Self-Examination Checklist
Will you be ready for Passover?

How can you be sure you’ll be ready for Passover?

This sacred ceremony is the most solemn event of the year for the converted Christian. If we fail to take the symbols of the bread and wine in the right attitude, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 say we are “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord”—a serious penalty! You could actually leave the Passover service that night with the death penalty still hanging over your head!

So how can we make sure we’re in the right attitude? This is a life-and-death question.

The Apostle Paul gives us the answer in that well-known passage in 1 Corinthians. He tells us that before we eat the bread and drink the wine in that ceremony, we must examine ourselves.

Self-examination is hard work. No one likes to confront his own sins. Naturally we fight this process. But this is God’s holy Passover—in the last hour! Whether you’ve observed three Passovers or 33, this one is more important than any you have ever experienced. The level you were on at last year’s Passover is not good enough this year (2 Peter 3:18). We are right on the threshold of the return of Jesus Christ! Our Passover attitude has everything to do with developing the character to be able to meet Him at His return. God wants us to use this Passover season as a tool for preparation—preparation for joining His Family and ruling with Him.

Here are four questions to ask yourself as you enter the spring holy day season. This self-examination “checklist” is not comprehensive; it is simply a guide to assist your Passover preparation. Have these questions before you as you pray. Center your study and meditation around them. Fast and ask God to help you answer them honestly:

1. Am I holding anything against anyone?

2. Do I clearly see my own carnal nature?

3. Do I appreciate enough what God and Christ have done for me?

4. Out of love for God, am I striving to repent and overcome?

There was once a wealthy king who had a sizable estate and many servants. He was a generous king who, whenever his servants needed help, would give free loans. One day he sat down to settle these accounts and see how much his borrowers owed him. He discovered, to his dismay, that one servant had a staggering debt of $3 million!

When he summoned the servant and asked how he expected to pay back the sum, the servant was unable to even come up with an excuse. The king eyed him sternly and determined to sell the servant, his family and everything he possessed. Whatever debt remained would be paid in installments until it was completely accounted for.

The servant threw himself at the king’s feet and pleaded, “Oh, king! Please don’t do this! If you will just be patient with me, I’ll pay back every penny. I will settle this bill somehow—I promise!” This miserable servant was genuinely broken up. He had absolutely nowhere to turn. The king was perfectly just in demanding payment. This servant was throwing himself at his mercy!

The tearful display moved the king with compassion. He was grateful to see the servant’s attitude change. After a moment, he spoke up: “I won’t sell you.”

A flood of relief washed over the servant. “Oh thank you!” he answered. But the king wasn’t finished. “In fact—not only may you stay with me, but I will completely wipe out this debt. Let’s start over. You don’t owe me a cent.”

How sweet is forgiveness!

As we come up to Passover, we need to give serious thought to this subject of forgiveness. The fact is, you are the servant in that story. Each of us is. We have a tremendous debt hanging over us—but it is a debt much greater than a pile of money. It is the debt we owe to God’s law, for our sin. Romans 6:23 makes this clear: “For the wages of sin is death.” Our penalty for sin is an executioner’s sword hanging over our heads! We desperately need God’s forgiveness, but we are just like that servant—we have no right to it, no recourse but to throw ourselves on His mercy. We must realize where we would be if we did not receive His forgiveness and mercy: dead!

Our debt to God and His forgiveness should be a towering focus in our prayer, study, meditation and fasting between now and Passover—perhaps the most important. We’ll talk more about that later. Let’s focus now on how this relates to the first question:

1. Am I holding anything against anyone?

Matthew 18:23-27 contain the biblical account of the king and the servant. Again, this servant experienced the sweet joy of forgiveness. But notice verses 28-30: “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.”

This man was perfectly willing to accept forgiveness, but was unwilling to give it! If he fully realized the unmerited forgiveness that had been extended to him, he should have had no trouble turning around and being very quick to forgive this small debt!

How often do we fall into the same category as this servant?

Consider the debt God has forgiven us—not just once, but time after time after time! How many times have we had to come before God and ask for forgiveness? We should be doing so every day of our lives.

Given that, how easy should it be for us to forgive others for things they might have done against us? Can we see this principle as clearly in our own lives as we can see it in this parable?

Has anyone ever done something to you worse than what you have done to God? Was it worse than Him having to watch His Son being brutalized by a gang of violent thugs to pay for your sins? Are the debts others owe you really greater than the debt you owe God?

And yet—if you ever hold a grudge; if you can’t forgive and forget; if, every time you think about some wrong you have suffered, all the same emotions come welling back as if it just happened yesterday—then you are this unmerciful servant.

How do you suppose God looks upon such a sin? After forgiving us time and again of the greatest debt we could possibly owe, how must He feel when He sees us hanging on to petty offenses the way that servant did?

There are two conditions to receiving forgiveness from God: First, we must repent; and second, we must forgive others. This is so important to understand as we go into the Passover!

“And when ye stand praying,” God says in Mark 11:25-26, “forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” This is a law of God! To be forgiven, you must forgive! If you don’t, the Passover will be a useless exercise. You will not be forgiven.

We simply cannot go into the Passover—in fact, we can’t even proceed in our Passover self-examination—if we are holding something against someone!

Matthew 5:23-24 contain some strong correction for the unmerciful: “[I]f you bring thy gift to the altar [that is, to worship God], and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

Be honest about answering this question of whether you are holding anything against anyone before proceeding to the other three. Ask God to help you forgive. If there are issues that need to be cleared up, be the first to extend the hand of fellowship to your brother and make it right.

A major theme of Passover is unity in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16). Do your part to ensure that unity. Christ’s mind in us won’t abide division. It won’t sweep those problems under the rug. It will do what is possible to make things right.

2. Do I clearly see my own carnal nature?

In this time of preparation for the holy days, every one of us must come to grips with our own evil nature.

Romans 7:14 tells us that we are carnal, sold under sin. This is the nature of carnal man. Without God, we are all sold under sin. Paul describes a law of evil within him that he constantly had to battle (verses 18, 21, 23). He was at war against himself! Even Jesus Christ had to fight it, when He was a mortal man. He won every battle and every struggle—but ultimately He had to sweat blood to do it! He clearly saw what He was up against in His own flesh. Fighting our own carnality is a war we will have to fight every day until we die! If we ever give it up, then we have lost—our carnality will consume us.

When one man called Christ good, He responded, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17). (Not that Christ was evil, but His goodness came from God—not His flesh; John 14:10.)

Can we clearly see our own evil nature? Perhaps we’ve been in God’s Church for a long time and we’ve overcome those highly visible, overt sins that many people wrestle with. But we have to recognize the standard God is measuring us against: the law of love. This covers every situation, every thought, every moment. 1 John 1:8 makes this clear: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Humanly we are incapable of seeing the leaven within ourselves. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It takes the mind of God to know the heart of man. To honestly examine ourselves, we need His Holy Spirit. “If we only examine ourselves with our human minds, we will never see what we are doing wrong spiritually. It requires taking the Spirit of God and examining yourself, on your knees, asking God for His view” (Gerald Flurry, Royal Vision, January-February 2002). As we look for the leaven in our lives, we must enter God’s throne room with a broken carnal spirit, asking for discernment, asking for correction, asking Him to reveal our own hearts to us. We need to take the wise, humble approach of Jeremiah: “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:24).

Mr. Flurry wrote, “Do you realize how good God is? How good He is to you? How much He has given you? When we evaluate ourselves and compare ourselves with the goodness of God, we see how evil we are. Compare your goodness with God’s, and then you begin to see why we really need to repent toward God and not toward man” (Repentance Toward God).

We not only have to recognize our sins, but also recognize that even our goodness is nothing but filthy rags to God! There is no way we could ever earn salvation. All we’ve earned is death!

Galatians 2:16 tells us that “a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ … for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Works of the law is religious observance based on human or fleshly effort. Justified refers to making the past right. Not even the strictest observance of the law could erase the death penalty!

The Galatians thought they were pretty good. If they just stuck to a ritualistic religion, they’d have it made, they thought. We too can think that if we pray and study a set amount each day, or if we read this or that booklet a set number of times, we’ll have it made.

God is interested in our broken spirit. A Pharisaical religion of do’s and don’ts is useless to Him. No physical sacrifice or works can make us right before God. We can only be justified by the faith of Christ—faith that God gives to us.

Verse 20 shows us that Paul understood that goodness comes only through Christ. He certainly claimed no credit for any goodness he had. He clearly saw his own carnality, his own limits. The next verse warns us not to deny Christ’s sacrifice. We need it desperately. We have no hope otherwise—nothing to do but to pay the death penalty we have brought upon ourselves! Upon our baptism, God looks on Christ’s death as our own. We must clearly see our own carnal nature, see the enormous price our Savior has paid in our stead.

Again, 1 Corinthians 11:27 tells us we must take the Passover in a worthy manner. When we really see our sins and faults, how can we possibly be worthy to take the Passover? A clue to the answer lies in verse 29. Really examining yourself also means discerning the Lord’s body. That means taking personal responsibility for the sacrifice He made. It means having a penetrating appreciation for what God and Christ went through for you. It means realizing deeply how dependent you must be upon God—how hopeless you are alone, and how indebted you are to Him.

3. Do I appreciate enough what God and Christ have done for me?

We must examine ourselves, but we don’t want our Passover preparation to make us so inward-looking that we take on selfishness of a different kind. The overall focus really needs to be on God and Christ: the sacrifice they made that cancels out the death penalty on us and makes possible our eternal life.

You must realize that you are responsible for Christ’s death! If you were the only person who ever lived, Christ still would have sacrificed Himself for you. Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,” that He “should taste death for every man.” 1 Peter 3:18 says that “Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …” (Revised Standard Version). You would have no future without that sacrifice.

John 3:16 in many ways sums up the love and sacrifice of God. “God so loved the world [including you personally] that he gave his only begotten son ….” The Most High God allowed the Word to give up His eternal glory and be born as an ordinary, physical human being, subject to all the temptations and trials of the flesh—subject even to death. Your heavenly Father loves you so much that He risked losing His Son forever! Why? “[T]hat whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because it was the only way possible for you not to have to bear the guilt of your own sins. It was the only way God could perfectly keep His law without compromise and still pay for your sins, making possible your eternal life in His Spirit-born Family!

Mr. Flurry wrote, “We are all Christ killers! We have killed the firstborn Son of our beloved Father! And if we’re thinking the way God does, we will experience the same intensity of emotion over what we’ve done as we would over losing a firstborn son!” (ibid). Understanding the seriousness of the sacrifice God and His Son have made will lead us toward the depth of appreciation we need.

But appreciating God and Christ in our Passover preparation does not stop with that past sacrifice. We must also concentrate on what God and Christ are doing today. We have to realize that their whole focus is on this work—for the sake of their future Family: this whole world. As you approach the Passover, remember to focus on God’s Work, as Christ does. Study The God Family Vision. It is a vivid demonstration of what God and Christ have done and are doing for you today—and their plans for the world!

The more deeply we grasp this third area—what God and Christ have done—the more we’ll be motivated to dig into the fourth question.

4. Out of love for God, am I striving to repent and overcome?

How else can we respond, when we truly understand what God has done for us—when we internalize the suffering that we caused God and Christ? What else can we do, but strive with all our might, using the power of God’s Spirit, to purge the dross out of our character, to distance ourselves from the sin, to live anew, unspotted from the world?

The Apostle Paul makes a clear distinction between the feeling of remorse that we may have when our conscience is pricked for some wrongdoing, and the godly sorrow we need in order to move forward spiritually. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Mr. Flurry explains, “The reason godly sorrow is ‘not to be repented of’ is because it causes you to overcome your sin!” (ibid).

In Hebrews 12:1 we are told to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,” using the perfection of Jesus Christ as our example, our standard, our inspiration. Paul intimates that, like Christ, we should push ourselves “unto blood, striving against sin”! (verse 4). How different from the lackadaisical, lawless, “come as you are” religion so commonly and shamefully called by Christ’s name in this world today.

Mr. Flurry wrote, “If you have a problem you can’t get a grip on, an area where you’re not becoming childlike, Christ says, do whatever you must to overcome it! Become like a child and go to great extremes to make sure you stay that way. You can’t say, ‘Look, I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.’ Christ is demanding that we keep a strict law! Even looking upon a woman lustfully is considered adultery, and Christ says we ought to figuratively pluck out our eye if we can’t control it! (Matthew 5:27-30). Unless we do, we’re despising God …. Sometimes we must go to extremes to overcome” (ibid).

Of course, we must realize that, going back to our second question, our carnal nature will never die as long as we are in the flesh. And we are powerless to overcome it of ourselves. It is only through the power of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us that we can make strides in this area. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

Only by allowing Christ to live in us (Galatians 2:20) can we overcome our carnality. Thus, even as we come to the end of this self-examination “checklist” and meditate on our part, and how we need to take steps to become more righteous children of God, we see yet another reason that we must always put the primary focus on Christ. Not only would we be dead without His sacrifice, but we would be powerless to grow spiritually without His life, dwelling in our flesh, today, by the power of His Holy Spirit! (John 16:13).

When we attend the Passover ceremony, we will symbolically ingest the body and blood of Christ, reminding ourselves that He does dwell in us! As Jesus Himself said in John 6:53-56, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”

Will you be ready for Passover this year? God’s people desperately need this ceremony. We can’t accept things the way they are. We must overcome; we cannot afford to close our eyes to the problems in our lives. Let’s use this Passover to motivate ourselves to new spiritual heights in the coming year.

If you have problems with other brethren, be the first to step out and do something about it. Repent of your part. Then go beyond simply avoiding whatever you did to cause the problem, and help to make it better. This is the last hour! Christ isn’t going to let another Passover go by in our lives without our taking action! Each of us needs to take the initiative. Judge yourself, as the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:28-31. Don’t make God have to judge you. Take the initiative yourself!

Get serious about this self-examination checklist. Go before God in prayer with a childlike attitude, and say, Father! Reveal my heart to me! Help me realize what I have put you through. Lead me to godly repentance. Build within me a deeper appreciation for you and Jesus Christ! Help me love you and overcome!

You urgently need this Passover. If you have something you have been struggling with, get help. Counsel. Appearing righteous to the ministry isn’t important—overcoming sin and becoming righteous is what is important.

This is the most important Passover of our lives. Let’s honor God and make it our greatest.