Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil.
—1 John 3:7-8
Certain signs indicate to us that someone has truly been born again. The first sign is victory over areas of habitual sin: “Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God” (1 John 3:9). True conversion does not mean sinless perfection. Rather, it means that a person has forsaken the habitual sins that once enslaved him.
The second sign of true conversion is love for one’s brothers: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead” (v. 14). When we come to Christ, gone are all attitudes of hatred and prejudice.
The third sign of genuine conversion is generosity. Giving is directly connected to love, because love always manifests itself in giving. First John 3:17 tells us, “But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help—how can God’s love be in that person?” A hilarious, cheerful, sharing spirit is physical evidence of the new birth.
A final sign of the new birth is confidence before God for the things requested in prayer (vv. 21-22). The believer does not display a shy, hesitant faith, but a bold, confident position in grace.
Follow these four signs—they are sure to lead you to true believers!