Average reading time is about 2 and a half minutes
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
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." Some conscientious souls on reading this immediately begin to criticize their every feeling and emotion. But this is not correct self-examination. It is not the petty feelings and emotions that are to be examined. The life, the character, is to be measured by the only standard of character, God's holy law. The fruit testifies to the character of the tree. Our works, not our feelings, bear witness of us.
The feelings, whether encouraging or discouraging should not be made the test of the spiritual condition. By God's Word we are to determine our true standing before him. Many are bewildered on this point. When they are happy and joyous, they think that they are accepted by God. When a change comes, and they feel depressed, they think that God has forsaken them.
God does not look with favor upon those self-confident ones who loudly exclaim, "I am sanctified, I am holy, I am sinless." These are Pharisees who have no foundation for their assertion. Those who, because of their sense of utter unworthiness, dare scarcely lift up their eyes to heaven, are nearer to God than those who claim so much piety. They are represented by the publican, who, with his head on his breast, prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and went to his house justified, rather than the self-righteous Pharisee.
But God does not desire us to go through life with a distrust of him. We owe our Heavenly Father a more generous view of his goodness than is accorded to him by our manifest distrust of his love. We have an evidence of his love--an evidence which amazes angels and is far beyond the comprehension of the wisest of human beings. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." While we were yet sinners, God gave his Son to die for us. Can we doubt his goodness?
Behold Christ. Dwell upon his love and mercy. This will fill the soul with abhorrence for all that is sinful, and will inspire it with an intense desire for the righteousness of Christ. The more clearly we see the Saviour, the more clearly shall we discern our defects of character. Confess your sins to Christ, and with true contrition of soul co-operate with him by putting these sins away. Believe that they are pardoned. The promise is positive, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Be assured that the Word of God will not fail. He who has promised is faithful. It is as much your duty to believe that God will fulfil his word, and forgive you, as it is to confess your sins.