A Biblical Test of Salvation
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5
Those are the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. James, the brother of Jesus, referred to a certain type of faith as a "dead faith" (James 2). This is a person who makes a profession of faith, but is not in possession of true saving faith. This faith does not save. You die with this type of faith and you don’t inherit the Kingdom of God, instead you perish forever.
I want to encourage you to spend some time pondering just exactly what kind of faith you possess. Just like we visit the doctor regularly to see how we are doing physically (because it’s so important to make sure our body is functioning in a healthy manner), likewise we should regularly give ourselves a spiritual check-up to evaluate the state of our soul.
This test is for each individual to examine his/her own life. I’m not here to judge you, or make any sort of pronouncement regarding the state of your soul. I have taken this test for myself, and I would encourage you to do the same. This is between you and the Lord.
Before we begin, we must first remember that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8,9) There is nothing that we could do (or not do), to make us right with God. Our right standing before God is solely based upon the finished work of Jesus.
Having said that, there are what I would call earmarks (or characteristics of the true Christian life), that we can look to and utilize for our honest assessment. You’ll notice each of these characteristics find their origin in the pages of Scripture. That means these are not my own arbitrary criteria, but this is what God says.
The Bible speaks about fruit. In spiritual terms this is basically our actions and the heart motivation behind our actions – the things we think, say and do. Just like an apple tree produces apples, the Christian life will produce a certain type of fruit. The Bible refers to this fruit as the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5) The person who possesses true saving faith will begin to think, speak, and act in a certain way (and continue on in increasing measure to some degree). Their faith will show itself in a very observable way, such as general patterns of attitude and behavior.
The questions below will help explain what I mean. Ask yourself each question and then answer honestly. Remember, sanctification (the process of growing in holiness and continual conformity into the image of Christ) is just that – a process. It doesn’t happen all at once.
However, at the same time, if you find yourself consistently answering “No” to each question, I would be concerned. You may be holding onto a "dead faith" that will not save you on judgment day.
Jesus said that there will be many on that day who will say "Lord, Lord", and to which Jesus will respond, "Depart from Me, I never knew you." I don’t want you to be one of those people. Therefore examine yourself, and if you fail the test, repent and believe.
1. Do you hunger for God’s Word, the Bible?
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:1-3
2. Do You Pray Regularly?
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
3. Do You Have Love for God?
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
4. Do You Love Fellow Believers?
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:14
The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1 John 2:9
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7,8
5. Have You Experienced Separation and/or Rejection from the World?
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15
Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
1 John 3:13
6. Do You Have Godly Sorrow that Leads You to Repentance?
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10
7. Do You See a Decreasing Pattern of Sin in Your Life?
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:6,7
The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:8-10
8. Do you obey God's word?
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
You are My friends if you do what I command you.
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
9. Do You Have a Clear Conscience?
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
1 John 3:21
10. Do You Possess Genuine Humility?
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
11. Do You Bear Fruit?
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
12. Do You Have a Biblical Christology? (The study of Christ)
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God;
1 John 4:2,3a
13. Do You Eagerly Await Jesus’ Return?
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
14. Are You Devoted to God’s Glory?
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
15. Have You Experienced Life Transformation?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17