Here is the most common test Baptist people use for salvation. They point to a time in their past when they prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or talked with a pastor or were baptized. They look back to that historical event and rely on that memory to confirm their salvation.
A pastor tells this story; I will never forget one night when I was called out to talk with a suicidal young man. He had become an alcoholic. His wife had left him. He was in a deep dark depression. He had a gun beside him and was at least half drunk when I talked with him. I turned the conversation to the Lord.
When I began to tell him that God could forgive him and restore him, he said, “Hey, I know I’m saved.” When I asked him how he knew, he began to describe a moment when he was six. He had walked an aisle and repeated a prayer with a pastor. From that point on, even though he lived a life in total rebellion to God, he was convinced that he was saved. In fact, as I probed deeper, he became angry with me for questioning the validity of that experience.
A person who had an experience years ago but lives in rebellion is not saved. His faith is dead! At least, this is clearly what today’s verse states.
I know that I am saved because of what God is doing in my life right now. Salvation is not a past tense experience; it is an ongoing relationship. I promise you that hell is filled with people who have walked an aisle and mouthed a prayer.
The question is not what you believed then but what you are right now.