Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith...

The following letter was written to a person who attends a church regularly. The concern is that they may have fallen into one of Satan's greatest deceptions: going to church, saying all the right words, following all the right traditions, truly believing that they are Christians and at the end of their life they will be found not to be truly saved.

This may be the person who sits next to you in the pew. Please help them by sharing this truth, as Christ has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

"And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation ."
2 Corinthians 5:18,19

Dear Friend,

I very much enjoyed spending time talking with you last week. I pray that you have and will continue to consider the things we discussed.

I am very concerned about your use of the term "I believe". This word, believe, can be used by Satan to deceive people in their understanding of where they truly stand with God. Please prayerfully consider the following verses and ask God earnestly, "Where do I stand with You Lord?".

Please consider what God's Word says about "believe":

"For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life."
John 3:16
"Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble."
James 2:19
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:22-23

Surely this man believed in God and he now is spending eternity separated from God. Satan has deceived and confused many people about what "believing" and "being a Christian" truly means.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;"
Matthew 7:21

Not everyone who says, "I am a Christian" will enter the kingdom of heaven. Not everyone who says, "I believe in God" will enter the kingdom of heaven.

"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

God has given us, through His Word, evidence of true faith. By using God's Word, as a whole, we can test our faith to see if we are true believers or if we are being deceived.

(The following verses explain some of the evidence of a true salvation in Jesus Christ.)

1. In every true believer's life there is a time of new beginning, a time at which your life is changed. The Bible calls this being born again.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17
"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."
John 3:3

Is there a time in your life when you were changed?

2. The Bible does not teach us that when we come to Christ we will be without sin. However we will desire to keep His commandments. We will desire to please Him by doing His will.
"And hereby we do know that we know him,
if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him,
and keepeth not his commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoso keepeth his word,
in him verily is the love of God perfected:
hereby know we that we are in him."
1 John 2:3-5

Do you have a desire to obey Him?

3. All true children of God will receive discipline from God.
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening,
God dealeth with you as with sons;
for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers,
then are ye bastards, and not sons."
Hebrews 12:6-8

Can you remember a time in your life
where God has disciplined you for a specific sin?

4. Every true believer is given the Holy Spirit to help them in this life. However he also has a flesh that is of this world. So in every believer there is a struggle between the two. We are tempted between living like the world versus the Spirit's desire that we live according to the Word of God, obeying His will.
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other:
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
Galatians 5:16-17

Is this struggle in you?

5. No true believer practices sin. This is not to be confused with sinning. Sin is an action that is contrary to God's will. As believers we sin many times and are not even aware of it. But the act of practicing sin is different. It is having a knowledge of God's will and actively defying it with no intention or action to change.
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;
for his seed remaineth in him:
and he cannot sin,
because he is born of God."
1 John 3:9

"If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us."
1 John 1:8

Are you practicing sin?

So in summary we must be honest with ourselves. We must truly look into our own heart and ask ourselves:

  • Is there a time in my life when I became a new creature?
  • Do I desire to obey God and do His will?
  • Can I remember a time in my life when God has disciplined me for a specific sin?
  • Do I struggle with my flesh to obey God's word?
  • Am I practicing sin?

I hope to see you again soon.

Your friend,

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