12 “Signs” of an Authentic Christian

Different colored traffic signs

Throughout my ministry, countless people have approached me, questioning their salvation. When people come to me with doubts, I always take them through 1 John.

1 John 5:13 states, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” This Scripture was written to the early church (and to you and me) as an assurance and a warning. It was written to Christians so they might “know for certain they have eternal life.” On the other hand, it was written as a warning for those who were only going through the motions. Twelve signs of an authentic Christian:

1st Sign: (1 John 1:1-4) You have encounters with Christ.

This encounter is real, personal, and life changing. Authentic Christianity is not a one-time occurrence in the past but a living, growing, genuine, and authentic relationship with the Lord.

2nd Sign: (1:5-6; 2:3-4; 2:29-3:8; 4:7-21) You walk in righteousness. 

You are not perfect. However, your overall life is not one of sinfulness; you are striving to be like Christ. When you fall, you are broken over and confess this sin. A false believer will be able to enjoy their sinful lifestyle. 

3rd Sign: (1:7) You fellowship with other believers.

Believers will desire fellowship (which includes corporate worship) with other believers. If you do not like being around Christians, then you have a spiritual problem and need to evaluate your relationship with Christ. 

4th Sign (1:8-10): You acknowledge that you are a sinner and totally dependent upon Christ.

True believers acknowledge they are sinners in the need of grace. As a result, believers regularly confess their sins and rejoice over His forgiveness. 

5th Sign: (2:9-10; 3:11-15) You love others. 

You cannot be a Christian if you hate others. Christ, who lives in a believer, causes us to love others (especially those who belong to Him). 

6th Sign: (2:15-17) You love God instead of the things of this world. 

Love for the world and the Father cannot co-exist. The sinful world stands in opposition to the Lord. 

7th Sign: (2:18-19; 5:4-5) You persevere until the end. 

In the time of John, some professing believers left the faith in the midst of difficulty and persecution. They loved their jobs, money, family, and their own lives more than they loved Christ. Believers will persevere until the end (see Phil 1:6). 

8th Sign (2:23-25; 5:1) You will acknowledge that Christ is the only way. 

Believers have a new heart and realize that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The only way a human can come to God is through Jesus Christ. 

9th Sign: (3:16-19) You are generous with possessions, especially with brothers. 

I am concerned for the multitude of professing Christians in rich America who claim to have a relationship with Christ but are stingy with the money God has given them. 

10th Sign: (3:24) You are Spirit filled.

A Christian has peace in times of difficulty. You have boldness in times of fear. You desire to be like Christ, and so forth. Even when your life is shaken, the fruit of the Spirit overflows from your life (see Galatians 3:22-23). This does not mean you will not have normal emotions, but it does mean that Christ’s peace will be seen in you.

11th Sign: (4:5-6) You enjoy and listen to the Word of God. 

How can we listen to John and the apostles? By listening to the words God inspired them to write. A Christian wants to learn about God by reading and studying the Word. 

12th Sign: (4:7-10; 5:10) You have repented from your sin, accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, and therefore have a testimony. 

An authentic believer has repented and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be a change in his or her life. In sum, you have a story, a story of how Christ is in the process of making you into the image of His only Son. 

I have found these twelve signs to be helpful in my ministry. I hope they can help you assure some and warn others for the glory of Christ!

This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.