He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.John 3:36
If you were in a room with about fifty fellow believers and a man entered the room waving an automatic weapon around, what would your reaction be?
Would your reaction be the same as the other believers in the room?
What does it mean if everyone reacted differently?
The truth is that there could be fifty different reactions to the danger which would display varying levels of belief and trust in Jesus Christ. Does this mean that some are true believers and others false because of how they reacted?
The answer is no.
Just like each person grows physically at varying rates so is the spiritual growth of God’s children. We may not be able to form the thoughts that another believer has regarding their hope in Christ, but that does not mean we are lost because our testimony does not match up.
Consider Paul’s conversation with King Agrippa:
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.Acts 26:24-29
Festus shows himself an obvious unbeliever but Agrippa is a different story. Paul had preached about Jesus using the prophets. The Apostle then testifies of the evidence he saw in Agrippa. Paul saw that Agrippa believed the prophets. However, Agrippa was not ready to make a full commitment. He does not say he does not believe. Agrippa says that he is hesitant to follow fully.
Many would grab a hold of this statement by Agrippa and condemn him to hell for his lack of faith, but we should be VERY careful jumping to that conclusion.
The example given above shows that our beliefs will manifest differently from believer to believer. Also, have there not been times when each of us was hesitant to devote ourselves FULLY to the will and purpose of God for our lives?
The new birth is a single act performed by the Spirit of God on each child of God. However, conversion is an ongoing process in our growth in practical sanctification. Agrippa was converted on some points but not all. This does not mean he was lost for he did show evidence of life. Agrippa was not fully convinced on the matter. Therefore, his assurance of salvation would not be as strong.