Growing up, I was taught that once you are saved, you are always saved, and so I began college secure that I could do anything without jeopardizing my eternity. And so I did anything. Then I read 2Corinthians 13:5, "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!" I did not know the test; I only knew I was failing. I discovered there is a difference between being secure in my faith, which is God's business, and being sure of my faith, which is mine; and I was no longer sure.
The apostle John helped by offering an exam with three parts. A doctrinal question, do I believe Jesus is God, "every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God" (1John 4:2-3). An ethical question, do I follow God's ways, "by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments" (1John 2:3). And a social question, do I love, "we know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers" (1John 3:14). I believe, I obey, I love; I'm sure.
God, Your Son came to this world and endured the shame of the cross for my sake. May I endure its shame, as well. I would gladly boast of Your sacrifice, no matter the cost, because Your shame is the power of my salvation. You took my sin and bore its penalty by dying on the cross. The cross of a criminal. The cross I deserved.
This is Your glory, the glory of love so strong that You suffered the cross for me, a sinner. I will lift up Your Name, no matter the consequences, because it is Your Name, and Your Name alone, by which I am saved.
What a wonderful cross. What a wonderful Savior.