus “Lord Lord”, they will declare all these miracles and works they did in His name, yet He will say “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you”. They exhibited external religiosity only, their internal spiritual working remained self indulgent and evil.
To examine yourself if you are in the saving faith, ask yourself if you are doing things for God naturally because you have been saved or doing things because you want to be saved. If the latter, you have not been saved. Every world religion will preach the false gospel of human achievement, a cooperation with God. They teach that the sinner must EARN their way to heaven which nullifies every bit of God’s grace. Some like Roman Catholics pervert even this grace by saying God is giving them “grace” to earn their way to salvation.
Quite simply, if God has changed your internals, your externals will NATURALLY follow. You aren’t employing a self righteous will power, it is just who you now are. You aren’t into the pomp and circumstance of rituals, and you realize grace cannot be earned. Repentance is natural, you are convicted of sin and now turn away from not to please God, but because God has given you this gift. Your faith alone is in your Savior Jesus Christ, again because God granted you this gift. You are done arguing with God, done setting terms to Him as to who He can save and who He cannot. All that superstition and questioning God in unbelief from your former life is vanquished! All doubt has been removed. The love of God is shown by your love for others and by this you are willing to share the Good News of Jesus Christ without a condition or a cost.