3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6
You don’t join a cult or culture or civic group, or church for that matter, when you become a Christian, you join Christ, or better, he joins you. It’s not a fleeting choice that fades with time, but a life-altering conversion of mind, body, soul and spirit. He inhabits you, taking up residence, putting down permanent stakes. From that moment on, you are a new man or woman.
What causes doubt (a lack of assurance) that this has occurred is sin. Deep inside though, if there is an unsettling due to this sin, a sense that all is not right, or if you knew the right thing to do and did not do it, that very yearning to make things right is assurance that you’re his.
His commandments would require that you confess your sin, and this you do. He replies, “as far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sin from you… for I am faithful and righteous to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” (Ps. 103:12, 1 John 1:9) Then we move on.
No unsaved person has this process going on in his or her life. And as we learn more and more about him, and gladly relinquish more and more of our lives to him, this process becomes like breathing.
But there’s always the underlying debate whether this person or that person is saved. When you run up on someone who’s suffered some trauma, you check if they’re breathing. You check if they’ve got a pulse. Those who are truly saved start breathing immediately and will continue until the Lord takes their last breath, and a desire to please Him pulses in their veins. The change should be unmistakable and perpetual.
You can break free from a cult and drop out of a culture and resign from a civic group and stop attending a church, but you can’t undo what God has done in your life.