- Examine Yourselves, Prove Your Own Selves – This is a very important question that we should all seriously consider, “How Can I KNOW If God Has Saved Me?”. This question gets to the essence of what life is all about. God tells us everything we need to know with regard to His salvation plan for mankind in His Book, the Bible, and God explains that assurance of our salvation is indeed possible as 1 John 5:11-13 explains. We must realize that God does ALL the work of salvation. The Bible teaches that we cannot save ourselves. No church, no religious ritual, no person, and no human effort can save us. Only the work done by the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross and by the Holy Spirit in our hearts can save us. Believing, or having “faith”, in the Lord Jesus Christ is the result of salvation – not the cause of it. Rom 5:10 declares that if God has saved you, your spiritual war with God has ended: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”. In other words: If God has saved you from Hell, the Lord Jesus Christ paid for ALL of your sins with His life so that you now have eternal life, and you made no contribution to your salvation in any way, as Tit 3:4-7 declares. However, if God does not save you before you die or the Lord Jesus Christ returns in judgment, you will face eternal damnation in Hell under the wrath of God as a payment for your own sins. If God has already saved you from eternal damnation, He has put His Spirit within you and resurrected your soul (that is, you became a new creature in Christ); as God stated in the verses Eze 36:26-27 and 2 Cor 5:17. In 2 Cor 13:5 and 2 Pet 1:10, God commands us to evaluate our spiritual condition to determine if we truly have received the gift of eternal life based on what the Bible teaches about salvation. In this fourth part of the study we will ask ourselves several questions based on the biblical evidences of salvation to help us “examine” the state of our souls. May God cause each of us to seriously examine our self in the light of His Word to discover whether we are indeed a child of God or not. If we are not (or are not sure), wonderfully today is still the day of salvation; and we can cry out to God for mercy, read His Word, and wait (trusting altogether) on Him.
1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Tit 3:4-7 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Eze 36:26-27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Cor 13:5 “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 Pet 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
- Is the “Fruit of the Spirit” becoming more Evident in your Life? – We see in Eph 2:10 that true believers are God’s “workmanship”, which means “the fruit (or product) of a workman’s labor”. We also see in Gal 5:22-26 that true believers are governed by the “fruit” (or product) of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance …”. There is “no law” against these nine fruit of the Spirit because they reflect the righteous nature of God Himself. True believers can sincerely exclaim the words of Eph 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!”
Eph 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Gal 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Love” – Are you able to Love God and your Neighbour also? – Let’s begin by looking at a believer’s love for God. We read of Jesus’ response to a question posed to him by a scribe in Mark 12:28 “Which is the first commandment of all?” “…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”. It’s a matter of heart. After all, God describes the condition of an unsaved person’s heart very early in the Bible in Gen 6:5: “… every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”. And throughout the Bible God closely associates love with obeying the commandments, as we can see from John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. So one can only love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, when they have received eternal life, or salvation, in their souls (Deu 30:6). Lord Jesus explains a believer’s love for others in context with`the second commandment in Mark 12:31-33: “… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. 1 John 4:21 proclaims: “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also”. Loving our neighbor as our self implies being our brother’s keeper, which Cain refused to do. After God saves a believer, Love begins to manifest itself as “fruit of the Spirit” in the life of this individual who truly has become a “new creature” (or creation) in Christ, in whom the Holy Spirit indwells. True believers are instructed to mirror the kindness that God has shown to them by being kind to one another. It is the mission of every true child of God as 2 Cor 5:18 affirms: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”. We surely should look after the physical needs of our neighbour and especially unto them who are of the household of faith, but we see a need that is greater than the physical need, which is the spiritual need. If we had even a tiny portion of true love for our fellowman, we would never want to see them judged in Hell eternally. Jesus gives us the answer in response to the lawyer’s question in Luke 10:29 “… and who is my neighbour?” by detailing the account of a man who was rescued after he had been robbed, beaten, and left “stripped” and “half dead”. This is a marvelous picture of unsaved man as we find in Eph 2:1, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”. Luke 10:33-34 demonstrates what it means to love our neighbor – it is to share the Gospel of Grace – that has power to resurrect the dead soul to eternal life, with them. The oil in this verse, typifies the Holy Spirit and the wine points to the Gospel, which God can use to heal our sin-sick souls.
Deu 30:6 “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
Luke 6:35 “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
Gal 6:9-10 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
1 John 3:16-18 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
John 21:15-17 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Joy” – Do you have Joy of Salvation and Rejoice in Suffering also? – In Hab 3:18 we discover this beautiful statement, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation”. Each believer has been given “joy” as “fruit of the Spirit”, which is a direct result of the incomprehensible salvation that God has granted. For those who have become saved through the power of the True Gospel, there is much joy in their lives as they serve their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Also, it seems that in our day one hears little about the trials and persecutions that believers have historically faced. Rather many are touting the harmful idea that the Bible promises physical well-being, financial prosperity, and political freedom as the unquestioned rights of each Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth! Indeed, Christians are called upon to suffer for righteousness’ sake, and never for evil-doing in 1 Pet 4:12-16: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye …”. After all, we are to pattern our lives after the Master whom we follow: “… In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God uses trials and temptations in the lives of His children to test and strengthen their Faith. Jam 1:2-3 affirms that Christians can indeed rejoice in the midst of suffering too: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience”. The true child of God can look forward with joy to spending eternity with His Lord and Master in the highest possible bliss. Neh 8:10 is a very comforting verse which declares, “… for the joy of the LORD is your strength”
1 Pet 4:12-16 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
1 Pet 1:6-8 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”
Psa 100:1-5 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
- The Fruit of the Spirit is “Peace” – Do you have Peace with God and Peace of God? Are you able to live Peaceably with All men? – Eph 2:14-15 describes the spiritual “Peace with God” – eternal peace between God and man that Christ secured for many. Those who have been reconciled to God are also given “Peace of God” – resulting from faith to trust God and to rest in Him. Isa 26:3 speaks of the wonderful peace that God has gifted to each of His children: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee”. The war between God and man started in the Garden of Eden as a result of Adam’s sin; and because man is at war with His Maker, he is also at war with other men. Our sinful Adamic nature, with which every human being is born, is described in Jam 4:2: “[in Adamic nature] Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not”. After God saves a believer, Peace begins to manifest itself in the life of this individual who truly has become a “new creature” (or creation) in Christ. If, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace has reconciled us to God and set us apart to be His ambassadors, we are to proclaim this Gospel of Peace so that our neighbor might be reconciled to God too. This is how we love our neighbor as ourselves. May God give us renewed zeal to be about His business. Blessed are the peacemakers and beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.
2 Cor 5:18-20 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To 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. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
Rom 12:17-21 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Rom 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”