Whether Ye Be In The Faith

II 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? In a sense, the Apostle Paul is challenging them. Why? Eternity is at stake. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. The assurance of one’s salvation is of vital importance. Paul had sensed that things weren’t quite right with some in the assembly. You can see this as you read the Epistle. The only way Paul could get to the bottom of it was by making them take a good hard look at themselves.

Let me go ahead and say it: I fear we have many folks in our assemblies that are not saved. They look and talk the part, but Yeshua is not in them. “Judgmental” you say. Ok. I’m fine with that. If that is your response … well, that shouldn’t be your response.

If a person says Yeshua is in them, then it only makes good sense to assume they would KNOW He’s in them and would manifest His spirit in them.

I remember years ago, I worked at a machine shop. Several of us were in the training program learning how to run all the different machines. Over several days, I had taken notice of one particular guy in the class. There was something different about him. We hadn’t talked much, if at all, but I told myself: I bet he’s a Christian. So, one day I went over to him and asked him if he was a Christian, if he was born-again. Sure enough he was! He, somehow, had manifested the spirit of Christ in him without so much as a word coming out of his mouth concerning it.

That’s how it’s supposed to be!

I’m always glad when I meet a person that is a believer that asks me if I’m saved. I’m never offended by that. I appreciate that someone cares enough for me, and the assembly I attend, to check me out. He’s guarding the flock. He’s not going to be fooled easily. He wants to make sure I’m not self-deluded and/or that I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That’s great. We need more people who are willing to do that.

I ask you:

Do you know that Yeshua Messiah is in you? Don’t just give an immediate flippant “yes” to that question. How do you know? What are you testing? Have you ever come up with any proofs of your salvation? Proofs that convince, you? Are you sure you’re not “reprobate”?

Well you say, “I believe in God.” Not good enough. James 2:19 says: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” I dare say Satan, and all his devils, believe in God more than any of us do. He’s seen God. He’s been in the presence of God. He’s talked with God.

I don’t want to list a bunch of questions or things to look for in your life. This is supposed to be a “self test.” “Examine yourselves.” And if you like, it’s an open Book test. You are to check yourself against the Scriptures. That is the standard. It’s not what you, or I, come up with as an answer. But rather, when you place yourself next to the Scriptures, what does it say about you?

Can you “prove” to yourself and others, from the Word of God, that you know Yeshua and that He is alive and living within you? The only sure way to know this is by the Scriptures. Now, I’m not saying a person is saved because he/she does or doesn’t read the Word. Unsaved people have read the Word more than many “saved” people. Duke Ellington read the Bible twice! That’s convicting. But sadly, he never got saved.

We’ve been slowly taught over the years that the evidence of a person’s salvation can be verified and quantified by externals. And granted, ye shall know them by their fruit. But, if all you have is externals with no real internal change, then you need to do some checking up on yourself. You need to “prove” yourself.

When I got saved in 1973, I knew it. But to be honest, I needed something more to latch onto other than “I just know.” Feelings go up and down. I asked God to show me a Bible verse or passage that would give me the assurance I needed concerning my salvation. And with God’s leading, He gave me a verse that jumped off the pages of Scripture and settled it for me right then and there. I can even tell you when and where that was.

Here’s a thought.

Ever since I was born as a person, I never once doubted I was born. I mean, that would be a pretty stupid thing to do. Obviously, I’ve been born. I know it and everyone that see’s me knows it.

But …

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the years that have told me they’ve doubted their salvation at times. I just don’t understand that. I know I’ve done stupid and dumb things since I’ve been saved, but I have never once wondered if I was saved or not. I simply knew that I was being a stupid, dumb child of God. Our stupidity doesn't change our relationship with God. It might mess up our fellowship but not our relationship.

Now I ask. How can a person that’s been born-again not know it? How can a person indwelt by the Holy Ghost wonder about it? If a person has been made a “new creature” in Messiah shouldn’t he know it?

In Acts 26:18, we’re told by Paul that God had given him a commission to reach the unsaved. Here it is:

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Is that you? Has that happened to you? Do you know for sure? How could you miss it? How could you ever be unsure of it?

I’m telling you true Salvation is that real.

I don’t care what age you were saved. At whatever point in life you were, you had to have experienced what Paul just said. Sure, a little kid’s salvation isn’t going to be as earth shattering as someone who has lived a whole life in sin. But, that little kid will know (as only little kids can know) that his eyes have been opened; that he is no longer in darkness but in the light; that he’s governed by a new power source. There’s no way around this.

An analogy:

I could have washed up one of the hogs on my Aunt’s farm. Bring it into my house. Put clothes on it. Make it smell good. Tie a Bible around it’s neck. Take it to the Sunday-go-to-meeting service. But, it’s nature would still have been a dirty, filthy, smelly hog . Nothing I could have done to that hog would have changed its natural hog nature.

Or …

You can whiten up the sepulcher of your life (as Yeshua pointed out to the Pharisees of His day) but still be full of death — dead in your trespasses and sin. No matter what externals you improve or change, your natural nature as a wicked lost person will not change. You need to be changed Supernaturally. That’s the New Birth.

That’s what Nicodemus, one of the most educated, intellectual, well-dressed religious people of his day, needed to know. He had the externals but not the internals. He had not been born-again by the Spirit of God. He knew a lot, but he was still lost and headed to Hell.

Have you been regenerated or are you still reprobate?

Let me close with Titus 3:3-8

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

If this isn’t you, fall on your knees and cry out to God to bring you to repentance and salvation through Yeshua.

He will.

And when He does …

You will know ...

Whether Ye Be In The Faith