Examine yourself

Have you ever wondered about your true standing with God?

Up until age 44 I was 100% sure I was saved, that God and I were good-to-go. That is until one day, in His own divine timing God showed me His holiness and the reality of my sin, revealing my actual standing with Him and it wasn't good. Oh I had a relationship with God but it wasn't pretty; I was in opposition to Him.  I'd been careening toward an eternity separated from God and in hell. Before then, I thought my spiritual vision was quite clear thank you very much..but I was blind blind blind.  When the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit mercifully at work in me caused the scales on my eyes to drop away there was dramatic change. Heart change, desire change, my whole world-view was turned right-side-up.  It was as if I could see for the first time in my life, and similar to Isaiah,(in 6:5) I said:  'Woe is me! For I am lost...and I dwell in the midst of a people likewise lost!'.

Not long after that day I came upon one of the most startling passages in scripture:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' " Matthew 7:21-23

Startling for a few reasons.  For one, it points to the magnitude of our salvation.  For another, it points to the reality that there are still a great number of people who, exactly like I was, are walking in darkness blind to their unrighteous standing before God, though they think they are safely in the clear.

"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14

I haven't questioned my standing with God since that day but that doesn't mean that born-again believer's can't have doubts or be confused.  Struggling isn't bad, it can actually be good. Struggling helps us grow in Christ's likeness, it produces character.  What should be troubling for any Christian is if we never struggle! 

There's a of fear of God that is 
healthy, of course it is the beginning of wisdom.  The Apostle Paul tells the Church at Philippi that they ought "work out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling," and then in the next breath he reminds them: "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phil. 2:12-13).  This is both an exhortation and an affirmation in one pass.

I was as sure of my own salvation as anyone could be but the reality was that I was a false convert and as far from Christ as anyone could be.  Because of my own experience I know that our churches are filled--
FILLED with false converts just like I was. 

Here is a helpful assessment of what illustrates genuine conversion:
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The Character of Genuine Saving Faith
(John MacArthur's Study Bible~Index Notes, 1997)

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" 2 Corinthians 13:5

1. Evidences that neither prove nor disprove one’s faith:
  • a. Visible morality: Matt 19:16-21
  • b. Intellectual knowledge: Romans 2:17
  • c. Religious involvement: Matt. 25:1-10
  • d. Active Ministry : Mar 7:21-24
  • e. Conviction of sin: Acts 24:25
  • f. Assurance: Matt 23
  • g. Time of decision: Luke 8:13-14
2. The fruit /proofs of authentic / true Christianity
  • a. Love for God: Luke 10:27, Romans 8:7
  • b. Repentance from sin: Psalm 32:5, II Cor 7:10, I John 1:8-10
  • c. Genuine Humility: Psalm 51:17, Matt 5:1-12, James 4:6-9
  • d. Devotion to God’s Glory: Psalm 105:3, Isaiah 43:7, I Cor 10:31
  • e. Continual Prayer: Luke 18:1, Eph. 6:18, James 5:16-18
  • f. Selfless love: I John 2:9, 3:14, 4:7
  • g. Separation from the world: I Cor. 2:12, James 4:4, I John 2:15-17
  • h. Spiritual Growth: Luke 8:15, John 15:1-6, Eph 4:12-16
  • i. Obedient Living: Matt 7:21, I Peter 1:2,22; I John 2:3-5
If list 1 is true of a person and list 2 is false or non-evident, then there could be cause to question the validity of one’s profession of faith. If list II is true of a person, then list I will be true as well. [my emph.]

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So ask yourself, Christian:
What are you relying on as evidence of a right standing with God?
Which of these lists more accurately reflects your own Christian walk?
Are you convicted as you note the differences between the two lists and their implications?
How do you respond to conviction? Defensively?
Is it possible your heart is hardened to the truth of God's word?
Do you push conviction away by rationalizing and other forms of human reasoning?

Did God surely say?

I was expert at all of that and more. Truly my heart was hardened and my conscience seared. These are things to consider seriously because our eternal lives depend not on what we "feel" is right, but what is true in the revealed word of God.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

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