Last Sunday I presented a practical six-question test. It was a test for your life. A test to discover whether God abides in you, whether you are born again. A test to confirm your calling and election.
I based it on the twofold test that John gives in his first letter--the test of love (1 John 2:10; 3:14; 4:7-13) and the test of belief (1 John 2:23-25; 4:6; 4:15; 5:13). The two tests are summed up in 1 John 3:23f: “And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them.”
If we believe and love then we can have assurance that God abides in us. Here are the questions I would use to test the genuineness of my belief and love.
1. The Test of Belief
1.1 Does your heart incline you to the testimony of the apostles and prophets? That is, do you have a persevering longing to read the Bible?
The question is not: Do you never have dry times of indifference? The question is: Is the ongoing, customary desire of your heart to join Mary at the feet of Jesus and do the one thing needful, namely listen (Luke 10:42)? “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27; cf. 10:16; 18:37). “Whoever knows God listens to us [the apostles]” (1 John 4:6).
1.2 When your heart grows cool and you begin to drift away from the word of God, do you feel a godly guilt that humbles you and brings you broken to the cross for forgiveness and renewal?
1.3 When you hear the testimony of Scripture that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the World, does your heart confess this truth? That is, do you gladly affirm the divine greatness of Christ and how worthy he is of trust and admiration and loyalty and obedience? Does your heart exalt Christ as the greatest thing of all?
2. The Test of Love
2.1 When you hear a description of love like 1 Corinthians 13 or contemplate the example of Christ's life of love, does your heart fill with longing to be like that, and do you make firm resolves to conquer unloving attitudes and behaviors?
2.2 When you fail in a resolve of love does it grieve you and bring you broken to the cross pleading for forgiveness and seeking new strength to love again?
2.3 Is the current pattern of your life to live for the eternal good of other people, or are your thoughts and dreams and daily choices generally aimed at merely making yourself comfortable and your name esteemed?
If you come up short on these six questions then the most urgent agenda in your life is to do serious business with God in prayer. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near. He will help you turn from the deceptive desires.
Be zealous to confirm your call and election! (2 Peter 1:10)
For the sake of your true assurance,