Nov 2, 2008


"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? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates." (II Corinthians 13: 5-7 KJV)

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in youunless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed." (NIV)


Paul did not assume, nor presume, that all the Corinthian disciples were truly saved, or had "received the seed of the kingdom in an honest and good heart," and neither would he have them to assume it.

Paul wanted to test them and he wanted them to test themselves; not just once either, but regularly and continuously, to be in the habit of doing so.

Paul's counsel and exhortation had its multi-faceted purpose.

First, it would seek to assure the truly saved, the good ground hearers of the gospel.

Secondly, to convince the hypocrites and deceived of their mistake, of their stony, wayside, or thorny ground heart condition, and of their need of real conversion, so that they might really be saved, or become "good ground hearers" with "honest" (sincere and non-pretentious) and "good" hearts.

It is imperative that all professing Christians regulary "take the test" of the Christian so that they might be regularly reassured and strengthened in their faith, and come to "know" and "realize" that they are not "reprobates," or imposters, or deceived, but possessors of a real salvation, and a genuine possession of Christ.

Salvation or conversion is defined by Paul by equating it with Christ being "in" a person, and a person being "in the faith," or "in" Christ, one who "passes the test," and who is not a "reprobate," one void of judgment and discernment.

Paul affirms that one who has Christ "in" him is one who knows it, or is assured of it, who knows and realizes it.

Paul also affirms that it is part of the Christian psyche to "know thyself," and that it should have spiritual discernment to know the state of its heart and life, and not to be in doubt about its state and condition.

This is not said in a "gnostic" or "new age" sense, nor in a strictly "philosophical" sense, but in a spiritual or moral sense. We are to "know ourselves" through God's knowledge of us. God knows us better than we could ever know ourselves.

To have a correct view of ourselves, of our own "psyche," our own heart and mind, requires that we get God's view of us. We must look in God's "mirror" (James 1) and not to Satan's "vanity mirror."

Public opinion, especially non Christian opinion, is not a criterion to be used as part of the "test" to be taken. By that standard, Paul is one who has "failed the test," is one who is a "reprobate."

People may be those, like Paul, who "seem," to unbelievers, to be those who have "failed the test," or are "reprobates," but who are not what they seem to be in such eyes. We may "esteem" some to be failers of the test (or reprobates), such as are the wayside or thorny ground hearers, but who may actually be passers of the test, men with genuine knowledge of a saved condition.

Now, what is "the test"? How can we come to presently know that we are really saved, and good ground hearers rather than shallow or thorny ground hearers? How can we know that we have actually been "begotten" and have the life and presence of Christ "in" us? That we are "elect" and "called," and not "reprobates"? How can we be certain that our conversions are as the bible describes?

Perseverence is a proof of genuine regeneration. But what does it mean to "persevere," and to "continue," and to "endure to the end," as a Christian or as a believer in Jesus?

The more a Christian endures and continues, the more he is assured of his salvation. Every victorious battle over sin and unbelief gives further proof and reassurance. Every act of repentance, confession, and returning to the Lord is fresh evidence.

What are more immediate evidences of one's salvation being real? What other criteria is there for "the test"? Besides the perseverence test?

Here are pertinent questions on "the test."

1. Do you love and adore Christ and accept his lordship over your life?
2. Does he "rule" in your heart, soul, thoughts, and mind?
3. Do you daily seek him?
4. Do you daily pray and meditate upon his teachings?
5. Do you enjoy telling others about the gospel?
6. Are you unashamed to tell others that you are a follower of Christ?
7. Are you regularly penitent over your sins?
8. Do you regularly confess your sins to Christ?
9. Do you enjoy the regular company of Christians?
10. Do you ever 'suffer persecution' as a Christian?
11. If confronted with martydom, will you deny Christ?
12. Do you have a humble heart? A low estimation of self?
13. Do you love others more than self?
14. Do you enjoy doing as Christ commanded and taught?
15. Do you have the inner witness that Christ loved and died for you?
16. Are you led of the Spirit and word of God?
17. Do you possess love, joy, peace, faith and confident hope in Christ?
18. Are you filled with doubt about the gospel or confident of its truth?

If one can answer these questions correctly and without "mental reservation," then he may "rest assured" that he is really saved and "has received the word in an honest and good heart" and certainly will be finally saved.

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