Loving God, Equipping People, Mentoring Leaders, Reaching Nations
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Paul has written this letter to the Christians in the Church at the city of Corinth. In the letter he has been defending his apostleship. It seems that some of the believers were questioning the genuineness of Paul’s apostleship. He was their spiritual father (1 Corinthians 4:15) having led them to the Lord and salvation through grace and faith (Ephesians 2:8-9); yet they were questioning whether his apostleship was valid – thinking that maybe, just maybe, he might be a false apostle.
His answer was that they needed to test their faith and stop testing his apostleship. He placed the emphasis back on them taking it off of himself. In the Greek – the grammer puts a great emphasis on the pronouns “yourselves” and “you”.
If their faith was genuine and real then that would be proof that his apostleship was valid and real. If their faith was not true to the Word of God then they would have to declare their faith in Jesus Christ false and thus his apostleship as false as well. In other words, they are the living proof of the genuineness or lack of genuineness of his apostleship.
So, his suggestion was that they stop questioning the validity of his call to be an apostle and simply question or test themselves and see if their faith was real and life-changing. If it was – then he is truly a real apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
His logic was like this: he is pointing out the incongruity of the Corinthians’ believing (as they did) that their faith was genuine and his apostleship false. Paul was their spiritual father; if his apostelship was counterfeit, so was their faith. The genuineness of their salvation was proof of the genuineness of his apostleship.
So how do you “test yourself” to see if you are really in the faith – a real Christian or not?
First you should examine your salvation experience.
If you came to faith in Christ because someone told you that God would give you a better life – that God had a wonderful plan for your life; then I would suggest that your faith is not biblical or real. You came to Christ for the wrong reason.
Did you come to faith in Christ by saying a sinner’s prayer? Someone led you in a sinner’s prayer saying “repeat after me”. Peter, in the first sermon of the Christian faith in Acts, chapter 2, did not say “repeat after me”. In answer to the question “what must we do to be saved?” he responded “repent”. So, if all you did was say a sinner’s prayer I would suggest that you too are not walking in genuine faith and thus are not a genuine convert.
Salvation by sincerity
It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere
Salvation by service
As long as my good works outweigh the bad things I do
Salvation by subtraction
I don’t drink, smoke, cuss or chew or run around with those who do
Salvation by ritual
I am a believer because I have been baptized and take Holy Communion
Salvation by heritage
I was born into a Christian home and I have always been a Christian
Salvation by comparison
I am not near as bad as they are
Salvation by association
I know a minister and he visits me occasionally
Salvation by location
I live in the United States (Canada) and so am a Christian
One becomes a believer by coming to realize that they have broken God’s moral law – the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and that, as a result of this they are sinners in God’s eyes. Sin is defined as the breaking of the Moral Law. (1 John 3:4)
Then a person must recognize that this sin separates them from a loving and caring God – separates them now and forever (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Understanding that – they then need to repent (change the way they are thinking about all of this) and acknowledge that they have sinned against a holy God (Psalm 51).
This repentance should be accompanied with godly sorrow and not just worldly sorrow (sorry you got caught). (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
Then accept the fact that the penalty for your sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that without the shedding of blood there will be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)
The Bible states that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin by dying for you so that you would not have to die. And, that He shed His blood on the Cross of Calvary so that the Father could forgive you of your sins.
Acknowledging this as truth and asking Jesus to come into your life as Saviour is the start of your salvation. This is a definite choice you have to make. This should be followed by a commitment to His Lordship in your life as you “come under new ownership”.
Then, as a true convert – you begin to grow by reading your Bible every day along with praying. And, you should immediately become part of a Bible-believing Church in your area. Christians are always connected to a born again Church as we need others to help us to walk out the Christian faith in daily life.
So test yourself to see if you are “in the true faith” as Paul suggests.
James sets out some other issues to help us to test our faith as well – James 2:14-26