Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5
2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine
yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your
own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
There are a great many
people in hell today who, while they lived upon the earth, presumed with great
confidence that they were God's children. They lived and died under the
delusion that all was well, when nothing was well. As Isaiah put it, they made
lies their refuge. They made a covenant with death and a league with hell,
assuring themselves that judgment would not come near them. But now they suffer
the horrible wrath of God in hell.
There are also many who live
in peace today, confident that they are born of God, who are strangers to
grace. They are religious, zealous, and outwardly righteous. But they are
without Christ. And the wrath of God is upon them.
THESE THINGS CONCERN ME! If you honestly think about them, I am sure they
will concern you as well.
"`Tis a point I long to
Oft it causes anxious
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I His, or am I not?"
No one can settle this issue
for me, or for you, but the Spirit of God. And he will settle it only by the
Word he has given. So I urge you (and myself) to do what he tells us to do.
"EXAMINE YOURSELVES!" That is the title of my
We are not to examine one
another. And we are not to subject ourselves to the examination of others. If
you examine others, you will become hardened in self-righteousness, harsh and
judgmental, arrogantly making yourself the standard by which you judge others.
If you subject yourself to the examinations of others, you will have nothing
but the words and opinions of men as the basis of your faith. Your assurance,
if you get any, will be nothing but a temporary, self-righteous confidence,
varying with the opinions of the preacher to whom you are listening.
The point of examination is
this - "whether ye be in the faith.”
It does not matter when, where, or how you came to be in the faith, or
even who was preaching when you believed. It only matters that "ye be in the faith.”
For most of God's people,
conversion is not a climatic experience, but a gradual process. Some, like Saul
of Tarsus, have great, climatic experiences. But most are brought to Christ,
one faltering step at a time. And even those who have Damascus road experiences
must be gently led into the knowledge of Christ by one like Ananias (Acts
9:6-18). Are you, or are you not, now in the faith? That is the only issue of
you are in the faith, you are saved. If you are not, you are lost.
“Prove your own selves.” The only
way to know "whether ye be in the
faith" is to bring your faith to the Word of God, crying with David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try (prove) me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me
(see if I am in the way of the wicked),
and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24). If God will "say unto my soul, I am thy salvation”
(Psa. 35:3), I want no other proof.
God has given us in his Word
seven essential characteristics of saving faith. If these seven things are
consistent with my faith, then my faith is genuine and I am a child of God. If
these things are not consistent with my faith, then my faith is false and I am
not a child of God.
SAVING FAITH CONFESSES
PERSONAL DEPRAVITY AND SIN BEFORE GOD (Psa. 51:3; Lk. 18:13; Rom.
7:18; 1 John 1:9).
Psalms 51:3 "For
I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is
ever before me."
Luke 18:13 "And
the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his
breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
Romans 7:18 "For
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will
is present with me; but how to
perform that which is good I find not."
1 John 1:9 "If
we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
the deed of sin (Lk. 15:18),
the nature of sin (Matt. 15:19; Psa. 51:5),
and the sinfulness of all deeds of personal righteousness (Isa. 64:6).
FAITH LOOKS TO THE BLOOD OF CHRIST ALONE FOR ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD.
Christ's precious blood represents the whole of his obedience to God as
the sinners' Substitute. And faith sees everything it needs, everything God
requires, in the blood of Christ alone.
Redemption (Eph. 1:7)
Ephesians 1:3-7 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the
adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure
of his will, (6) To the praise of the
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through
his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"
Forgiveness (Col. 1:14)
Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his
blood, even the forgiveness of
Justification (Rom. 3:23)
3:23-26 "For all have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God; (24) Being
justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in
his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God;
(26) To declare, I say, at this
time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which
believeth in Jesus."
Sanctification (Heb. 10:10-14)
Hebrews 10:10-14 "By the which will we are sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and
offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered
one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his
enemies be made his footstool. (14) For
by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Reconciliation (Col. 1:20-21).
Colossians 1:20-21 "And, having made peace through the
blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath
FAITH KNOWS THAT SALVATION IS BY GRACE ALONE (Eph. 2:8-9).
Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest
any man should boast. (10) For we are
his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them."
2 Timothy 1:9-10 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according
to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in
Christ Jesus before the world began, (10)
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who
hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through
I do not say that a person
must be a Calvinist to be saved. Calvinism has no more to do with salvation
than Arminianism. Salvation is not in a system of doctrine, but in a Person,
the Lord Jesus Christ! And all who know that Person know that "Salvation is of the Lord"
(Gal. 5:1-4; 1 Cor. 15:10).
Galatians 5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty
wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of
bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto
you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man
that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto
you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
1 Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;
but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God
which was with me."
FAITH WILLINGLY SUBMITS TO THE DOMINION OF CHRIST AS LORD (Lk.
Luke 14:25-33 "And there went great multitudes with
him: and he turned, and said unto them,
(26) If any man come to me, and
hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his
cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not
down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29)
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying,
This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth
not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him
that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth
an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all
that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Faith gives up the reins of
life to the hands of Christ (Mk. 8:34-35).
Mark 8:34-35 "And
when he had called the people unto him with
his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever
shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
V. SAVING FAITH WORKS BY LOVE (Gal.
Galatians 5:6 "For in Jesus Christ neither
circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by
Without Christ good works
attain nothing; and the lack of good works prevents nothing. But in the kingdom
of God, "faith which worketh by
love" is everything.
FAITH IS INVOLVED IN A WARFARE (Gal. 5:17).
The flesh and the Spirit are
constantly at war within the believer's heart. The Spirit rules! But the flesh
will never surrender.
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the
other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
Romans 7:14-24 "For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For
that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate,
that do I. (16) If then I do that
which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. (17) Now then
it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no
good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I
would not, that I do. (20) Now if I
do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I
would do good, evil is present with me.
(22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my
members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to
the law of sin which is in my members.
(24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
FAITH PERSEVERES TO THE END (Col. 1:21-23; Heb.
Colossians 1:21-23 "And you, that were sometime alienated
and enemies in your mind by wicked
works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In
the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and
unreproveable in his sight: (23) If
ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard,
and which was preached to every
creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"
Hebrews 10:38-39 "Now the just shall live by faith: but
if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him. (39) But we
are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the
saving of the soul."
True faith simply will not