Recently, Lu posted on our comment page, with regard to my posting about the passing of my brother, whom I do not believe was a Christian:
Doug, aren't there quite a few Bible passages that say not to try to figure out who's saved and who's not, because 1) it's not your job 2) you're not very good at it?
I’m sorry, Lu, but that misses the mark a bit.
“15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
18Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 2:15-24
Here John delineates-draws a line, separating Christian from non-believer. He mentions that they know the truth, because the have the anointing of the Holy One (v. 20)
23This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. 1 John 3:23-24
Again, each believer knows that he belongs to God; His Spirit indwells us. And we also are given a gift of spiritual discernment:
“8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:8-11
With the distinguishing of spirits, we are blessed with insight-in these corruptible bodies we do not yet see or know perfectly-but the Spirit within us does help us to distinguish between the saved and unsaved. And it is important to be able to do so:
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:1-6
We adhere to right doctrine by being spiritually discerning as to whether a teaching or doctrine is true or false. It is just as important to reject false doctrine. And false brethren. And that discernment comes from the Spirit of God.