Winter Blahs?

Science tell us that no snowflake has the same design. I accept that to be true. But I think you would have to examine every flake that ever fell to the ground to be one hundred percent certain.

This year a lot of those flakes have fallen here in Western Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction was right; six more weeks of winter. Although most of us want it to end, winter landscapes express the majesty of God’s creation.

God has used snow and cold literally and figuratively in His word. Enjoy the scenery and be encouraged by His Word.

“You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.” Psalm 74:17

From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind,
And cold from the scattering winds of the north.
By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen. Job 37:9, 10

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6

God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’ Job 37:5, 6

The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:15, 16

To me, snow shows the beauty of God’s holiness. It makes a dirty drab land look clean and beautiful. It reminds me how the the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all of our sin and has made us a new creation in Him (II Cor. 5:17). His word is the solution for the winter blahs.

Find out how to be secure in your relationship with God.

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I invite you to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace.

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The Golden Age

In the last couple of blogs, we saw that the rapture happens and then the return of Jesus Christ to the earth several years later. One of the things that seeming indicates His soon return to earth will be the establishment of a one world government ruled by one person. Much of humanity believes that government is our answer to the problems of the world. Dr. Renald Showers aptly states in his book, The Most High God, “Ironically, the more man tries to establish Utopia through self-rule the more his situation worsens. Instead of ruling the world in an orderly, meaningful way, he brings disorder, instability, and chaos. He is haunted by the prospect of death and the fear that life has no ultimate purpose or meaning.” 

Things appear to be aligning for this future conflict of two competing world kingdoms on earth. One has meaning and purpose; and one doesn’t. Neither can exist at the same time. One will be ruled by a ruthless dictator, commonly known as the antichrist.  The other will be ruled by the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Obviously, Jesus wins. 

The Government of Jesus vs. The Government of Antichrist
Jesus government will never end. (Is. 9:7) Antichrist’s government will be destroyed. (Dan. 2:44) 
He will rule with justice and righteousness in the earth.  (Jer. 23:6) He will execute wickedness in the earth. (Rev. 13:5-6) 
He brings real peace to earth. (Is. 9:6)  He shall bring false peace. (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 13:7; 19:19) 
He shall act wisely. (Jer. 23:5) His wisdom will be earthly, sensual, and demonic. (James 3:15; II Thess. 2:9, 10) 
He will make a covenant of peace with Israel resulting in their security. (Ez. 34:25-30) He will make a peace covenant with Israel resulting in their near annihilation. (Dan. 9:27, 12:1; Zech. 13:8-14:2) 
He will regather Jewish people back to Israel where they will prosper. (Matt. 24:31; Is. 11:11; Ez. 36:29-38) He will persecute the Jewish people and many will flee Jerusalem and Israel. (Rev. 12:13, -17; Matt. 24:15-21) 
Which one do you want to be part of?
Two Kingdoms

Since the beginning of creation, people have been aligning with one kingdom or the other. Those who have by faith decided to believe on the Lord for salvation will be part of His future kingdom on earth. They will be with Him as He reigns on the earth for one thousand years. Afterward He will make a new heaven and new earth.

The Antichrist’s Kingdom

The antichrist’s kingdom will last for a short time, about seven years. It will be destroyed and he will be cast into the Lake of Fire with the false prophet and those who received the mark, his followers. In addition, those in Hades and the devil will also be cast into the Lake of Fire with them. (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14)

A Choice to be made

Whose government do you want to be a part of? When you add it all up, the choice doesn’t seem that difficult. Everlasting life and peace comes with the decision to trust God’s way (John 3:16; 14:6). Everlasting death and destruction comes with the decision not to. The ‘Golden Age’ will truly be when Jesus returns to rule and reign on earth!

Find out how you can know for certain you will be part of GOD’s KINGDOM ON EARTH!

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Purchase, Assurance of Heaven. It is an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know with certainty that heaven (God’s kingdom) is your final and forever destination. You can also download the FREE study guide that compliments the book.

7 Things that Point to the End

In the last blog we saw that the rapture is an imminent event. Unlike the second coming, the rapture of the church can happen at any moment. There are no signs indicating when it might happen. However, the Bible does identify numerous things that will take place before Christ returns to earth to set up His kingdom.  

Here is a short summary of seven things that point to the season of end time events: 

  1. The Existence of Israel – This may be the most significant of Bible prophecies setting up the return of Jesus Christ. God had promised to bring them back into the land after a worldwide dispersion. (Is. 11:12; Jer. 29:14; Ez. 37:21) Daniel prophesied that a treaty will be confirmed with the nation of Israel after the death of the Messiah. (Dan. 9:26-27) In order for this to happen, Israel must exist as a nation. For almost two thousand years the land of Israel was controlled by Gentile powers. Israel is the only nation that was ever destroyed; it’s people dispersed; it’s language disappeared; and then after 2000 years, it’s people are brought back to the land and reestablished as a sovereign nation. That happened on May 14, 1948 and puts in place a vital piece of the puzzle to fulfill end time events.

2. A Temple – There will be a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. In 2012 prophecy teacher Jimmy De Young wrote an article titled, Preparing for the Third Temple. The Jewish Rabbis in Israel are preparing the garments and vessels for a temple. The Bible tells us that in the middle of the seven-year treaty, the antichrist breaks his covenant by desolating the temple. “He sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God” (II Thess. 2:4) Matthew calls this the abomination of desolation. (Matt. 24:15) Although the temple mount is still a very disputed area, Dr. De Young suggests that the Temple Mount and the rebuilding of the Temple will be the place and the project to watch in 2021.

3. One World Government – There will be a worldwide government. Jesus will come back, destroy this kingdom, and set up His kingdom.  (Dan. 2:28-44; Dan. 7:23-28; Rev. 13:7-8) In case you missed it, the World Government Summit gathers annually in Dubai. There is no doubt that the world is heading toward a one world government. The Covid-19 pandemic is causing government leaders to take another step in this direction.

4. One World Ruler – There will be a one-man world ruler, usually referred to as the antichrist. Kingdoms always require a king. (Dan. 7:23-24; Rev. 13:4-5) At some point he will set himself up in the Jewish temple claiming to be God. (II Thess. 2:4) At His second coming, Jesus will cast the antichrist (the world ruler) into the lake of fire. (Rev. 19:20) 

5. The Ability to Control Buying or Selling– No one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast on their right hand or on the forehead. (Rev. 13:16-17) The word for “mark” comes from a Greek word meaning “to engrave”. “Mark” is translated as “to stamp or to impress”. It could very well be related to some sort of tattoo. One scholar suggests that the word “mark” is probably connected with ancient customs. Domestic slave owners sometimes branded their slaves with their mark. At the mid point of the great tribulation, the antichrist will require this mark in order to buy or sell. It’s only in recent history that the technology exists for this to be enforced. For example, the Summit supercomputer can calculate in one second what it would take a person six billions years to do. Recently, Amazon has developed technology where you can pay by scanning the palm of your hand.

6. Alignment of the Nations – The modern-day alignment of nations that are enemies of Israel fits perfectly with Biblical prophecy. Ezekiel prophesied that Russia, Iran, Turkey, and others will come against Israel (Ez. 38, 39). Psalm 83 lists ten people groups that currently surround Israel and will form a confederacy against them. Their common bond is a shared hatred of Israel. They call for Israel’s destruction, “Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more” (Ps. 83:4). Sound familiar? 

7. The Increase of Evil – “But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).  “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power ” (I Tim. 3:1-5).  It will be a time when evil may actually appear to be winning the day. Within my lifetime, 69 years, it is evident that the world is becoming worse in its morals and practices.

Students of Bible prophecy see these trends as precursors to fulfillment. For the first time in human history, a number of major prophesies seem to be converging at the same time to set the stage for the end. How much longer? God only knows.

Learn more about how to start a relationship with God.

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How Long O’ Lord?

It’s interesting how many Christians ‘feel’ the Lord’s return for His church is soon.  When so many people are talking about something, you start to think they might be right. Christians, who believe in the rapture, base their belief on a number of things. Certainly their belief is based on scripture, the condition of the world with the pandemic, the increasing amount of evil, and all the corruption we see in our government.   

And though I agree with their assessment to some extent, the Bible teaches us that the rapture is an imminent event. In another words, it can happen at any time. Usually, we think more about it when things are bad or aren’t going our way.  

The Rapture is a Mystery

The apostle Paul spoke of it as a mystery (I Cor. 15:51).  In the Bible a mystery was truth that hadn’t been clearly revealed before. It was new information. It is something that is made known in a manner and time appointed by God. I have written before about the difference between the Second Coming and the Rapture.  https://assuranceofheaven.com/2020/07/17/the-end-of-days/ 

The Spanish Flu, WW I, & the End of the World

I shared with my friends what Christians might have been thinking in 1918. The Spanish flu began that year killing millions while World War I had been going on for four years (1914-1918). One writer commented, “War, famine, disease and death occurred on a worldwide stage and on a scale that truly was unprecedented.”  Although the rapture was not a prevalent teaching then, I’m sure many thought the end was near.  

The Expectation of the Early Church

Because the rapture is imminent, meaning there are no signs that precede it, it could have occurred anytime since the ascension of our Lord back to heaven. Jesus could have come back in the first century. The early church expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. The book of James is one of the earliest New Testament books. Guided by the Spirit of God, he stated that “the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8). He also said, “Behold the judge is standing at the door” (James 5:9). He told them to “be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord (James 5:7). 

Dr. Renald Showers in his book, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, cites Greek scholars that show “draws near” (v. 8) and “is standing” (v. 9) are in the perfect tense and indicative mood. This means that the action was completed before James wrote his epistle and continues on in that completed state. It suggests that Jesus coming is still near and He continues standing at the door. 

2000 years Later

 In the first century some decried, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (II Peter 3:4). And now it is almost 2000 years later. Today people are saying the same thing. But what is often overlooked is that God’s love delays His justice. The Lord is longsuffering not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9).  We all should be thankful for that!

It’s been a long time since His promise. But, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) He has promised that He is coming for His church. We just don’t know when. Are you looking for the Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ? (Titus 2:13) It could be sooner than soon. Could be today!

You can know you have everlasting life and will go to be with the Lord at the rapture.

Thanks for visiting. I invite you to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace!

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Purchase, Assurance of Heaven. It is an in-depth Biblical study into how you can know with certainty that heaven is your final and forever destination. You can also download the FREE study guide that compliments the book.

Assured Hope

The week before Christmas we lost two friends to the Covid virus. Their age and comorbidities were contributing factors. But both were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet in some ways it doesn’t make it any easier to lose a loved one.

A friend of mine wrote the following blog which I thought was very appropriate concerning the death of a Christian. It speaks to the heart of those who are dealing with the loss from a Biblical perspective.

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep (died), lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

The Apostle Paul says Christians should not mourn the death of their loved ones in Christ the same way those without Christ mourn their loss. What does that mean? Does it mean the whites of our eyes not be turned red with tears? Does it say we put on a brave front and a good show for the world? Does it mean we go about like rocks, unemotional and unbreakable? When the doctor offers his condolences and informs you your parent or spouse has died, what is a Christian to do? When your baby never lives to be born or lies still in the crib, never to awaken, does being a Christian steel you to the body blows of loss and emptiness? If you sit up waiting to hear your teenager’s key in the front door, and instead, the phone rings and the voice on the other end shatters your life…..

Christians feel. Christians feel things deeply in their quickened spirits. Christians mourn. Christians grieve over the death, sin, suffering, injustice, perversion, and the rampant evil in this world. So what is Paul telling you and me? He is telling us to cry away the whites of our eyes, but do so with the assured hope that Jesus will wipe away our tears. He is telling us to endure the body blows of loss and that painful empty feeling deep inside, but do so with the assured hope that Jesus will comfort us and fill us with His love amid our pain. Be breakable, vulnerable, and honest in our grief before the world, but do so with the assured hope that Jesus will ultimately heal our broken hearts.

The citizens of this world wander about in confusion when faced with mortality and seek an unknown higher power or one of the earth’s thousand and one religions in a vain attempt to find answers. They say of the dead, with uncertainty, “Well, they’re in a better place now.” Not so for Christians, citizens of heaven; we see life and death in Christ-illuminated clarity. We have an assured hope in Jesus Christ, who died, was buried and rose again. Our loved ones who have died in Christ are with Him, and when He comes again, they will accompany Him.

What glorious reunions await us when our temporal earthly mourning gives way to a fantastic new spring-fresh eternal heavenly morning. That is the assured hope of the believer. Thank You, Lord Jesus! https://calvarybaptistirwin.org/blog.html

You can know you have assurance and will one day go to be with the Lord.

Learn how to share the gospel with others.

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Do You Have True Peace?

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6, 7

Two thousand years ago Jesus was born of a virgin.  God did not send Him into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). He restored the relationship between man and God. Thus by faith we can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

Jesus came the first time as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He’s coming back a second time to rule and reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16).  And the Lord shall be King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). That’s the full message of Christmas.

Although family gatherings, feasts, and gifts may be fun things to do, you have missed the true Person of Christmas if that is all it is for you. Jesus Christ is coming back to set up His kingdom on earth. He’ coming to bring true peace on earth. Are you ready to meet Him?

Learn how you can have peace with God this Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Next Generation

Growing up in a rural area, there were a lot of folks around us who had gardens. My grandfather lived on one side of us and my uncle on the other side. They always planted a garden. But gardens seemed to have lost their importance with the ease of going to a grocery store to get your food.

I should have no problem growing a garden, but I would. That skill was not passed on to me. Generations lose out when valuable information is not passed on. The same is true in the spiritual realm.

God had commanded the Israelites to teach their children the commands given to them in the law.  They were to do this diligently and often –“when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:7)  In this way future generations would know the Lord and follow Him. The result would be that God would continue to bless them and protect them. (Deut. 28:1-14)  And they would fulfill their God intended purpose of being a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation, while witnessing to the one true God. (Ex. 19:6; Is. 43:10, 12)

But after Joshua and his generation died, the next generation of Israelites began to back slide. They  “did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.” (Judges 2:11)  Why would they do this?  The previous verse gives some light. After the death of Joshua, the next generation “did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which he had done for Israel.” (v. 10)  How could they not know? 

There are certainly other issues involved in them not knowing the Lord, such as their own heart conditions and the failure of the previous generation to cast out all the inhabitants of the land.  Yet it is also apparent that the older generation failed to communicate the commandments and the faithfulness of the Lord to their sons and daughters. This failure resulted in significant consequences for the nation.

There are some today that question the effectiveness of the church. Could it be that we failed to share our faith with the next generation. Did we miss the opportunities at the dinner table or while riding in the car or after church on Sunday?  Discipleship begins in the home. If you have young children you can start now.  If you’re a grand parent, you can have a significant influence on the faith of your grandchildren.  We may have failed in the past, but we can change that today.

Some have the skills to teach a person how to grow a garden. But more importantly if you are a Christian, you can share with them the truth about our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. This will have an everlasting influence.

Psalm 78:5-7  For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments…

Find out that you can know that God loves you know no matter what you have done.

Bushy Run, a Place of Solitude

Bushy Run is a stream that flows through western Pennsylvania. It’s also the name of a historic site. A significant battle was fought here between the British and Native Americans led by Chief Pontiac. This picture displays the path that leads to the flour bag fort where much of the fighting took place in 1763.

Although the history is significant, for me the 213 acre park serves as place of solace and a place where I can comtemplate on our Creator. I have hiked off and on here for 50 years. The peace and serenity reminds me of a future day when everything in our world will be made right. “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A king shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

I have probably clocked 3,000 to 4,000 miles walking the trails and paths of Bushy Run over these many years. I have walked in solitude. I have walked with friends. I have hiked on a cold snowy winter’s day and in the cool of the day on a summer morning. Those hikes through the hills have been a constant reminder; “From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1)

Autumn as beautiful as it is, reminds us that winter is coming. The leaves die and the bleakness of winter landscapes slowly appears. That’s why I like the snow. It covers that bleakness with a blanket of purity. “Come let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)

We all need a place of solitude, a place where we can be without distraction. Bushy Run has been one of those places for me. Its a place that brings me close to my Creator, where I am reminded of His faithfulness and His promise of everlasting life to those who have put their faith in Him. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”. (John 3:17) “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Heaven’s Surprise

I never had much interest in poetry. But every once in a while you come across a poem that is unique, makes you laugh, and/or communicates truth. The following one is unnamed by an unknown author concerning heaven. Although it contains some doctrinal inaccuracies, I think it captures a profound truth about the way many of us think when it comes to getting to heaven.

I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven’s door; Not by the beauty of it all, Nor the lights or its décor.

But it was the folks in Heaven Who made me sputter and gasp; The thieves, the liars, the sinners; The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade Who swiped my lunch money twice. Next to him was my old neighbor Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought Was rotting away in hell, Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal? I would love to hear Your take. How’d all these sinners get up here? God must’ve made a mistake.”

“And why is everyone so quiet, So somber; give me a clue.” “Hush, child,” He said, “They’re all in shock! No one thought they’d see you!”

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we can be good enough to be accepted by God. That’s because we compare ourselves to others; especially the thieves, druggies, and the immoral. “I’m better than those people”, I tell myself. “God will accept me because I’m a good person”, I reason.

But before a holy God, “there is none righteous, not even one”. (Romans 3:10) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23) Maybe the most self-righteous man before his conversion, the apostle Paul, after his conversion counted all his good works as rubbish (Philippians 3:8). He had hunted down Christians, threw them in jail and had them executed, thinking he was working for the Lord. (Acts 8:3) He approved the killing of Stephen (Acts 8:1). I’m sure he surprised Stephen the day he showed up at the Pearly Gates.

The fact is that heaven will be full of thieves, murders, adulterers, alcoholics, and many others. Rahab was a harlot. Samson was a womanizer. Jacob was a deceiver. David committed adultery and murder. Solomon worshipped other gods, sacrificing his children to them. Some in the Corinthian church got drunk while participating in the Lord’s supper. Others chased after riches and strayed from the faith. (I Timothy 6:10) The Bible is full of imperfect people who will be in heaven. The BIG question, “Will you be there?

There is only one way. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) His death on the cross paid for all of our sins; past present and future. His resurrection proved that He is God and that His sacrifice was all sufficient to restore man’s relationship with God. There’s not one thing we can add to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection that will make us more acceptable to God. Will you stand before God one day with all your rubbish? Or will you stand before Him with Jesus as your Savior? It simply requires a faith response from you to the Lord. Will you surprise someone in heaven someday?

Find out more about how to be sure of the way to heaven and a relationship with God.

Assurance of Heaven book. It weaves through common erroneous teaching today that causes believers to doubt their salvation. MAKES A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT!

You Sure You’re in the Faith?

“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”. (II Cor. 13:5) Are you disqualified? Have you done enough, behaved good enough? Many infer that you are to look to your good works and righteous living to prove (to yourself and others, I guess) that you are indeed saved (Qualified). But questions arise; “How many good works do you have to do and how righteous do you have to be?” How does one measure those things?

I wrote about this verse in my book, Assurance of Heaven. Following is an excerpt from the chapter explaining the proper interpretation that will help those who have believed in Christ to be secure in their faith.

Understanding II Corinthians 13:3

‘At one time, I used this verse out of context. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” In other words, make sure you are persevering as evidence you are a “true” believer. A fellow brother in the Lord told me that he tells his adult children this. But, how many times do you have to examine yourself to conclude you are indeed in the kingdom? It seems to me that a better solution would be to have a conversation about the Lord. In doing so, it would be easier to know what they have trusted to save from the penalty of sin. If they have placed their faith in the person and work of Christ, then it would be better to reassure them that they are saved, because Jesus says they are. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).

When well-meaning folks tell others to examine themselves, they are only training them to look at their works (religious activity) and behavior. This results in only two possibilities. I am in because I think I’m a good person, or I am not because I’m not living righteously enough. It leads to the road of self-righteousness or the road of despair. In my case, it could have led me to despair, except that I weaved through all the erroneous teaching by comparing it to God’s Word. In the end, examining your works doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. When it comes to being delivered from the penalty of sin, has one believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? That is the issue.

No one is ever told in Scripture to look at your works to determine whether you’re saved or not. (Not even in the book of James as we will see in Chapter 14.) It may be good for believers to do so to determine whether they are in fellowship with the Lord. Do I need to confess some sinful way and forsake it, to be delivered from the power of sin, so that I am glorifying God with my life and have his hand of blessing on me? That should be a continual practice, but not to determine whether one is saved or not from the penalty of sin.

So what does this verse mean? Well, first of all, trying to understand any verse out of context will usually lead you to a wrong understanding. The background here is that the Corinthian church questioned the proof of Christ speaking in the apostle (2 Cor. 13:3). In the three chapters before this, he is defending his apostleship (10-12). He appeals to the signs of a true apostle that were accomplished among them, “in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12).

Back in chapter three, he wrote they were “an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, the heart” (v. 3). From this you can see the apostle is not questioning the sincerity of their salvation. However, they questioned his authority to speak on behalf of Christ: “since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me” (2 Cor. 13:3).

He tells them to examine themselves to see whether they were in the faith. If they answer yes, then they are the proof that Christ is speaking in the apostle, because Christ saved them through Paul’s ministry of the gospel (Acts 18:1-11). Thomas Stegall points out, according to the grammar of the verse, Paul assumes the Corinthians are not “disqualified,” but are truly “in the faith” and “Christ is in [them].” In other words, the apostle expected them to respond positively that they were in the faith. Thus, ironically by affirming they were saved, they were also affirming the truth and proof that Christ was speaking in the apostle.’

This verse has nothing to do with looking at your performance to judge whether you are in the faith. Anyone who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved and has eternal life.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

Find out more about your security in Christ

Find out more about the book, Assurance of Heaven. It weaves through common erroneous teaching today that causes believers to doubt their salvation.