A Question I Was Asked:

How Can We Be Sure If One Truly "Knows Jesus"?

"This may be a very elementary question, but is it possible for someone who claims to be a life long Christian, to actually be converted and saved but show virtually no interest in God, Jesus, what the Bible says, and by choice, never go to church?"

UK Apologetics Reply:

Far from being " a very elementary question," (as you put it), this, I would suggest, is a very deep question, moreover, it is one which I have never received before!

I will just start out by looking at the last part of your question; I have become convinced that some very true Christians do not - out of choice - go to church at all; they have just witnessed too much arguing, bickering, self-righteousness and back-biting in 'church,' yet they pray, they love the Lord Jesus and the fruits of their lives reveal that they are God's people. I think that my problem, would be in the idea that such people could have "virtually no interest in God, or Jesus..." as you put it. Yet, even there, we know that some will be saved who knew nothing of Jesus during their lifetimes (the saved of the Old Testament, for instance). Those are some of my first thoughts but it is necessary to go a lot deeper.

The person you are considering (I presume that you could have somebody specific in mind), apparently claims to be "a life-long Christian." Firstly, one must consider whether that is just a boastful statement without any true substance. A Christian, after all, would:
a. Believe - without any reservation - that Jesus is - uniquely - the true Son of God and the Saviour of the world (if that is rejected, such a person is kidding themself, that is, that he or she is truly in the Faith).
b. But a true believer (living in a time and place where the Scriptures might be accessed) would also wish to study to show themself approved to God:

'Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.' (2 Timothy 2:15. New International Version throughout).

Now, for sure, some are great 'studiers' and others are not and it is not always the great Bible students who are the most Godly people, yet, we have an immediate problem here. The Holy Bible is the only divinely-approved and, indeed, divinely-inspired 'maker's manual' which reveals how a Creator God who created men and women would have those men and women behave upon this planet! Yet the suggestion is that our real or imagined individual would have "no interest" in this incredible document! To my mind, if a truly divinely-accepted believer lives at such a time and place in which the divine Scriptures may be accessed, it is unthinkable that such a person - who would obviously have been led by the Holy Spirit to this point - would have no interest in those Scriptures - or even in Jesus their Saviour!

To not want to attend church is less of a problem. In many countries Christians cannot attend church anyway, it is just too difficult, too dangerous (especially in the Islamic world), or maybe the transport is too expensive, but they will still be, of course, true Spirit-led children of God. Many of them are still able to have strong prayer lives and to study the Scriptures within their own families. Indeed, even here in the West, thousands have now dropped out of attending church services in the wake of such horrors as the charismatic movement, the 'health, wealth and prosperity gospel,' unbridled liberalism, the plain greed and misappropriation of the Scriptures by numerous so-called 'pastors' and 'evangelists,' and much else. It is a simple fact that a growing number of honest and conscientious Christians feel that they can no longer support any particular local church congregation here in the UK (and I am reliably informed that the situation is very similar in many parts of the States).

Yet - by choice - we should all wish to meet with other Christians where that is possible.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25).

But sometimes that is not possible. One should not attend 'a place of worship' where one clearly recognises that the Scripture is being undermined/compromised for,

.....everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23b).

So there is probably no final and definitive answer to this question. Literally, only God knows His own. Without a doubt, He will set His hand to save probably very many who had a very imperfect knowledge of Him during their earthly lives. Having stated that, I do have a problem with the idea that one who lived in a time and place where the Name of Jesus was known, had "no interest" in Jesus or God during their lives. There is a possibility, however, that some such individuals may only have had access to a religious system which frankly perverted divine teaching and this caused their lack of interest. For sure, there is a kind of naive evangelistic approach out there which goes well beyond the Scripture when it attempts to neatly separate the "saved" from the 'unsaved,' or the "reprobates," according to humanly dictated guidelines such as those found in Calvinism.

Some of these matters are in God's power alone and we cannot give a definitive answer but we can rest assured that Almighty God will save His own.
Robin A. Brace. June 21st, 2010.