How to test ourselves to determine whether our faith is genuine?

Hello

I was wondering how others go about testing their faith to make sure that they are walking in the Will of God and so being obedient? It appears from Matthew 7:21-23 that many people will believe that they are actually doing the will of God by the outcome of their actions, but in actual fact will be living in disobedience.

Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

2 Corinthians 13:5-6: 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! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.

How do some of you go about testing your faith and is this meant to be an ongoing process?

Thank you

Brian :slightly_smiling_face:

4 Likes

I don’t “test my faith” like a science experiment. Totally wrong way to go about it.

I have doubts, I pray, God answers. Works every time.

There are other verses about faith being tested. It is unclear to me who does the testing between Satan and God. In one way it is God as He controls all things. On the other hand, God uses Satan to fulfill His purposes.

Personally, I think that our response to suffering will reveal whether our faith is real. When our lives gets really difficult in all aspects, for example in Job’s case, what surfaces will show how genuine we are.

4 Likes

Yes, Mui Ling Lim - Jesus said that real Christians bear fruit. When the heat of trials tests them, they don’t wither - they bear fruit. When the cares of this world call to them, they don’t choke - they bear fruit. When the devil’s lies would take the word from them - their good soil receives it and bears fruit. Some may only bear 30-fold, some may bear 100 - but every branch rooted in the vine bears fruit. Dead branches that aren’t connected are gathered and burned.

In the disturbing story in Matthew 7, Jesus had just been talking about good trees bringing forth good fruit, and bad trees bringing forth evil. Then He warns of pretenders saying unto Him, “Lord, Lord!” Notice at the end of verse 22 what they were resting their expectation of salvation on - “have we not done many wonderful works?”

But is that really what our salvation should hinge upon? Only faith in Christ’s wonderful work grafts us into Him and enables us to bring forth the kind of fruit He mentions at the end of verse 21 - “the will of my Father which is in heaven.” The true nature of pretenders is described at the end of verse 23 - they “work iniquity”.

Each tree brings forth fruit according to its nature. You want a reliable test of genuine salvation? Try this - is your spirit able to really enjoy what you know the Bible condemns? If the Holy Spirit lives inside you, He will grieve your heart when you sin (Ephesians 4:30). He will vex the righteous soul (II Peter 2:7-8). A Christian’s flesh may relish sin, but his spirit will cringe even as he gives in to it. He may not be bothered by sins he’s unaware of, but as he grows in knowledge and discovers God’s will more perfectly, he will strive to purify his life because the new nature born in him at salvation cannot be comfortable living in sin (I John 3:9-10).

I hope this helps!

5 Likes

I appreciate your question and thanks to those that have responded. The first thing I saw in your question made me reflect on the fact that we are all sinners saved by grace, and there is none good not one except Jesus. No perfect person ever existed except Him. No perfectly functional family Except Father, Son ,Holy Ghost. We are in, going in, or coming out of Tests and trials.
Realizing these facts I must believe and have a foundation in someone greater.
As an example.
In Luke Luke 4:1‭-‬13 NKJV When Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
My point is how do we respond when a test or temptation comes. Like Jesus am I trusting in His finished work or my ability to overcome. He was at His weakest this far in the wilderness yet the word sustained Him. Though it had not been written yet He was the epitome of His words to Paul.
II Corinthians 12:9 NKJV And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Hope I made myself clear, Jesus trusted in the infallible word of God so should I.

3 Likes

@Brian_Upsher Great question :slight_smile: To answer your specific questions about these passages, we need to read them in context. If we do, we will immediately recognize that both Jesus and Paul were addressing very specific concerns.

  • in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was warning against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and teachers of the law; about fearing God rather than man. As long as we truly seeking God, then we do not need to worry about falling short in this way. Praying and giving in secret are ways suggested by Jesus to grow in assurance in this area.
  • in 2 Corinthians, Paul is addressing unrepentant people who are participating in some very egregious sins—the test for these is simple. Is there any sin we know of for which we are not repenting? In Psalms 19 David prays for God to cleanse him of his hidden faults. I think that is also a great practice. And it is important to remember that God does not love us because we are good, He makes us good because He loves us.

Matthew 6:1 - “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 Cor 12:20-21 - For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

Hope that helps :slight_smile: May Christ grant you wisdom in this matter.

How we Know We are Saved

Not a definitive answer, but here are some thoughts.

The article from Gospel coalition suggest that there are 3 signs: theological, moral and social.

  • theological - we believe in Jesus as revealed by the Scriptures
  • moral - growing in righteousness as defined by Scripture gives us confidence (whereas sin leads to confusion)
  • social - our love for other Christians and those in need should be a sign of indwelling of the Holy Spirit
4 Likes

One of my favorite passages in the Bible was probably an immensely difficult moral decision for Christ to make. Sometimes moral choices are like tests as well. But here is the passage:

Matt. 15:21 Now Yeshua left from there and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that district came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, O Master, Ben-David! My daughter is severely tormented by a demon.”

Matt. 15:23 But He did not answer her a word. And when His disciples came, they were urging Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”

Matt. 15:24 But He responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matt. 15:25 So she came and got down on her knees before Him, saying, “Master, help me!”

Matt. 15:26 And answering, He said, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Matt. 15:27 But she said, “Yes, Master, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Matt. 15:28 Then answering, Yeshua said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed in that very hour.

How complex is this moral dilemma exactly?

It was a woman which means Jesus shouldn’t have helped her. It was a Canaanite which was the sworn enemy of Israel. Jesus came for the Jews, so he shouldn’t have helped her. What I infer from the text is that rather than feeding here demon possessed child, she threw the child’s food to the dogs. All of these are reasons why Jesus should not have helped her. But he does. Here are a few things she does right. She calls Jesus the son of David. She is calling Jesus the Messiah. Then she repents of feeding the child’s food to the dogs. Then she says even dogs get the crumbs which means she is calling herself a dog. She humbled herself. And she has faith that Jesus can do it. Jesus says the tipping point here is her faith. THAT is a complex moral dilemma. If that was not a test for Jesus, IDK what was.

Very good, SeanO - thanks for reminding us of the three signs!
Throughout the book of I John, the apostle keeps cycling around to the three tests of genuine salvation - real Christians walk in the light (the moral sign), they love the brethren (the social sign), and they believe the truth about Who Christ was and what He did (theological). And then he concludes that these things were written that we might know that we have eternal life.
Good job!

4 Likes

@jlyons Indeed - John was written that we may believe (John 20:31) and 1 John that we may know that we have life in Him (1 John 5:13). I like how you tied the three signs into 1 John :slight_smile:

Hi everyone who has thought about and contributed to this discussion. Really appreciated :slightly_smiling_face:! For me as well I think that testing of ‘our faith’ could also mean testing of the truth we believe or the way we are living. We could be followers of a hyper-grace movement or we could be over-legalistic and works-based in our theologies. I am sure there are many Christians who are living lives which they believe are genuinely true to what Christianity is about but in actual fact their theology or lifestyle is not in accord with God’s nature and designed purpose for our lives. For me personally I have believed many false thoughts about God over the years as I have journeyed in my faith, but I have found that as long as I have continued to seek God, to try and remain humble, and desire to know His truth, God has always brought me to a correct revelation of who He is and how I can continue to walk in fellowship with Him.

John 16:13-15: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

We have so many veils which we look through and so it is not difficult to believe a false viewpoint. It is why when speaking with people of different beliefs, that sometimes it is more about trying to stimulate people to want to desire and seek truth first as many times what we say may be heard and interpreted through faulty viewpoints. It is something I still have to get a lot better at but something I have found RZIM has helped me a lot in being able to do is ask good questions of others, but also of myself, to make sure that I am seeking God and walking in His truth.

1 Like

What I do is I get honest with myself and with God about what is in my heart. You can go to church but is your heart there for God? You can help someone but is your heart in it for the other person and for God? You can sing or play an instrument for praise and worship but is your heart in it for God? You can study the Bible but are you doing it to draw near to Him? At the end of the day when we “test ourselves “ I believe it’s about looking into your own heart and seeing, deep down, are we doing what we are doing for the glory of Jesus Christ and are we trusting and believing Him or are we trusting ourselves and doing whatever it is for our benefit? Not everyone who says Lord Lord did we not do this and did we not do that in Your name will enter the kingdom of Heaven I believe because their hearts were in the wrong place. Hope this helps :grin:

2 Likes