Tag Archives: Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith

Examine Yourself to See if You are in the Faith

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.


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Posted by on June 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Most Important Thing For You to Do…Right Now

What could be more important than taking a test to see if you are in the faith, to see if you are going to heaven? It is how Paul closes his final letter to the Corinthian church…

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)

Examine yourself. It’s an important command, and yet in the context, disturbingly vague. It sounds like a very important thing to do, but how exactly am I to do it? What exactly does Paul mean?

There are at least two tests that we can refer to in 2 Corinthians, and the first great test, in this chapter anyway, is whether you obey his Apostolic instruction. This is the context of chapter 13. And that’s fitting because the mark of a believer, Scripture says again and again, is obedience. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) So Paul is exhorting in holiness as chapter 12 closes, and then note what the Apostle says in verse 7 of chapter 13: “But we pray to God that you may not do wrong…”) John the Apostle is also famous for this test of faith: “You may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” 1 John 2:29 (ESV)

But this test has two problems. First, it is extremely subjective, and therefore probably the least reliable way to find assurance of salvation. In other words, one man has a seared conscience, and he is not the least bothered by a little white lie. Another man cannot sleep for telling a woman that he liked her hair when he really didn’t. So with this test, the first man thinks he is doing great. The second man, not so much.

The second problem with this test is that righteousness can arise from two different motivations, but only one of these motivations pleases God. You see, there are many people who want to do good in order to be accepted by God. This is called works-righteousness. Controlled by a desire for his love and acceptance, these people live exemplary lives, at least in one sense, and yet their motivation is to earn God’s love. Now, if this describes you, then you are likely failing the test. Here’s why: You are seeking to establish your own righteousness. Paul described the Jews as striving this way in Romans 10:

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:3 (ESV)

If you are seeking to establish your own righteousness, then you’d better go the whole way and do it. But here’s the problem: no one can establish their own righteousness. We are all sinners. And that is a problem, because, like Paul told the Galatians who felt they needed to be circumcised in keeping with the law, “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.” (Galatians 5:3 ESV) But we cannot keep the whole law. All of us have already failed.

But there is a right motivation. Paul said he was controlled not by the desire to be loved by God, but by the fact that he was already loved. God had already set His love on Paul and this moved him to live for Christ.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV)

Yes, true believers have life change, because they are controlled by the love of Christ as revealed in the gospel. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves.

And this leads us to the second test, which I will write about tomorrow…

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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


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