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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!
2 Corinthians 13:5
It’s been quite a journey through the book of 1 John! I hope you have taken the time to honestly examine your heart and your behavior against Scripture to discover whether or not you are truly in Christ.
I want to be sure that I stress once again that the checkpoints we’ve covered in the previous lessons are not things to strive to accomplish in order to earn salvation or to work your way onto God’s good side. You can’t do that. It’s impossible. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. All of the things we have looked at are the naturally occurring fruit of a person who has already been born again. (Remember our little oak tree/apple tree illustration from lesson 3?)
If you think you might be unsaved or a false convert (someone who thought she was saved, or claimed to be saved, but actually isn’t), you can know Christ as Savior today. Confess to God that you are a sinner, and turn away from your sin. Ask Christ to forgive you for your sin. Believe in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as payment for your sin so that you would not have to pay for it yourself with an eternity in Hell, and ask God to save you. You might wish to watch this video and the “Good News” video in the sidebar to your left. And, of course, you’re welcome to contact me with any questions.
I also want to be sure to stress to those who genuinely are born again that you are not going to be perfect in any of these areas this side of Heaven. And that doesn’t mean you aren’t saved. John’s intent in writing this letter was not for you to freak out over the sin you committed yesterday or the fact that your progress in one area seems to be slower than in other areas. He wants you to look back over the direction of your life since you were saved and see if you’re generally growing in holiness and towards more Christlikeness.
I’ve mentioned before that, when I was a kid, a popular question for youth leaders to ask was, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I think that’s a good schematic to use for 1 John. As you come to the conclusion of the study, realize that you aren’t “convicted” on the basis of one or two isolated checkpoints. Rather, ask yourself, does the preponderance of the “evidence” gleaned from the checkpoints point me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to a verdict of “saved” or a verdict of “not saved”? How would you vote if you were on the jury that was deciding the case of “Am I Really Saved?”
Here, for your convenience, are the 19 checkpoints we’ve looked at in the previous lessons:
Checkpoint 1: Do I walk in the light or the darkness? (1 John 1:6-7)
Checkpoint 2: Do I confess or deny my sin? (1 John 1:8-10)
Checkpoint 3: Do I keep God’s commands? (1 John 2:3-6)
Checkpoint 4: Do I hate others? (1 John 2:9-11)
Checkpoint 5: Do I love worldliness? (1 John 2:15-17)
Checkpoint 6: Do I want to be faithful to a doctrinally sound church? (1 John 2:18-20)
Checkpoint 7: Do I believe in the Jesus of Scripture? (1 John 2:21-25)
Checkpoint 8: Do I practice righteousness? (1 John 2:29)
Checkpoint 9: Do I make a practice of sinning or righteousness? (1 John 3:4-10)
Checkpoint 10: Do I love my brothers? (1 John 3:10-15)
Checkpoint 11: Am I bearing the fruit of love? (1 John 3:18-22)
Checkpoint 12: Do I keep the ultimate commandment? (1 John 3:23-24)
Checkpoint 13: Do I follow false teachers? (1 John 4:1-6)
Checkpoint 14: Is my motivation for love Christocentric? (1 John 4:7-12)
Checkpoint 15: Do my words and actions confess Christ? (1 John 4:13-15)
Checkpoint 16: Am I afraid of God’s judgment? (1 John 4:16-21)
Checkpoint 17: Do my love for God and my love for His people testify to each other? (1 John 5:1-3)
Checkpoint 18: Have I “overcome the world”? (1 John 5:4-5)
Checkpoint 19: Do I have God’s testimony of Christ and eternal life in my heart? (1 John 5:6-12)
In addition to these checkpoints, you may also wish to take a look at this excellent evaluation resource.
It’s my prayer that, as you walk away from this study today, you will do so in full assurance and joy that you do, indeed, know Christ as Savior. Remember, that’s the whole point of the book of 1 John:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13