INTRODUCTION

Pages 5-8 of The Salvation Meter book describe the Scriptural basis behind the book under the heading “The Bible is the Substantive Basis for The Salvation Meter.” This article at https://thesalvationmeter.com website is a revision of the discussion and some of the questions in the book.  I hope this revision will assist anyone who reads, teaches or preaches, or merely considers the principles taught by the “The Bible is the Substantive Basis for The Salvation Meter.”  

This discussion is important because in an eternal sense, you fall into one of two categories of people; namely, those who are saved and those who are lost.  If you are saved, you will spend eternity in heaven in the presence of God.  If you are lost, you will suffer physical and emotional torment in hell for eternity.  You can undertake no greater exercise than to examine your salvation to make certain you possess a saving relationship with God through His Sin, Jesus Christ.

REVISED DISCUSSION

Introduction

Self-examination of your salvation is a biblical exercise.  The Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter, each one writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, presented a clear biblical mandate for a person to examine their salvation, as well as their spiritual growth. 

In reference to 2 Corinthians 13:5, in a sermon entitled “The Place of Self-Examination” by Dr. S. Lewis Johnson found at the SLJ Institute website (see link at The Place of Self-Examination – SLJ Institute), Dr. Johnson set out persuasive reasons for a person to examine themselves to be if they are saved:

When we say, “Test ourselves or examine yourselves,” we’re saying something that we need in the United States of America, and in fact, in the Western world. There are literally millions of professing Christians who need to pay attention to this statement of the apostle. They have entered into a shallow commitment to Christianity, they’ve joined the church, they’ve been baptized or they’ve done other things that might make them think that they are genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They’ve been encouraged to think that, by men who’ve not been careful to point out that there is more to becoming a Christian than subscribing to a statement. They don’t hate sin. They don’t love holiness. They do not pray. They do not study the word of God. They do not walk humbly with God. These individuals, so many of them stand in the same danger in which the Corinthians stood. And the apostle’s words, “Test yourselves to see if your in the faith, examine yourselves,” are valid words that each of us should ponder.

            The preceptaustin.org website (link: 2 Corinthians 13:5 Commentary | Precept Austin) referenced the importance Charles Spurgeon placed on 2 Corinthians 13:5:

Spurgeon referred to 2 Cor 13:5 as a solemn text, that we cannot preach too impressively, or too frequent meditate.

            In reference to 2 Peter 1:10, Wuest (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 12, pp. 27–28). Eerdmans) writes:

The exhortation is that the believer should make sure of the fact that he is saved by seeing to it that the Christian graces superabound in his life. There is no idea here of making sure that we retain our salvation but that we possess salvation.

Discussion of  2 Corinthians 13:5

The Apostle Paul articulated this mandate when he wrote 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ASV 1901), which reads:

5 Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate.

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb peirazō as “try.” According to Louw et al., it means, “to try to learn the nature or character of someone or something by submitting such to thorough and extensive testing—‘to test, to examine, to put to the test, examination, testing.'”  See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 331). United Bible Societies.  The Logos 9 sense of the verb is to test – to put to the test in order to ascertain the nature of something, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities.  Peirazō is in the present tense and imperative mood.  

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb dokimazō as “prove.” It means to try to learn the genuineness of something by examination and testing, often through actual use—‘to test, to examine, to try to determine the genuineness of, testing.’  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 331.  The Logos 9 sense of dokimazō is to examine (check out) – to observe, check out, and look over carefully or inspect.  Like peirazō, dokimazō is in the present tense and imperative mood. 

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb epiginōskō as “know ye.” It means to come to an understanding as the result of ability to experience and learn—‘to come to understand, to perceive, to comprehend.’  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 381.  The Logos 9 sense is to recognize – to discern something clearly and distinctly, or as true and valid; often with a personal acquaintance that necessitates a reaction.  The verb is in the present tense.

By his use of the phrase “that Jesus Christ is in you,” Paul intended to refer to the condition of being saved.  One commentator (Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (2 Co 13:5). Galaxie Software) writes:

“After twelve chapters in which Paul takes their Christianity for granted, can he only now be asking them to make sure they are born again?”

Another commentary (Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 511). Victor Book) reads:

The Corinthians were spending a great deal of time examining Paul; now it was time they examined themselves. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” A true Christian experience will bear examination. “Are you even in the faith?” asked Paul. “Are you truly saved?” Every believer must prove his or her faith; no one can tell others whether or not they are born again.  A true Christian has Christ in him.

The alternative to being saved is “ye be reprobate.” The AVS 1901 translates the Greek noun adokimos as “reprobate.” It means pertaining to having been proven worthless—‘of no value, valueless, worth nothing.  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 621.  The Logos 9 sense of is adokimos phony (bogus) – fraudulent; having a misleading appearance.

One commentator (Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 440). Broadman & Holman Publishers) points out the usage of the reflexive pronoun heautous:

Paul used the reflexive pronoun yourselves twice to emphasize the idea that they should start looking more at themselves than at him or others.

Along the same line, one translation handbook (Omanson, R. L., & Ellington, J. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (p. 240). United Bible Societies) reads:

The pronouns yourselves are both in emphatic position.

In summary, by writing 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul commanded his audience to continuously submit their faith to thorough testing to discern the genuineness of their faith and thereby make sure it was not a phony, surface-only faith.  Sometimes the phony can look genuine, and when it comes to where you will spend eternity, the difference between the two is infinite.  Therefore, Paul was serious about the Corinthians expending the necessary time and effort to verify their salvation. 

Discussion of 2 Peter 1:9-11

            The Apostle Peter called for self-examination of one’s salvation when he wrote in 2 Peter 1:9–11 (ASV 1901), which reads:

9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: 11 for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

When it comes to self-examination, the pertinent phrase reads, “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure.” This phrase begins with the Greek inferential conjunction dio which is a coordinating conjunction that conveys a deduction, conclusion, summary, or inference to the preceding discussion.  Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press. 

The preceding discussion is verse 9, which reads:

9 For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins.

The “these things” referred to by verse 9 are the virtues Peter identified in verses 5-7 (ASV 1901), which read:

 5 Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; 7 and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love.

Referring to verse 10a, the ASV1901 translates the Greek verb spoudazō as “give … diligence.” It means to do something with intense effort and motivation—‘to work hard, to do one’s best, to endeavor.’  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 661. The Logos 9 sense is to be eager – to have or show keen interest, intense desire, or impatient expectancy.  The ASV 1901 translates the Greek adverb mallon as “more.” It is a marker of contrast indicating an alternative—‘on the contrary, instead, but rather.  See Louw et a., supra at Vol. 1, p. 793.  The Logos 9 sense is more (extent) – to a greater degree or extent.  It appears what Peter intended to convey to his audience is that in light of the lack of virtues indicative of salvation, they should try even harder to carry out the next action, which was “to make your calling and election sure.”

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek verb poieō as “to make.” It means to produce something new, with the implication of using materials already in existence (in contrast with κτίζω ‘to create,’ 42.35)—’to make, to fashion.  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 513.  The Logos 9 sense is to make (change) – to give certain properties to something.  The verb is in the present tense, which is the verb tense where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion.  See Heiser et al. Id.

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek noun klēsis as “calling.” It means the state of having been called to a particular task and/or relation—‘calling.’ See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 423.  The Logos 9 sense is: calling (state) – the condition one enters upon the acceptance of a summons; especially all that is expected of a person who accepts God’s summons to the hope of salvation in Jesus. 

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek noun eklogē as “election.” It means to make a special choice based upon significant preference, often implying a strongly favorable attitude toward what is chosen—‘to choose, choice.’  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 360.  The Logos 9 sense is election – the act of deliberately selecting someone or something.

The ASV 1901 translates the Greek adjective bebaios as “sure.” It means pertaining to being certain, on the basis of being well established—‘certain, sure.  See Louw et al., supra at Vol. 1, p. 669.  The Logos 9 sense is verified – proved to be true.

One commentator (Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, p. 111). Broadman & Holman Publishers) writes:

Thus, the expression make your calling and election sure must not be construed to suggest that God has any doubts regarding their faith or calling. The problem of doubt or questioning is one the readers struggled with, not God.

As you begin to see changes and transformations occurring in your life, this should reassure you that God has called you to himself. These changes serve to “make your calling and election sure.” The opposite is also true. If your life shows no positive changes and this causes you no concern, then you should wonder and question whether you are a true believer in Jesus Christ.

            It appears that by 2 Peter 1:9-11, Peter intended to convey to his audience that if any were lacking the virtues set out in verses 5-7, they must try their absolute best to confirm their salvation intensely.  Proving the truth of their salvation was not something they were to be lackadaisical about because it concerned where they would spend eternity.

Conclusion

            The self-examination advocated by Paul and Peter was not a cursory exercise.  They were purposeful when they commanded their audience to conduct a rigorous examination of their spiritual condition.  You, too, must be focused about making sure your faith is a saving faith and not a phony faith.  The Salvation Meter is an excellent self-diagnostic tool for you to carry out the type of examination prescribed by Paul and Peter.  

            The above passages should generate an incentive for every person to spend the necessary time and effort to carry out a thorough self-examination of their salvation, as well as their spiritual growth.   Please answer the following questions that relate to the biblical guidance set forth in 2 Corinthians 5:13 and 2 Peter 1:9-11. 

QUESTIONS

Question 1-9: Are you willing to spend the time and effort to work through the substance of The Salvation Meter to conduct a thorough self-examination to gain an understanding of your spiritual condition?  Please explain your answer. 

Question 1-9A: Do you share the urgency of self-examination of someone’s salvation as expressed by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:4 and Peter in 2 Peter 1:10?  Please explain your answer.

Question 1-9B: Do you agree that some people who are lost display a self-only faith that is, in reality a phony?  Please explain your answer.

Question 1-9C: Do you agree with Dr. Johnson that people who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, and yet, do not hate sin, do not love holiness, do not pray, do not study the Bible, or do not walk humbly with God should examine their salvation?  Please explain your answer.

Question 1-9D:  Do you strongly agree, moderately agree, moderately disagree, strongly disagree or are neutral about your willingness to invest the time and effort to use The Salvation Meter?  Please record your answer at Indicator 1-A of your Personal Salvation Assessment in the Appendix. 

© Copyright 2021, 2022. Stephen T. Belsheim.  All Rights Reserved

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