“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?” 2Corinthians 13:5
Are you in Christ and is Christ in you – for real? Christianity is not about being nice or about having a certain set of beliefs or rules. It is about the very life of God being inside of us igniting a lifestyle of faith, devotion, and love. How could someone fail the test the apostle Paul encourages us to take? I think there are two ways to fail:
- You were never really converted to Christ in the first place. Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Faith takes us beyond our logic and reasoning, so to be saved you and I must embrace what Christ has done for us on the cross and trust our eternity to Him in childlike belief. When we respond to God’s drawing in that way, the Holy Spirit will bear witness in our spirit that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16) It’s not that you will never have a doubt in your mind, but there will be a knowing deep inside that God has saved you by His grace.
- You were once saved but you have backslidden. All of us have ups and downs so I thank God that we don’t go in and out of grace because of our weakness and immaturity. However, the seed of salvation can be choked out by the fear of man, the inordinate desire for other things, the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches. (See Mark 4:16-19) Can it be so choked out that the life of God that was once there is completely removed? I don’t know, but there are enough warnings about it that if you don’t need new life, you certainly need the life you had before resurrected. Repent and ask the Spirit to renew His work in you with childlike faith.
I think it is important to take this test from time to time in light of the fact that Jesus said that “many” would presume to be saved that won’t enter into heaven. (Matthew 7:21) But I also think that continually taking the test can lead to the paralysis of analysis. Check presumption, but don’t let the enemy get in and rob you of legitimate faith by accusing thoughts that undermine your confidence in God’s goodness toward us in Christ.