Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Passing the Examination

Meditation for the week of October 19, 2008

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you are disqualified.

Some nights I can’t sleep and I lay awake thinking about things that bother me. Sometimes I think about what it will be like for unbelievers to wake up in hell and to find out that the Bible was reliable, that Christ was who He claimed to be, that John 3:16 was a passport to heaven and that they foolishly rejected the truth. What will it be like to be in eternal torments knowing that you could have been saved?

Another thing that bothers me is that when I listen to how people are saved today, the language has changed. We used to hear people tell us how they found out they were lost and how they came to trust in the truth that Christ had died for them. Now we hear people tell us about what they have done to be saved. Sometimes they say, “I did it.” No doubt many of these people are saved but aren’t expressing that truth very clearly. However, I worry about the people who give these kinds of testimonies and then do not want to get baptized (and the word means to be immersed), when people complain about the people who brought the Gospel to them as is the case in our chapter, when people have more interest in the ball games on Sunday afternoon than they do in the worship of the Lord on Sunday morning. When people we know do not seem to have a love for the Lord and respect for those who preached the Gospel to them, we have to wonder if we who preach the Gospel are being faithful to them. I am always reluctant to question people when they say they are saved, but Paul wasn’t. He says “Examine yourselves, make sure that you pass the examination.” Those who don’t pass are called reprobates and a reprobate is simply one who fails the test.

I am still a firm believer in the fact that salvation is a point in time experience that only happens once. I believe that whether we are younger or older when we come to Christ we go through a crisis experience. When we find out we are not right with God, we begin to be “troubled” or concerned. The Bible says salvation is like a birth and a birth always involves labor pains. Sometimes labor is prolonged and difficult and sometimes it is not but no mother ever forgets giving birth. Some have told me that they don’t remember their first births so they don’t need to remember their salvation experience or new birth. I wouldn’t trade places with someone who can’t remember the events associated with their salvation for 5 minutes. I wouldn’t remember the date of my salvation if it hadn’t happened so close to President Kennedy’s assassination but I don’t think I will ever forget the wonder of finding out that I was waiting for God to save me when Christ had already died to do that. I rested on that truth that afternoon. The lyrics of the Johnny Cash song, “I was there when it happened” express my sentiments on this issue.

Yes, I know when Jesus saved me,
The very moment He forgave me;
He took away my heavy burden,
And He gave me peace within.
Satan can’t make me doubt it,
It’s real and I’m gonna shout it;
‘Cause I was there when it happened,
and I guess I ought to know.

Because of what is at stake, it would make sense if each of us took a little time today to examine ourselves and to make sure that we have passed this most important test. Our destinies for eternity depend on getting this right.

Bruce Collins

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