Spiritual Growth
Test Yourself - Are You In The Faith?

Are You In The Faith?2 Corinthians 13:5-6 - Test [examine] yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test. And I hope you will recognize that we do not fail the test.

This is a command in scripture for anyone who believes they are a Christian... test yourself to see if you truly are a Christian.

Are you upset that I'm asking you to test yourself? Does it appear that I'm doubting you are a Christian? If this request upsets you... if you do not think you need to test yourself... then it is very likely you are not saved. That you are not truly a Christian.

Why?

Because I'm not the one saying you should test yourself. It is a command in scripture. Someone who does not desire to obey God... who does not desire to obey scripture, and examine themselves... is either a very immature Christian, or is not saved.

Why is testing yourself so important that scripture commands it?

Matthew 7:21-23 - Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

This is about people who were confident they were saved. 100% confident they were saved. It was obvious they were saved because of all the incredible things they did. Yet when they died and stood before Jesus Christ, He says to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

These are words you NEVER want to hear. So, do as scripture says, test yourself. Before it is too late.

Test Yourself - Are You In The Faith? - Five Questions

Based on scripture here are five points that John MacArthur has compiled. Do not be discouraged if you fail in some points. No one is perfect. What you should look for are trends. Are you improving in each of these areas?

1. Are you experiencing a growing knowledge of, and turning from sin? Do you mourn over your sin? Do you run from sin? (I Corinthians 6:18) Do you acknowledge (confess) your sin to God? (1 John 1:7-10 and Romans 7:24). Are there things you did that where acceptable several years ago, but today you now know are sinful and have stopped doing them?

Or, do you sometimes do wrong things because you've been mistreated by others, or because you had a childhood trauma. Is it your lack of self-esteem that leads you to occasionally cheat, lie, or steal? Do you feel you could be a good person, if only your circumstances were somehow changed?

If you understand the problem is sin... your sin... and you hate sin... run from sin... then you've passed the first test. If you blame you sin on someone else, or on your circumstances, then you fail the first test.

You can't trick God.2. Do you desire what is right and pure? Do you have a deep longing to obey the commands of God? Do you fully desire to know and understand scripture? Do you strive to change the way you think, having an internal desire for righteousness that has changed who you are internally? Do other people see a distinct difference in you now compared to what you were like before you began trusting in Jesus?

Or, do you act good on the outside, but your true desires are for sin? Do you redefine the Bible's definition of certain sins so as to make certain behaviors "in our culture" not sinful? (For example, sex outside of marriage, looking at pornography, homosexuality, downloading pirated music from the internet...) Do you study the scriptures to gain a better and true understanding of how God truly defines right and wrong?

If your desire is to obey God... to know God's desires and bring your life into alignment with God's desires... and to know His desires they way He defines them, not the way our culture defines them, then you've passed the second test. If there are some of God's commands that you believe do not apply in today's culture, or maybe that do not apply to you, then you've failed test number two.

The following table compares external righteousness (most likely unsaved), with internal righteousness, for five of the Ten Commandments:

External Appearances vs. A True (Internal) Change Of Heart
External Righteousness   Internal Righteousness (Matthew 5:20)
Does not murder Does not hate (21-22)
Does not commit sexual sin Does not lust (27-28)
Cleverly avoids false vows, while deceiving others Does not lie (33-37)
Limits vengeance to what is allowed by law Does not retaliate at all (38-42)
Love friends, hates enemies Loves friends & enemies (43-47)
Parades itself before others (self centered) Longs to be like Jesus (5:48)

 

Will you obey God?3. Are you submissive to divine authority? Are you a willing servant (Luke 11:25-35)? Do you submit to the authority of scripture? Is your desire to understand scripture correctly? Are you open to rebuke and correction from other Christians?

Or, do you believe scripture needs to be understood in light of our current culture? Is your understanding of scripture significantly different than the historical understanding of scripture? Was the Bible written by people who did not have the understanding of science and human psychology that we now have, and thus they got some things wrong?

If you are submitting to the authority of scripture, and are open to correction and rebuke from other Christians (as commanded by scripture), then you've passed the third test.

If you believe that our understanding of scripture must be based on science and the present cultural context, then you've failed the third test.

4. Do you obey God? Is your desire to obey God, and when you don't you mourn over your disobedience? (Luke 6:46; John 8:31; John 14:15, 23-24; 15:10; 1 John 2:3-5; 3:24; 52-3)

If your desire is to obey God, and you read the scriptures to learn what He says you should do or not do (if your focus is on God), then you've passed the fourth test.

If you desire to be accepted by the world (be accepted in the culture), or you desire what you want for yourself (your focus is on yourself), then you've failed the fourth test.

5. Do you have love for God, for Christians, and for other people? What does it mean to Biblical love someone? Do you know how God defines love, based on scripture? (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, Romans 12:1-2; 9-21) Do you understand that love and obedience to God (in all things) are the same? To love God is to obey God (1 John 5:2). To obey God is to love God.

Are there Christians whom you avoid or hate? (1 John 2:9-11)? Do you have an unresolved conflict with a Christian brother or sister? Is biblical love a feeling? Is love a warm puppy, a happy baby, or a spouse you feel close to? Is love a overwhelming desire to be with someone? Can you fall into love... and fall out of love?

If you understand that to love God is to obey God... if you understand agape as sacrificially meeting the real needs (not wants) of other people, without regard to whether you like them. If you understand that people's greatest need is to repent and trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then you've passed the fifth test.

If there are Christians you hate, or with whom you have an unresolved conflict... If you understand love as a feeling, or as providing whatever anyone asks for, as a feeling that can come and go... then you've failed the fifth test.

As fallen people none of us are perfect. None of us will be perfect when examining ourselves using the above Biblical test. The key question is: Do you know what the problem is? Can you identify the problem we all have? Do you know the solution to the problem... the only solution to the problem?

Fill in the blanks:

The problem is _____.

The solution is __________ and ______________________.

Has the answer changed your life? Has your behavior changed? Are you literally a different person since the solution was implemented in your life?

Here are the answers:

The problem is sin.

The answer is repent and trust that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty you've earned for disobeying God.

If this does not make sense, please get in touch with me. I'd love to talk with you and hear your comments on the above... or answer your questions. You can reach me at: cbBibleChurch@gmail.com.

You can ask a question anonymously on our web site using our online form: Got Questions

-- Steve

 

Read another viewpoint on testing yourself.

 

Note: The book of 1st John provides 11 "tests" that identify true believers. I'll look at those eleven "tests" in another article.


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