“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test.”
–2 Corinthians 13:5
Over the past three weeks, we have examined ourselves spiritually to discern if we are genuine believers, true followers of Jesus, or imposters, masquerading as someone we are not. The test questions we have considered thus far are:
1) The fellowship test – am I truly indwelt by the Holy Spirit and having personal fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus?
2) The sin test – do I see myself as a sinner? Have I ever grieved over my sins and repented of them?
3) The obedience test – am I living a life more and more obedient to God’s Word? Do others see a change in my life?
4) The love test – do I genuinely love other believers? Do I love having fellowship with them?
This brings us to the next test, The Hatred Test. Do I hate the world system that is opposed to God and all that is good? Consider 1 John 2:15-17:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
This word, ‘world,’ does not refer to people or creation. We are to love both people and God’s incredible creation. However, we are not to love the world system that is controlled by God’s number one enemy, Satan. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” Satan is in control of the world system only because God has allowed this to accomplish His divine purposes, and his control is temporary. The Bible makes it clear that one day Satan will be completely destroyed and evil will be brought to an end. In the meantime, Satan, and his minions, have limited control over the world system.
So, what is the world system? Dr. John MacArthur explains it like this…
“Despite the existence of countless political, cultural, and social entities in the world, there are in reality only two realms. It is the comforting privilege of believers, in addition to having eternal life, answered prayer, and victory over sin, to know they belong to God. Though they exist in this world, they are not part of it (John 15:19; 17:14); they are children of God (John 1:12–13), “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 2:11; cf. 1:1, 17; 1 Chron. 29:15; Ps. 119:19; Heb. 11:13), whose true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).
On the other hand, the whole world—its politics, economics, education, entertainment, and, above all, its religion—lies in the power of the evil one. The evil world system is hostile to God and believers (John 15:18–19), as John noted earlier in this epistle. It takes its cue from its ruler, Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; cf. Eph. 2:2; 6:12), the archenemy of God and His people. Because the world is completely under Satan’s influence, believers must avoid being contaminated by it (2:15–17; cf. James 1:27).
There is no middle ground, no third option. Everyone is part of God’s kingdom, or of Satan’s. In the words of Jesus, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters” (Luke 11:23). Or as James scathingly declares, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).[i]
To which kingdom do you belong? That is ultimately the purpose of this spiritual self-examination. Make sure you belong to the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man.
It is so obvious today when you consider what is happening in our country with our educational system, our political system, our entertainment system and sadly, our religious system, that Satan has a stranglehold on countless millions of people. Satan is a powerful enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
What is the solution? Run to Jesus. Jesus is infinitely more powerful than Satan. Moreover, Jesus offers protection from him. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross by His resurrection from the dead. Colossians 2:15 declares this truth, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them (Satan and is minions) at the cross.” Do you see why it is so important to be born again? When a person is truly born again, he or she is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and it is the Spirit who enables us to live for God, to overcome the evil one, and to have assurance of our salvation. Does this describe you? I hope so. If you are not sure, run to Jesus “for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). I believe this with all of my heart and I pray that you do as well.
Next week, we will consider the next test, The Truth Test! This is an important one. Stay tuned.