A commonly cited passage about examining yourselves to see if professing Christians are in the Christian faith, is 2 Cor. 13:5. It has consistently been misused in regards to the false convert or tare!
That MISinterpretation of 2 Cor. 13:5 is consistent with the HERETICAL theology of eternal security and once saved always saved, but has nothing to do with the way it was originally used or meant by the recipients. Again, it is error to cite 2 Cor. 13:5 for the false convert – one who was never saved and lacked genuine saving faith. Calvinist John MacArthur has often cited this Scripture in that way, distorting Paul’s godly concern mentioned in that passage for real Christians!
The context of 2 Cor. 13:5 extends back several chapters to chapter 11. Remember, when the books that we now call the Bible were originally written, they lacked chapter and verse divisions. Though 2 Cor. 13:5 is the focus here, the initial concern came from the Corinthian Christians listening to dangerous false teachers and getting deceived!
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Cor 11:3,4)
Christians endanger themselves with deadly doctrinal deception by listening to false teachers! Hence, the saints are commanded to keep away from false teachers to prevent doctrinal DECEPTION (Rom. 16:17,18). With all of that in mind, carefully read 2 Cor. 13:5 from three translations:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor 13:5, NIV)
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Cor. 13:5, NASB)
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! (2 Cor. 13:5, ESV)
Because of listening to false teachers there existed a definite danger that the Corinthians would be deceived and no longer realize that Jesus Christ was in them, making the Christians the temples of God. According to 2 Cor. 11:3,4, false teachers were preaching “another Jesus,” that is, a FALSE and mythical Jesus Christ, not the real one of the bible, who is capable of simultaneously residing in many Christians (Col. 1:27), suggesting the omnipresence of Jesus Christ. That unique attribute alone makes the Jehovah’s Witness belief that Jesus is Michael the archangel fallacious.
When Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” it was a doctrinal test about Jesus being in Christians! Such has nothing to do with initial salvation or a false conversion, and therefore, the common interpretation of 2 Cor. 11:5 has been terribly distorted, denying an ever-present danger for Christians through false teachings! They were to examine themselves doctrinally to see if they were still in the faith unlike the ones lethally deceived doctrinally by Hymenaeus and Philetus and had their saving faith destroyed (2 Tim. 2:17,18). So 2 Cor. 13:5 has nothing to do with initial salvation or false converts. Remember that. It refers to Christians evaluating themselves (not someone else) to see if they themselves are still in the Christian faith or not (becoming an apostate) over a simple doctrinal test about Jesus!
Remember also that Calvinists think election is secret, meaning no one can really know if another is saved or not! That is blatant error (1 John 3:10; 2:3,4) and protects the demonic notion that there are two types of adulterers, two types of drunks, two types of thieves, etc. — one being saved and the other never saved even though both types of adulterers, drunks, thieves, etc. are doing the same detestable things! [Charles Stanley would call such a person that was once saved a carnal Christian!]