“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV).
GIVEN THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD, THERE IS NO HIGHER PRIORITY FOR US THAN SELF-EXAMINATION. Are we, or are we not, in a right relationship with Him? Do we, or do we not, have the hope of eternal life? And no less critical is this question: by what standard are we going to judge these matters? If we never question ourselves, we may spend our lives climbing the ladder and find that our ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.
Paul’s instruction to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” was written to a group of Christians. One of the worst things a Christian can do is take his salvation for granted. Without self-examination, we may find ourselves in the same situation as some of the Corinthians, with a confidence about being “in the faith” that goes beyond what is warranted by the facts.
But what is the application of this principle to non-Christians? If you are presently committed to some other path, is self-examination something you are willing to do? If the gospel of Christ is true, your salvation depends on letting go of your present position.
No matter where any of us may be in relation to Jesus Christ, there are two qualities of character required of us: honesty and courage. Without the honesty to see where we’ve been out of sync with God’s will, we won’t change. And without the courage to change, honesty will only make our conscience more painful. So “examine yourselves” is a serious challenge to us all. It tests our integrity at the deepest level. Are we willing to question whether our relationship to God is really what we’ve been thinking it was?
None of us gets to any significant destination without making many mid-course corrections. Even in the humdrum activities of daily life, we have to be willing to make adjustments. How much more, then, must we be “correctable” when it comes to life’s most important issue: the status of our relationship to God. While life lasts, there is no correction we cannot make — but making the changes that will lead us to God’s presence in eternity requires the honesty to admit we have been wrong and the courage to change for the better.
“Absolute candor is an indispensable requisite to salvation” (A. W. Tozer).