The Sign of a True Christian Is a Changed Life

Q: My sister supposedly gave her life to Jesus when she was 8, but you'd never know it now. Will she go to heaven anyway, in spite of the way she's turned her back on everything Christian? -- Mrs. W.H.

A: Only God knows your sister's heart, and whether or not she honestly gave her life to Christ when she was young, and a remnant of faith still remains in her. No Christian is perfect, of course -- but some day her true relationship with Christ will be revealed. The Bible warns, "Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

Nevertheless, you're right to be concerned about her behavior, because one of the signs of a true Christian is a changed life. In fact, if there is no indication that a person wants to follow Christ, it's a sign that they may not be saved. The Bible compares a person like this to a corpse -- physically present, but lifeless. It says, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26).

What can you do? First, pray for her. Pray that God will convict her of her godless ways, and will convince her of her need for Christ's forgiveness and new life. Then ask God to give you an opportunity to confront her about the way she's living -- not harshly or judgmentally, but with love and compassion. Let her know you care for her, and don't want her to miss being with Christ (and with you) in heaven.

Most of all, ask God to make you a witness by the way you live. She may argue with what you say, but she can't argue with the reality of a life that reflects Christ's joy and peace.

Affectionately known as the "World's Preacher" for more than 60 years, the Rev. Billy Graham is one of the most influential and respected spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He has been a friend and spiritual advisor to ten American presidents and has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history - nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories - through various meetings. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

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