Pass the Test
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?" -2 Corinthians 13:5
The Storm Highway web site is in existence to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard it. But it is also here to challenge and encourage those who have heard or otherwise already consider themselves Christians.
The Test of Faith
The Bible says that salvation is simply obtained through faith in Jesus alone, and that is the message I live for and am excited to pass on. But for those who consider themselves 'saved' and on their way to heaven, I have a responsibility to pass on another part of Biblical truth - the test for evidence of faith in your life.
Possibly you 'went forward to the altar' when you were 7 years old and 'prayed the prayer'. Or, maybe you were raised in a church-centered home. Either way, you may have always considered yourself a Christian. But the Bible says that the evidence of salvation (not salvation itself) is more dependent on what happens in your life as a result.
Salvation not only involves forgiveness of sins and a guarantee of heaven, but it also results in a complete change of who you are (2 Corinthians 5). You're never the same again! The New Testament describes a person's conversion as a death of the 'old you' and the birth of the 'new you' in Christ (Romans 6). The 'old you' is gone forever! That's why Jesus described it as being 'born again' (John 3). This change in your life is a result of the Holy Spirit who is sent to live in you.
One of my favorite songs is 'The Change' by Steven Curtis Chapman. In the song, he talks about having all of the 'Christian stuff' like bracelets and bumper stickers, but asks 'what about The Change?' in your life- it's the thing that really matters.
So, that brings us to the challenge. The Bible calls all Christians to 'examine ourselves' to make sure our faith is real. After all, only real faith can save you from eternal punishment. It's a matter of heaven or hell. This challenge includes me, too. It says that those who are truly saved, that is, those who have the Holy Spirit, will always display certain characteristics. In other words, there will be things about a person who has experienced salvation that will be true or not true about that person.
For example, the Bible says that a person who is saved cares about obeying God and doing what is right. It also says that he or she has repented of (turned from) their sins - they won't live in a continued sinful lifestyle (Romans 6). This doesn't mean that you'll be perfect and never make mistakes, but it does mean that your life should reflect what you say you believe. If it doesn't, then the Bible says that you should have reason to be concerned. (Read First John, chapter 1)
Faith in Action
In the Bible, James 2 says in effect that talk is cheap - true faith always results in action. As far as faith is concerned, talk is not only cheap, it doesn't do you a bit of good. You could compare this concept this way: Imagine that someone knocked on your door and told you that in 15 minutes, a large meteor will hit your town and you need to leave. If you truly believe that person, you will take action as a result. Jesus said that those that truly believe in Him will follow Him and obey His commands (John 10:27-28). According to Scripture, if you say you believe in Jesus, yet don't do what He said to do, you show that you really do not believe. You are like the person who stays in the house when that meteor really is coming. Saying you believe in Jesus does not save you (Luke 6:46). Truly believing is what saves you, and it is evidenced by the resulting action in your life.
The only thing worse than going to hell is ending up there after thinking you were a Christian on your way to heaven. Again, I must reiterate that the way you live does not determine your salvation. The Bible says that simply faith in Jesus Christ is the way to be saved (John 3:16). But being saved always produces the evidence of a new, changed life.
It needs to be made very clear that the Bible says that 'works' or the things we do are not what saves us, nor do we 'keep' our salvation through 'works'. We are saved by faith alone, and real salvation is forever. But the Bible says that eternal, saving faith always produces a person who is changed and lives differently. If there is no change or difference, then that shows that there was no salvation! (again, read First John, chapter 1)
Passing The Test
So, I encourage you to examine yourself. There is no way that I, nor anyone else, can know what is truly in your heart. Only you and God know.
Does your life reflect salvation and becoming a 'new creature' in Christ? If not, you need to be aware that you are still in danger. But you still have hope. You can be sure of salvation by simply turning from your sin and turning to Jesus Christ with a sincere heart. Just like with the Prodigal Son, He won't hesitate to save you from your sins and make you that 'new person' that He promised to make you! Then, as the Holy Spirit is present in your life, you will see the change in yourself and will have the assurance of heaven - and know that when you 'examine yourself' again, you'll pass the test!
My objective here is not to make Christians doubt their faith, but rather to awaken those who may not be saved to the reality of their situation. The Bible describes many people that initially followed Jesus, but didn't stay with Him because their faith was not genuine. Those people, and ones like them in today's world, will be the ones that say 'Lord, Lord, did we not do many things in your name, etc' on that fateful day, and only hear 'Depart from Me, I never knew you".
It is so simple to avoid that fate - and obtain heaven forever - by just turning to Jesus with a sincere, repentant heart.
If you'd like me to help you start a new life with Christ, visit "The Message" page.
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