For some people, one of the hardest things to do is be introspective. Introspection is the process of looking inward instead of outward. That means that focus is placed on seeing positives and negatives in our own lives. This causes some mental problems for certain individuals. Instead of living in such a way as to think that everything is okay, introspection allows for people to see their faults. Some do not handle this well. For the Christian, this process is not only beneficial at times, but it is also a Scriptural approach that should be taken to determine one’s faithfulness to God. Paul once wrote, “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” (2 Cor. 13:5)? Please notice that the responsibility is placed on the individual to “prove” himself. Therefore it is extremely important to learn how to do such.
First of all, if a “saved” person can never do anything to be lost again, then why would one have to do introspection? If “once saved, always saved” were true, then there would be no reason to determine if a person is “faithful” or not. The Bible does not teach the erroneous doctrine of “once saved, always saved”. Instead, the Bible teaches, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Also, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb. 3:12-4:1). Then there is, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). These verses show the importance of being introspective when it comes to being “saved”.
The examination that God demands is whether one is “in the faith” or not. In order to do such properly, one needs to know what “the faith” is. This is not an individual’s personal “faith”/conviction toward God. Instead, Jude mentioned, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). What was “once delivered unto the saints”? Paul indicated, “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:15-17).
“The faith” is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the system of faith under which man lives today. It is revealed in the New Testament as opposed to the Old Testament. Paul not only wrote the need for other Christians to examine themselves whether they were in the faith, he did so himself. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Our lives must be obedient to “the faith” if we want to enjoy Heaven one day.
So, when was the last time that you did some introspection? Are you certain that your life is being lived in harmony with “the faith”? We should remember that we are not to be “…conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
~ Corey Barnette