The Professing Christian Tried
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you…

All are not Israel who are of Israel. All who are professing Christians are not real believers. Tares and wheat grow together. This state of matters is of very ancient date. When Adam and his family constituted the Church, there was in her a wicked Cain. When the Church floated in Noah's ark, there was at least within her pale an impious Ham. An Ishmael was in Abraham's family — a profane Esau in the family of Isaac.

I. Regarding THE DUTY OF SELF-EXAMINATION, we observe —

1. That it is a commanded duty. It is not imposed by human authority. Now, the duty of self-examination is plainly implied in several commands in Scripture. It may be inferred from the injunction to confess Christ before men; for how could one rightly confess Christ before he had ascertained that he belonged to Him? It is implied in the command to rejoice evermore; for how could one rejoice before he knew that there was reason for his joy?

2. A knowledge of our state is attainable. It will hardly be doubted that an impenitent sinner may discover his state of condemnation and wrath. This is what is meant by conviction of sin and misery. And it may be proved, from several instances in Scripture, that an assured confidence of our being in a state of grace may likewise be gained. Jacob could say with the utmost confidence that the Lord God had appeared to him at Luz and blessed him. David could say, "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength."

3. The persuasion that one is a real Christian would assist greatly in the performance of duty. Why is it that professing Christians are so dull in the performance of duty? It arises to a great extent from the uncertainty which hangs over their state. The persuasion of the love of God would make their souls, like the chariot of Aminadab, to run swiftly and smoothly in the way of new obedience.

4. Self examination is necessary, from the danger of self-deception. If there was no hazard of mistaking the way to heaven, there would be no need to inquire whether we were walking therein.

5. It is necessary for the believer's real comfort. In no case is a state of doubt a happy condition. Though the matter should be comparatively trivial, yet if the mind is doubtful regarding it, there will be little inward peace.

6. We must sooner or later undergo a trial. It is evident, from what we have already said, that self-examination is an indispensable duty. We were —


1. Those who are in the faith run not to the same excess of riot with others. If persons are habitually indulging in known sin, they give evidence that they belong not to Christ. It matters not what zeal such persons may possess. Jehu could say, "Come here, and see my zeal for the Lord." Nor does it alter the case that they have performed deeds of benevolence and of outward religion. Achish protected a persecuted David. Another class consists of those who persevere in known sin more secretly. They restrain themselves before men; but in their retirements they transgress with avidity.

2. Those who are in the faith are a people zealous of good works.

3. We remark again, that those in the faith have peculiar views of sin.

4. Those who are in the faith have peculiar views of the Redeemer. Others see no beauty in Him.

5. Those who are in the faith, differ from others in the views which they take of themselves.A little consideration will satisfy us that the generality of men are high-minded. It belongs to you to make conscience of the work of looking into your hearts.

1. And you ought to engage in the duty often. It is not enough that you examine yourselves before such solemn occasions as the Lord's Supper. It ought, like secret prayer, to be performed daily.

2. Further, let not your examinations be superficial. Keep searching your hearts until you arrive at a conclusion regarding your state. Endeavour to probe your heart to the very bottom.

3. Beware of being discouraged from the duty. Let not the fear of exposing yourselves before your own eyes, deter you from it.

4. Above all, put the case into God's own hand. "Search and try us, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting.

(A. Ross, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

WEB: Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don't you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

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