Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Make your calling and election sure!

One thing that seems to get overlooked in the Christian life is the practice of self examination. The most important point of self examination is for the believer to know that he is truly the Lords---or in the words of of Peter, "making your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10).

Throughout the pages of the Bible we are confronted with the reality of false professions, false prophets, and those who are self-deceived. Jesus says, "Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, see Matthew 7: 21. Again, this issue is addressed by our Lord in the gospel of  Mark when he says, " Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not what I say?" (6:46), the implication of what our Lord is saying is that there will be those who think they are His, but in reality they are not---this is the group of people who will hear the dreadful words from our Lord, "depart from me, for I never knew you" (Matt. 7: 23).

One of the dangers in our churches today is the profusion of a teaching called "easy- believism," you might be saying, "what is easy- believism?" So that question should get answered. First, let me say that any deviation from the gospel the Apostle Paul preached is to be avoided and is to be considered heresy, see Galatians 1:8 "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse."

Easy-believism certainly falls under the heading of "another gospel!" I'll make this as simple as possible, for one, easy-believism's emphasis is on "the decision" that one makes. This emphasis on the "decision" leads to making salvation man centered instead of God centered. A decision for Christ does not save us, if the decision saved us then salvation would be considered a human work, and we know from Paul's teaching in his letter to the Church at Ephesus that we are saved by grace through faith and not of ourselves (2: 8-9).

When we place our faith in the "decision" we are  indeed placing our faith in something "other" than God's work of regeneration in the sinners soul. Apart from God regenerating the dead, blind, and spiritually deaf sinner they would never come to faith (or a decision).

There is much more that can be said about the dangers of easy-believism, but for now just the understanding that this heretical teaching emphasizes man's decision for salvation while ignoring the work of God in the sinners heart should be enough.

So how does one examine himself/herself to make their calling and election sure, or really know if they are saved? How does one examine their lives to make sure that they are truly the Lords? and  avoid hearing those dreadful words on the day of judgement; " I never knew you, depart from me."

Any self-examination must start with what you believe about the gospel as taught in the Holy Scriptures:
1. Dispel any notion that a decision saves you.

2. Stop trusting in your decision and understand that salvation is completely a work of God.
3. Get an understanding of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of regeneration.
4. Know what the Bible teaches about salvation: regeneration, justification, conversion, sanctification etc.
5. Humble yourself before God and ask Him to show you where your trust is being placed? And if you have your trust in anything other than the Cross of Jesus ask God to grant you repentance and cling to the cross as your only hope of salvation.

Self-examination must also include looking at the fruit in your life:1. Jesus told us by their fruits you will know them (that you are His).
2. Sanctification is the evidence that regeneration has truly taken place in your life.

3. Do you have new desires and new motives?
4. Do you seek and desire to do God's will (as revealed in the Holy Scriptures)?

5. Does disobedience to God's revealed will bring deep grief  and repentance into your life?

Go into your prayer closet and do some good old detective work and see if their is the evidence in your life that would indicate that you are a Child of God. This is one of the most important disciplines that one could ever practice---in fact, your eternity depends on it!

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