My study of the Old Testament moral law revealed to me that I was not a good person, but it was when I opened the book of 1 John, took a pen and underlined every sign of a true convert that I realized I did not meet even half of them. To my dismay, I recognized myself as a false convert.
First John 5:13 tells why the book of 1 John was written: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life" (emphasis mine).
Here are 1 John's ten signs of a true convert (you might want to compare yourself to make sure you're where you think you are):
1. A true convert admits he or she is a sinner. He does not believe he can go to heaven by being a "good" person. She understands her own totally depravity. (1 John 1:8)
2. A true convert lives a life of obedience by keeping God's commandments more often than breaking them. A true convert is not a habitual sinner. There's a difference between stumbling into sin and jumping in with both feet. While true converts continue to sin as part of the struggle with our sin nature, the life of a true convert is marked by a desire to pursue holiness and walk in obedience to God's Word. (1 John 2:3-6, 3:6, 5:2)
3. A true convert does not harbor hate for his brother but displays forgiveness, love, and compassion. (1 John 2:9, 2:11, 3:15, 4:16, 4:20)
4. A true convert does not love the world or the things of the world, nor the world's system of evil, ruled by Satan. (1 John 2:15)
5. A true convert proclaims Jesus Christ as the Son of God and defends the exclusivity of Christ in a world of multiple religious systems. (1 John 4:15)
6. A true convert hopes and longs for the return of the Lord. (1 John 3:2-3)
7. A true convert desires to serve and help other Christians. (1 John 3:17, 3:14)
8. A true convert loves being with other believers and hearing the Word taught. (1 John 5:1)
9. A true convert rejects false teaching. (1 John 2:22-23)
10. A true convert remains in the truth and perseveres in the faith. (1 John 2:24)