In my first few posts my intent is to reveal the importance of the love and the embracing of the truth – not just any truth but the treasures of truth that the Almighty God has made available throughout time. God’s truth is a work-in-progress, not in the sense of being added to but in the sense of an expanding revelation to man on a need-to-know basis.
There is an examination or a test, if you will, that comes into every person’s life. In fact, there are many tests and examinations in our lives, some of which start even before our birth! We are examined at school, we are tested for our suitability for employment, we are encouraged to examine ourselves concerning certain types of cancer, and the list goes on and on as we progress toward the day when we will leave this planet.
These aforementioned examinations are important but pale in comparison to the most important examination that is before each one of us. That examination has no curve built into the scoring. In a way, this examination involves all that surrounds us in this astounding world that we live in with all of the intricacies, fascinating discoveries, and in general all of the things that we can perceive with our senses that makes it obvious that there is a God of creation.
The most important self-examination that each one of us is required to do is the examination from which no one is exempt – it cannot be bypassed and to try to bypass it guarantees failure. One question dominates this examination. From the Bible God speaks to everyone in clear, easily understood words (through the apostle Paul) this command: “examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) This command is applicable to the state of our walk as well as our standing in Christ. When we are saved we are placed in a position of standing which does not change throughout eternity – we are in Christ. On the other hand, the state of our walk fluctuates – at times we walk in the Spirit being obedient children of our heavenly Father but at other times we walk “after” the flesh and the desires of our flesh and soul. (It is important here to note with absolute assurance we are never “in” the flesh from the moment of our salvation forward. We are “in Christ” eternally.)
While this question (are you in the faith?) was originally written to the very carnal assembly at Corinth, it is also applicable to all humans ever born on this planet. This passage in Scripture can be looked upon as a caution to look over your test paper before turning it in to the teacher as if you were in school, though in this case, examining your life before turning it in for review before a Holy God is the issue.
We all know what examine means but let’s consider what it means to prove something. A good place to start would be to offer proof and plenty of it in this matter of examination before God. Before discussing these proofs to offer to God, lets consider verses in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 where God gives us His view of how He views proof of salvation. This becomes a very important consideration because it is God that ultimately gives a passing grade on our proofs of whether or not we are in the faith.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12: And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not a love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
For it is God and He alone that decrees our outcome concerning eternal life and the abundant life of joy and peace. Concerning this question there is no variation of right or wrong. This is a simple yes or no answer with exact consequences. Concerning salvation, this question has no behavioral context – it is a matter or whether or not you are found in the faith of Christ, or better stated, found in His faithfulness.
The unfolding of everyone’s eternal existence is based solely on God’s opinion and by His rule. In the final analysis, based on His word, God’s judgment is the only correct judgment concerning our findings as to our self-exam and status. God alone determines whether we are in the faith. Even if we are sure of our salvation we do well to consider whether our walk is one in faith at any given moment by self-examination.
In Part 2 we’ll look at examples of wrong decision-making concerning God’s revealed truth.