I am sure that through my faith my sins have been forgiven and I will get into Heaven. However, how can I be sure someone else will be forgiven and allowed in Heaven? Are there any good questions I can ask them to be assured of their own faith?

I would expect actually ask any questions and not try to assume anything from outward appearances. However, I am assuming that when asking the person they are answering honestly.

Also, I imagine asking these questions of someone who may have first approached me and asked how they could be assured they will get into Heaven. Perhaps someone who is first approaching Christianity or a believer who is questioning how they'll get in.

  • Denomination-specific. Catholic answer is that we can be sure for canonized saints. – Pavel Jan 3 '16 at 16:18

The book of 1 John was written for this exact reason.

1 John 5:13 NIV

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Throughout the book of 1 John, the author gives many examples of how people doing things and then he tells us whether or not that person is saved. You can take all of the following tests and measure anybody against them to see which direction that, that person is going in.

Repentance is about you no longer following your own desires, but the desires of Christ for you.

2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Question 1: Do you sin habitually?

1 John 5:18-20 NIV

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

1 John 1:6-76 NIV

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Question 2: Do you occasionally fall short?

1 John 1:8,10 NIV

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

John 8:44 NIV

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Question 3: Do you confess your sins?

Psalm 32:3-6 NIV

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

1 John 1:9 NIV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 2:5 NIV

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Question 4: Do you obey God?

1 John 2:4-5 NIV

The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.

1 John 5:3 NIV

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

2 John 1:6 NIV

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Question 5: Do you bear good fruit?

1 John 2:5-6 NIV

5 This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 6 This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Question 6: Do you love your brothers?

1 John 2:9-11 NIV

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

Question 7: Do you walk in love?

2 John 1:6 NIV

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Question 8: Do you believe in Jesus?

1 John 3:23 NIV

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Question 9: Do you hate the things of this world?

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Question 10: Are you persevering in repentance?

James 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Acts 17:30

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Job 36:10

He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil.

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

Matthew 3:8

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Revelation 2:19

I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

You will know them by their fruit.

And finally, Jesus tells us that we will know them by their fruit. The fruit that I just laid forth for you above.

Mathew 7 NIV

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

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  • These are all things that cannot be externally verified, except by God. Truly monstrous people can and do walk among us without giving any outward appearance that they're anything but wonderful, pious, upstanding members of the community and the church. I know this one from personal experience. I called such a man "dad" for seven years of hell-on-earth, and no one outside my immediate family ever suspected a thing. – Mason Wheeler Aug 25 '11 at 14:49
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    No, I'm telling you that you are taking Matthew 7 out of context. It's speaking specifically of people claiming to be prophets, and how you can judge whether or not this claim, specifically, is true. It says nothing about knowing of a surety whether or not a person is righteous in general. – Mason Wheeler Aug 25 '11 at 14:58
  • These are great questions. I've clarified the question to say I'd actually be asking the question and not just trying to answer them from observations. Also, I would assume the person being questioned was being honest. – a_hardin Aug 25 '11 at 15:03

The Bible teaches that we are not to judge one another - and that includes making positive judgements (X is definitely going to heaven) as well as negative ones (X is damned to hell). So even if we could find some good questions to assure ourselves of someone's salvation, Christianity teaches that it would be incorrect for us to do so.

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    In this same teaching about not judging Jesus also tells us that we will know them by their fruits. In Corinthians we are told to judge those within the church and cast them out into the world for God to judge if they fail our judgement. – Marketing Consultant Aug 25 '11 at 14:51
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    @Jonathon The "by their fruit" passage in Matthew 7 is talking specifically about recognising false prophets - in other words, judging those who claim to be speaking the word of God. That's different from casting judgement on absolutely everybody. – Waggers Aug 25 '11 at 15:04
  • I've updated the question to make it more of a question on how to help someone else recognize how they can be assured they will be accepted into Heaven. – a_hardin Aug 25 '11 at 15:10
  • @a_hardin Good plan, that makes a huge difference – Waggers Aug 26 '11 at 7:27

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