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Examine Ourselves

We are living in a time when the Lord could return at any moment. Will you be ready when he comes? We must examine ourselves to make sure we are. We know not the day nor hour that our Lord will return, neither do we know the day and hour that we will die. If we are ready for one we will be ready for the other.

When I ask people if they know that they will go to be with the Lord when He comes back or if they should die, they usually answer, "Yes, I'm going to go to heaven when I die."  When asked, "Upon what basis?"  They say that they believe and have faith and that they are a good person and they know they're going to go to heaven.  When asked if they go to church and read the Bible, they usually answer that you don't have to go to church to go to heaven.  They don't read the Bible, but say that you don't have to do that to go to heaven either.  They say they know their heart is right and restate that they have faith.  Then John 3:16 is usually quoted as "whoever believes in Him would be saved."  They say that most of the people who go to church are nothing but hypocrites anyway.  

We mention the hypocrites in the church and we see them as what?  Do we see them as saved people that are living a double life, or do we see them as lost people acting like they are saved?  Do we really get right down to where the rubber meets the road?  Are we basing our salvation on what we see the "hypocrites" do, how we feel about ourselves, or are we basing our salvation on what the Word of God says?

I say I have faith.  Do I really have faith?  Can the faith that I have save me?   Let's see what the Bible says.

The Bible says "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;...." (2 Corinthians 13:5)  Just one of the ways we need to examine ourselves is according to the following verses:

James 2:14-26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

This is a brief comment by the Bible commentator Matthew Henry about the verses above.

MHC - Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do.  No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ's righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith.   A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls?  Can this faith save him?   All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls.  This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith.  There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes.  Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not.  There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ.  True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart.  That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab.  Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.  Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours.  We see then, James 2:24, how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works.  And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer.  Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners.  Rahab's conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding.   Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle.  By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit. Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both.  This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it.   There is no middle state.  Every one must either live God's friend, or God's enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but everything for him and to him.

In light of the above, let us examine ourselves, "How is it with me?" We must be honest with ourselves. Our eternal destiny is at stake.