by Matt Slick
The Bible says "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Cor. 13:5). Well, are you in the faith? Have you examined yourself? It is easy to ask and sometimes difficult to answer.
The Christian faith is as follows. There is one God in all existence who is eternally existent from the past through to the future. God is a Trinity of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14); they are not three gods, but one God (Is. 44:6-8). Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God that became flesh (John 1:1,14) and was made under the Law (Gal. 4:4). Because we are sinners (Rom. 3:23), who have broken God's law (James 2:11), and because we cannot be saved in anyway by our own works (Rom. 4:1-5), Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), died, was buried, and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4), in the same body He died in (John 2:19-21) so that as many as receive Christ (John 1:12) are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) and escape the righteous wrath of God (Rom. 5:9).
What a lot of people fail to realize is that Jesus is not saving us from sin. Jesus is saving us from God! You see, when a person breaks the Law of God, there is a punishment that must be carried out upon that person. God is the one who carries out that punishment. This punishment is eternal because God is eternally holy and righteous. Our sins against God take on an infinite quality not because of who we are, but because of who God is -- because we have offended an eternal and infinite God. Therefore, the sinner incurs an eternal and infinite offense against God. This means there is absolutely no way that a finite, sinful creature can undo the offense against an infinitely pure Being. This is why we need Jesus who is God in flesh. This means that His sacrifice has eternal and infinite value and it is infinitely sufficient to save us from our sins. Therefore, this means that it is only through Jesus that we can be saved and not by our own efforts in any way.
It is God who damns. It is God who judges. Sin does not send people to hell. God does. Of course, this is not a popular or "feel-good" notion that God is the one who is righteously judging the sinner and righteously condemning him to eternal hell. But, that is the truth. Yet, thanks be to God that because He loves us, He sent His son to save us from our sins so that we might escape the righteous judgment of God. God is not some eternal ogre waiting to spit His wrath upon the weak and helpless. Not at all. He is loving and good and gracious and He desires that all be saved. He offers the sacrifice of His Son as the loving and gracious means by which we may be saved. It is a miraculous and wondrous act of love.
Now, what about you? Have you completely trusted in Jesus and in nothing else for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you received Christ? Are you relying on Jesus and Him alone for your righteousness, for your safety, your forgiveness, or are you putting even the smallest bit of your works before God as part of the reason you are to be saved? If you are relying in anyway on your efforts, then you are in great danger of damnation, if you're saved at all. Righteousness before God does not come by your efforts, but through the sacrifice of Christ; otherwise, Jesus died needlessly (Gal. 2:21). If you could get to heaven by being good, then there was no need for Jesus to die for sins.
You are to examine yourself, to test yourself to see if you are in the faith. This means that you must first know what the Christian faith is and what it means that to enter into that faith. Furthermore, you must know and acknowledge that there is only one God in all existence, that Jesus is God in flesh, that you are a sinner, that you need to repent of your sins, and that the only way to find forgiveness is to trust in Jesus alone, by faith alone, through grace alone.
Don't waste any time wondering. If you aren't sure, ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (1 Cor. 1:2). Receive Him (John 1:12). Turn from your sins and to Him. Trust Him alone.