“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2).
The ultimate litmus test of living as a new creation in Christ is the standard you use to evaluate yourself. As a Christian you are expected to examine yourself every Lord’s day as you remember the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (1 Corinthians 11:28-29). Ongoing self-examination is essential to faithfulness (2 Corinthians 13:5).
When two men went up to the temple to pray, Jesus tells of one who measured himself against his peers and was thankful he was better than others (Luke 18:10-11). If you measure yourself against the level of righteousness found in your peers like this Pharisee did, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). Those who compare with themselves are unwise (2 Corinthians 10:12).
The correct measuring stick to use is given by Paul in the text above. How lofty are the standards the new man judges himself by: “even as God in Christ forgave you…be imitators of God…as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us”!
A new man who is renewed in the spirit of his mind completely rids himself of all erroneous benchmarks. He evaluates himself against the standard of God’s actions and Christ’s example. When He engages in honest self-examination there are only two questions to consider:
- How closely am I adhering to my Savior’s example of sacrificial love?
- How well am I imitating/mimicking my beloved Father?
These are the two questions by which your eternal destiny is determined.