“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
Last week we began this series entitled “Is it Real?” That is, is your faith genuine, biblical, saving faith? Most people, even church-goers, when asked the question, “When you die do you know for sure if you are headed for heaven?” will respond, “Well, I hope so!”
That should never be your answer.
How is it possible for someone who responds, “Well, I hope so!” to ever sing the famous hymn by Fannie Crosby, Blessed Assurance?
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in
His Blood! This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all
the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior
all the day long.
Is this your story? Can you sing the words, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!” knowing for certain that when you die you will enter Paradise like the thief on the cross? If not, why not?
In 1 John 5:13, the Apostle John states, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Our faith is to be sure and certain, not because of faith in ourselves, but because of our genuine faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Hebrews 11:1 declares this truth: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Do you see any doubt in this verse? No, because there is none. If your faith is sure and certain, then, and only then, will you be able to sing “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!”
Last week, I put forth that the first and most important evidence of your eternal salvation is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. You will know the Holy Spirit is in you as you spend time in fellowship with God in prayer and in the reading of God’s Word. Remember, “He walks with me and He talks with me and tells me I am his own!” from the hymn In The Garden. 1 John 1:3-7 confirms this truth:
“And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Do you enjoy daily fellowship with the Father and the Son by way of the indwelling Spirit? If not, that is a huge red flag.
Here is the second test to help you determine if your faith is genuine, saving faith. It is known as the obedience test. It comes from 1 John 2:3-6:
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
Understand that no one is perfectly obedient. As long as we live in these fleshly bodies we will continue to sin. We live in a fallen world and we have a fallen nature. However, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we as God’s children, possess the power to walk more and more obediently. So the question is – is your life one of more and more obedience to God’s Word? If not, that is another red flag.
In summary, we have learned of two tests that help us to examine whether or not we are truly in the faith: the fellowship test and the obedience test. Do I have frequent fellowship with the Father and the Son? Do I exemplify a life of obedience to God’s Word? Can people who know me see that my life has truly changed? Am I a new creation in Christ Jesus? Can I sing with confidence, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine?”
These are important questions for each of us to honestly answer. Our eternal destiny is at stake.
Next week, we will look at two more tests: the love test and the hatred test. Stay tuned.