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 Cor 13:5 ESV
We may claim to believe we are saved by grace through faith alone, that it is all about Jesus and not about us, but do our symptoms line up with what we are saying?
The proof of our belief or lack of belief in some area of God’s Word will show up clearly in our symptoms. It is a foolproof method to see if we are in the faith.
From start to finish, the Bible is all about believing God. It starts with a person believing the gospel and being born-again in Christ, but there are many more areas of the new believers’ mind that need to be renewed. Renewal of the mind comes with right believing. Right believing leads to freedom and right living. Wrong believing leads to further bondage and defeat. A person can stop after they believe the gospel and are saved, or they can cooperate with the Holy Spirit and be transformed by the renewal of their mind. If they stop, they will struggle mightily in this life and could end up walking away from the faith. The key to victory in this life is to believe God’s Word is true but also to rightly divide the Word and apply the portion that applies directly to a born-again believer. If we are doing this, our symptoms will progressively look like the following.
We will walk in the peace that Jesus left us, and the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22 ESV
2 Peter talks about the fruits of the Spirit again.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love 2 Peter 1: 5-7 ESV
And we all know that Jesus told us a number of times that we need not doubt, worry or be afraid.
So how are you doing? Do the qualities in these verses describe you? If not, there are areas of belief where you are not in the faith.
If you are all like me, a believer for many years, you may wonder why you do not have these attributes in your life. I did not have them for years. I struggled mightily. The good news is that you do not need to struggle for many years as I did. The true freedom Jesus left us is available to even the brand-new believer. If you are a new believer you can avoid the mistakes I made. The key is rightly dividing the Word and right believing. For years I did not do this and mixed the two main covenants in the Bible given by God to man, the Old Covenant with the New Covenant like they were one covenant message, which they are not. Doing this dilutes or completely removes the power of God that is available to the born-again believer in the gospel.
An example of wrong believing that leads to wrong results.
In 2 Peter 1:5-7 above, many fruits of the Spirit are listed (virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love). Right after this list in verse eight and nine, it explains why a believer would lack these qualities.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities (see verse 5-7 above) is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 2 Peter 1:8-9 ESV
The reason they lack these qualities - they have forgotten they were cleansed from their former sins.
This is wrong believing that leads to wrong results. In this case the lack of the Godly qualities the believer seeks. Symptoms do not lie, if you lack the qualities we are discussing, at some level there remains a doubt that your sins have been fully forgiven, that you have been fully cleansed by Jesus perfect sacrifice. You doubt your complete righteousness in Christ. Being firmly established in our minds in His righteousness is a crucial step to freedom and victory in this life.
The error I used to make, and many Christians also do, is that we examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith and then try to manufacture the qualities listed in verse 5-7 and fail. If we do succeed temporarily, they look fake and inside we know they are fake, because they are fake and our heart has not been changed. God is after heart and mind transformation that produces these Godly qualities as fruits of the Spirit. Only He can change our hearts and everything we need is written in His Word.
Quite often when a new believer reads they are to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith in Corinthians 13:5, they look at themselves and see their sins, the undeniable symptoms of their lack of belief in some area of the God’s Word. Then, they conclude they must use their willpower, their flesh to correct their flesh. They go to the law to try and fix the problem themselves.
The problem is that the Bible tells us the law arouses sin – Rom 7:5, the flesh is of no use in correcting the flesh – Col 2:23, Gal 3:1-5 and that a believer is no longer under the law, is dead to the law – Rom 6:14, Rom 7:4, Rom 7:6, Gal 2:19. Can you see the error this new believer is making by going back to the law in their sincere attempt to be in the faith?
This is an error of wrong believing that leads to wrong results. This does not mean the person is not saved, assuming they believe the gospel. It just means they will struggle mightily in this life thinking they are doing the right thing but not getting the results the Bible promises.
The solution based on God's Word.
Correctly dividing the Word and right-believing is the answer to all of our difficulties. It is the solution to produce the fruits of the Spirit in our life and the freedom we seek. Notice the Bible talks about works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit. Remember in John 15:4-5 when Jesus said I am the vine and you are the branches, if you abide in me, remain in me, you will bear much fruit, and apart from me you can do nothing. Abiding/remaining in Christ is how we walk by the Spirit and not the flesh. We are supposed to see our flesh as crucified with Christ. To remain in Christ, we must commit to agreeing with God's word and see ourselves in Christ as God the Father see’s us. In Christ, we are totally forgiven, righteous, sanctified, holy, perfected and a Saint. This is how God see’s our Spirit because of Jesus sacrifice. To walk with God in the same direction, we must agree with God. Doing otherwise grieves the Holy Spirit who convicts a believer of their righteousness and not their sins. These errors in belief play right into Satan’s hands and lead to our defeat.
By faith, we put on the new self like we put on the armor of God, through right believing.
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph 4:20-24
Do you want to have victory in this life?
I have been down this road before you and can help you avoid many of the errors I made. I have studied the New Covenant for years now and know who I am in Christ. My mind has been renewed to His righteousness and I am firmly established in it. I have written many studies that will renew your mind to the truth in the New Covenant. There are many areas in which the average Christian needs their minds renewed. It does not matter how long they have been a believer. For those who have held incorrect beliefs for years like I did, it actually takes more time and focused study to break the bondages to incorrect believing. At every point your mind needs renewal, Satan is going to try and prevent your progress. The Bible tells us that Satan tries to steal the Word of God from us right after we hear it. So be prepared as he interjects doubt, worry, and fear about changing your belief, even though there is an abundance of very clear scriptures in all my studies.
And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. Mark 4:15 ESV
Just read the verse and ask God for confirmation.
Common areas of incorrect belief that lead to wrong living.
My primary error in reading the Bible for years is that I did not properly divide the Word as the Bible tells us to do. I read the Bible as one book, trying to apply all of God’s Word to my life when the truth is not all of it applied to a born-again believer.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15 KJV
There are two main covenants in the Bible. Moses Old Covenant of law and Jesus New Covenant of grace and truth. These covenants are mutually exclusive; they are not supposed to be mixed into one as most believers do unwittingly. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross. This should be every believer's area of primary focus.
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20
Reign in this life.
Believers reign in this life when we receive the ABUNDANCE OF GRACE AND FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 5:17 ESV
Radical studies for a radical change that will lead you to reign in life.
Below are some studies directed at areas of incorrect believing that I held, planted by other believers who were in error themselves. We should always filter the teachings of others in context through the Word. Look for titles that speak to you, titles that may seem wrong to you based on your current belief. Then open up the study and closely examine the abundance of scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. These are all New Covenant studies. I guarantee you that if you do a focused study for the next year on the truths of the New Covenant Jesus shed His blood for, your mind will be renewed and your life will be forever transformed. You will experience the true freedom and victory Jesus wants for your life.
We Are Not Sinners Because We Sin, We Sin Because We are Sinners – You were made a sinner without sinning. This will help you understand how you can be made righteous by the blood of Jesus without doing right.
Jesus Did Not Die to See If We Can Qualify – He fully qualified us.
Only Way to be Righteous – Not one person in the Bible was righteous by works except Jesus.
Literally Righteous in Christ – You are as right with God today as you will ever be.
Seek First His Righteousness – Unless you are firmly established in your mind in His righteousness, you will never have victory.
Fallen From Grace – You cannot fall from grace by sinning, it happens when you go back to the law.
Letter Kills, Spirit Gives Life – The law is called the ministry of death and condemnation. The Bible talks of the curse of the law, not the curse of sin.
The Only Place Sin Lies Dead – Apart from the law is the only place sins lies dead.
How Christians Dilute the Power of the Gospel in Their Lives – Mixing the Old Covenant and New Covenant robs us of God’s power in our lives.
The New Covenant of Grace Replaced the Old Covenant of Law – The Old is completely done away with, replaced by the New.
Jesus is The End of The Law for Believers – The law remains but Jesus is the end of the law for believers.
Christians Are Not Under the Law of Moses, Our Standard is Much Higher – If you try and be right by the letter of the law, you will never succeed.
A Christian is Dead to the Law, Freed from the Law and Dead to Sin – How many ways does the Bible need to say we are no longer under the law for you to believe it.
You Only Have Two Commandments Christian – Yes only two commandments and they offer no condemnation even when you fail.
Christians are Blessed Because God is Not Imputing our Sins – God is not counting your sins and you are to do the same.
A Christians Sins are NOT Counted Against Them – Apart from the law, sin is not imputed.
Can We Lose Our Salvation For Not Confessing Our Sin 1 John? - NO. Believers are under grace where sin is not imputed.
What is the One Unforgivable Sin? - There is only one. This means everything else is forgivable.
Who is Jesus Talking to with Depart from Me I Never Knew You? – These are people who commit the one unforgivable sin.
Go and Sin No More Does Not Mean God is Going to Get You – God is for you, Jesus fully qualified you, God is not counting your sins.
These People Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God – They committed the one unforgivable sin.
Holy Spirit Does Not Convict a Believer of Their Sins – The Holy Spirit convicts a believer of their righteousness in Christ not of their sins. Satan is the one pointing out your sins to keep you in bondage.
Sin Consciousness Grieves the Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit convicts us of our righteousness in Christ. If we are focused on our sin instead, it grieves the Holy Spirit. We must agree with the Spirit to walk by the Spirit.
I Am a New Creation IN CHRIST – To walk in the Spirit as is God’s will for you, you must first agree with God and see yourself the way God see’s you in Christ.
I Am Holy, I Am Sanctified, I Am Perfected – You are also righteous right now by the blood of Jesus. This is not about your flesh that will die. This is about your Spirit that has been perfected and sealed in Christ. Your flesh will never be perfected. This is why you will get a new body.
God Said a Believer Can Never be Considered Unholy – Once God cleanses you, you are holy, not by what you did but by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. This does not change when you fail.
Believers are Never Called Sinners in the New Testament – Believers are made righteous by the blood of Jesus and are never called sinners in the Bible.
God SWORE I Will NOT be Angry With or Rebuke Believers – God will never be angry with you. He sees you in Christ.
Sin Does Not Make a Christian a Hypocrite – Your testimony should be that you came to Jesus because you could not keep the law and you still need Jesus for the same reason.
Jesus Never Called a Believer a Hypocrite - The New Testament never calls a believer a hypocrite. But it was implied in one instance when Peter went back to the law in appearance.
Will God Forgive Us if We do Not Forgive Others? – Yes, he already has.
Faith Without Works is Dead – James is definitely not teaching that works are required for salvation.
How to Take Thoughts Captive to The Obedience of Christ – You will never be able to take all of your thoughts to obey Jesus and this is not what this popular verse is teaching.
If Sin Has Dominion in Your Life, You are Living Under the Law, Not Grace – The only places sin lies dead is apart from the law.
Lacking These Qualities? Want the fruits of the Spirit? This is how you start.
How to be Filled with The Fullness of God – Every believer wants this.
Sin Not The Problem – Jesus fully dealt with sin.
Can You Say This Christian? Can you say that you are still righteous in the middle of your failures? If you cannot your eyes are on yourself and not Jesus where they should be.
Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE.