“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?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The objective is not to cause true believers to doubt their salvation; the objective is to provide help in situations where there is doubt, either on the part of the individual himself or on the part of a church that is examining an individual for baptism and/or church membership.
These questions are not to be answered mentally as in a school test. They are to be answered from the heart, with the whole person.
1. Have you repented and humbled yourself before God?
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3).
“... except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lu. 13:3).
“God .. now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Ac. 17:30).
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God...” (Ac. 20:21).
“The ultimate trouble with the natural man is his pride. ... The first thing that has to be done with the man who does not accept the Christian faith is to humble him. ... All men have to be converted and ‘become as little children.’ All they know, and all they are, and all they have, and all they have done, is utterly useless in this realm. There is no hope for them until they become aware of their utter bankruptcy and ‘become as little children’” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, p. 50).
2. Do you renounce all false religion and believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation?
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Joh. 14:6).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Ac. 4:12).
“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Ac. 19:19).
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Th. 1:9).
3. In light of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which says that salvation is believing that “Christ died for our sins,” do you believe that you are the sinner that God says you are? Do you believe that you have no righteousness that is acceptable to Him and that you deserve God’s eternal condemnation? Do you believe that the following Scriptures apply to you?
“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Ro. 3:10).
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6).
4. Do you believe 100% that Christ died for your sins? Do you trust Jesus Christ and His blood 100% for your salvation? Do you believe that He bore all of your sin when He shed His blood and died on the cross?
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Co. 5:21)?
5. Do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Son of God?
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Ac. 8:37).
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (Joh. 6:68-69).
6. Do you believe that your salvation is by grace alone without works and that works are the fruit of salvation and not the way of salvation?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Ro. 11:6).
7. Do you believe that you have been born again and that you are a new creature in Jesus Christ? Do you know when this happened?
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Joh. 3:3).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Co. 5:17)?
8. Do you have the Spirit of God living in you crying Abba, Father? Since when have you experienced this?
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Ro. 8:15-16)?
9. Do you hear the Bible as God’s voice; does it speak to you as God’s voice? Do you accept God’s Word as true without reservation? Do you argue with the Bible?
“He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Joh. 8:47).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Joh. 10:27).
10. Have you renounced the world as defined by 1 John 2:16 and do you consider yourself a pilgrim on the way to your heavenly home?
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 Jo. 2:16).
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the sou.” (1 Pe. 2:11).
11. Are you looking for Christ’s return?
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Ro. 8:23).
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Th. 1:9-10).
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4:8).
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28).
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