The Apostle Paul encouraged the people in the church at Corinth to examine themselves to see whether or not they were truly "in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5). He wrote, "prove your own selves," which means to put your faith to the test.
The issue here concerns the salvation of our souls. What subject could be more important to one who claims to be saved and considers himself to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ? Is it possible for a person to go through life thinking he is saved and come to the final judgment only to hear the Lord Jesus say, "I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23)? You may say, "That could never happen to me." But without proper and diligent Biblical self-examination, like those to whom the Lord spoke these words, such confidence becomes mere self-righteous presumption.
This is the point. All true self-examination must be according to the Bible, God's holy, verbally inspired Word of truth. Biblical self-examination must not be based on personal experience, feeling, or even the judgment of others. It must be from the Bible. So if you claim to be saved by the grace of God, would you not want to understand what the Bible reveals about salvation? If you are truly saved by God's grace, would not a better understanding of Biblical salvation confirm your claim and help you to grow in grace and in knowledge of Jesus Christ? Would it not help you in your Christian life and walk as a true witness of Jesus Christ and His power to save? For example, according to the Bible, salvation involves a real personal relationship with Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. This personal relationship is experienced by people in what the Bible calls the new birth where sinners are brought by God the Holy Spirit to believe in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. However, true salvation is also the product of the eternal mind of God and the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
So many people today hold to the fallacy that the source and ground of salvation is their own "free-will" decision, but the Bible tells us this is not so. The source and ground of salvation are the sovereign will of God from eternity past and the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ worked out in His obedience unto death for the sins of His people. The Bible also tells us that all of His people will be brought by the Holy Spirit to faith in Christ Jesus as He is identified and distinguished in the Word of God. Consider, if you claim to be "saved," wouldn't you like to have the assurance of salvation NOW based on God's holy, infallible Word? If your claim of salvation is found to be false according to God's Word, wouldn't you like to know this NOW before it is too late? The fact is that we who claim to be "Christians" should continually be diligent and thorough examiners of our own salvation so that we can be able witnesses of Christ to a lost world.
Pastor Bill Parker
Author of "What Is Salvation?"
Bill Parker is a pastor at Eager Avenue Grace Church in Albany, Georgia. He has been active in pastoral ministry for over 30 years.
"What Is Salvation?"
By Bill Parker
Published Feb 25, 2014