I don’t want a hypothetical faith.
If something is hypothetical, it is based on a hypothesis, a theory. It is presumed. It may or may not be reality. Since we are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we cannot leave the question of whether we truly have saving faith up to a hypothesis, an “I believe I believe.”
So, how do you know if you truly believe?
Acknowledgement of or agreement with doctrine is not the same thing as saving faith. You can say you believe X, Y and Z about God but if your actions do not align with what you are saying, do you really believe?
German theologian Dietrick Bonhoeffer wrote in “The Cost of Discipleship” said:
Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.
In sum, you know you believe when you obey. There should be evidence of your faith. True saving faith is transforming. You do not obey Jesus in theory but your lifestyle begins to reflect that. You obey Him in actuality because You believe.
James writes that faith apart from works is dead (James 2:26). He responds to those who claim it is possible to claim faith yet not demonstrate any transformation.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18)
We are not saved by our works, we are saved by faith in Christ alone. But how do you know you have faith? When you are living in obedience.