Romans 8:16 says, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. In other words, part of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to believers is to give assurance of salvation. Since the Holy Spirit is the divine author of Scripture, and since He wrote at least one New Testament book just for the sole purpose of helping believers discern the reality of their faith, the tests of genuine faith found in the book of First John must be seriously considered.
Scripture exhorts us to test our faith (2 Cor. 13:5). The reason is that our hearts are naturally deceitful and, therefore, we can even deceive ourselves. Jesus said that on the Day of Judgment there will be many people who thought themselves to be Christians, but are in the end condemned (Matt. 7:21-23).
Many years ago, I created a 2-page worksheet for use in counseling, personal Bible study, and small group discussion. It draws out of the book of First John ten tests of genuine faith and suggests questions for self-examination.
- The Test of Conscience: Is my conscience sensitive to sin? (1 Jn 1:5-10)
- The Test of Obedience: How obedient am I to God’s Word? (1 Jn 2:3-6; 5:2-3)
- The Test of Worldliness: Where do my affections lie? (1 Jn 2:15-17; 5:4-5)
- The Test of Anticipation: Deep down, do I long to see Jesus? (1 Jn 3:1-3)
- The Test of Holiness: Am I progressing away from sin toward holiness, or am I still in bondage? (1 Jn 3:4-10)
- The Test of Love: Do I love other believers and long to be with them? (1 Jn 3:11-18; 4:7-12)
- The Test of Prayer: Does God answer my prayers? (1 Jn 3:21-22)
- The Test of the Holy Spirit: Do I experience the power of the Spirit in my life? (1 Jn 4:13)
- The Test of Persecution: Have I ever suffered because of my testimony for Christ? (1 Jn 3:10-13)
- The Test of Confessing Christ: Do I have Jesus Christ as my own? (1 Jn 4:1-5; 5:1, 10-12)
Pray before looking up the Scriptures and filling in your chart. Ask God to confirm the genuineness of your faith through the passing of these tests, or to confront counterfeit faith is that is indeed the case.