The question today is important: Are you a Christian? Paul instructed the church at Corinth to…
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)
This is an extremely important question, and in a previous post, I offered one way of examining yourself, and now I offer an even better one. This test also arises from 2 Corinthians, and while the previous test was a question of works, this test is a question of trust. In short, do you trust that the following verse is true for you…
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Here is what Paul means: When Jesus went to the cross, Paul says that God the Father made His Son to be sin for us. This is not saying that Jesus became a sinner, but that he took on our sin. Every thing you and I ever did wrong, Jesus took on Himself and was punished in our place. This is the “gospel”, which means good news. And it is extremely good news because it means we are no longer held guilty because of our sin. Jesus substituted Himself.
But there is a second half of this truth. It is not only that we are to trust that He took our sin on Himself, but also that He gives us His righteousness. This is the part of Christianity that even some Christians do not understand. It is glorious that we are forgiven for our sin, but that would just leave us “not sinners.” No, even better, at the cross, Jesus does more than erase our sins; He also passes on His righteousness to us. We “become the righteousness of God.” This means that all the positive things that Jesus did in His life get credited to our account.
So not only are we forgiven, but we are also perfect in righteousness. So when the Father looks at us, he not only sees people who have not sinned, but He also sees people who have actively obeyed Him perfectly and He therefore can say that He loves us like He loves His very own Son.
If I may say so, that’s glorious. And this truth is also meant to be the fountain of joy and life for the believer.
So…do you believe that Jesus took your place of punishment on the cross? And do you believe that He has therefore given you His righteousness? If so, then you are a Christian. This trust or belief is the great test to examine yourself with, and it also explains why the first test of whether you are living an obedient Christian life also works, because everyone who truly believes that Jesus has done this for them is also controlled (2 Corinthians 5:14) by this demonstration of His incredible love, and therefore sets about to live for Him. They are not perfect, mind you – none of us ever will be – but they have a full heart to love and obey Him the rest of their days.