Thursday, November 24, 2011

Five questions for self-examination

In this post, we looked at a direction given by Walter Marshall, from his classic puritan tome called The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, for the examination of our state and ways in the revealing and instructing light of God's Word. In the same section from his book, Marshall gives us some tools for examining ourselves in a balanced manner. Marshall is concerned that we neither "unjustly condemn or justify faith, by proceeding on insufficient evidences." He offers us five questions to examine ourselves with:
  1. Are we made thoroughly sensible of our sinfulness, and of the deadness and misery of our natural state, so as to despair absolutely of ever attaining to any righteousness, holiness or true happiness, while we continue in it? 
  2. Are the eyes of our understanding enlightened to see the excellency of Christ, and the alone sufficiency and all sufficiency of His grace for our salvation? 
  3. Do we prefer the enjoyment of Him above all things, and desire it with our whole heart, as our only happiness, whatsoever we may suffer for His sake? 
  4. Do we desire with our whole heart to be delivered from the power and practice of sin, as well as from the wrath of God, and the pains of hell? 
  5. Do our hearts come to Christ and lay hold on Him for salvation, by trusting Him only, and endeavouring to trust on Him confidently, notwithstanding all fears and doubts that assault us?
Let me paraphrase these five questions:
  1. Do we see our sin for what it is? 
  2. Do we see our Saviour for who He is and what He has done? 
  3. Do we prefer Him? 
  4. Do we desire deliverance from our sin? 
  5. Do we actually come to Christ?
Reality check time; ask yourselves these questions and the fall on the grace and mercy of Christ once again!

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