Christianity 201

February 10, 2015

Examine Yourselves

We’re going to do something a little different today and give the writer credit at the end of the piece!

 II Cor. 13:5 NLT Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

Five Tests of Genuine Faith

  1. What place does my faith in Christ hold in my heart?

It is not enough that your beliefs are merely in your head and expressed by your words or feelings.   If your faith is real, it must possess your heart. That is, your faith will dramatically affect your desires, your interests, and the decisions you make.  Genuine faith will satisfy the deepest desires of your soul.

  1.  How do I really view sin?

If your faith is genuine, you will be repulsed by the sinfulness of sin.  You will view sin as something that God truly hates, and something which renders people guilty and condemned before Him because He is holy.

You will view all sin, even the seemingly small sins, as something deserving of God’s judgment. You will see sin as the root cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, strife and wars,  quarrels and fighting, and sickness and death.

Above all, you will understand that sin is the thing which ruins people eternally, holds us captive, and destroys our happiness —unless we can find someone  outside of ourselves to rescue us from it.

  1. What are my true feelings about Jesus Christ? 

Many professing Christians believe that Christ existed as a great person and teacher and may even view Him as the savior.  They may  belong to and be active in  church, but their intellectual belief never radically transforms their daily life in a deeply personal way.

True faith causes a person to fully embrace Christ as their personal Redeemer, Deliverer, Priest, and Friend — without whom they would have no hope at all.

The true believer trusts, loves, and delights in the Lord Jesus Christ. They view Christ as their only mediator, and means of forgiveness and spiritual happiness.  Genuine believers  find that Jesus Christ is the only source of true peace and comfort  for their soul.

  1. Has my faith produced fruit in my heart and life?

True faith in Christ will produce a turning away from sin (repentance) faith, hope, love, humility, a spiritual outlook on life, gentleness, self-denial, self-control, unselfishness, forgivingness, honesty, love for other Christians, patience, and forbearance.

The manifestation of these virtues will vary and will continue to grow over time, but the seeds of their beginning will be found in every true child of God. By their fruits they may be known. (Matt. 7:20)

  1. What are my feelings and habits regarding the “means of grace”? i.e.  church attendance, fellowship,  private devotional life.

Do you find worshipping with other Christians on Sunday to be a mere duty and drudgery or is it a true delight and refreshment to your soul? Do you look forward to partaking in the Lord’s Supper? Are these things you couldn’t stand to live without or do you have an attitude that you could take it or leave it?

How do you feel about your own personal Bible study and prayer life? Even though you may sometimes struggle to maintain it, do you know in your heart it essential to your well being?  Do you love the Bible and  does it come “alive” for you?  When you pray do you sense that you are really communing with God?

If the means of grace, whether public or private, are not as necessary to your soul as food and drink are to your body — you may well doubt whether your faith  is real.

In conclusion, if you want to know  whether your faith in Christ is genuine and true,   examine it carefully and honestly. If your heart is right in the sight of God you have no cause to fear by doing so. However, if it is wrong, the sooner you find it out the better.

The original author is  J.C. Ryle from the book Practical Religion, published in 1878. (That’s 127 years ago.) This adaptation by Diane Bucknell was found at a website called Theology for Girls (yes, really) which is where the link at the top of the piece will take you.

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