Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith

Devotional thoughts for October 2021

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

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? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:5–8, NIV).

Paul used the imperative mood to start this passage because…well… the information is imperative! Examine yourselves! This is a command, not a suggestion… and in this world, it is certainly warranted. People claim to have a lot of knowledge. But it’s apparent that they “know” a lot of things that just aren’t true.

Take nominal believers in Jesus Christ, for example… which would include a majority of “Christians” in the USA. They think they have some kind of claim on heaven. But the truth is, they don’t. Jesus taught that many people who think they are doing God’s work are not — and their end is destruction! (Matthew 7:21-23) So you want to get this part right. First, everyone should check their own credentials. But second, we should also check the credentials of others.

The thing with Jesus is that many love the person of Jesus… like they like the person of Gandhi. Some people cling to the name of Jesus… as they would a lucky charm. But the hard truth is only those who are “in” Christ will be saved — and you aren’t “in” Christ unless Christ is in you. I know… that sounds circular. But it’s not. To see why, let’s look at a minimal description of what it takes to be saved.

To be saved, you must “receive” Christ (John 1:12). This puts him “inside” you (Ephesians 3:7). But we are not alone in this endeavor. Since Acts chapter two, everyone who has relied on Jesus Christ for salvation is in “the Church” — which is also called the Body of Christ.

Do you see how this works? For us to be in him — his body — he must be in us. There is definitely a directional flow. Therefore, the parts of the process are dynamically related. But the flow is not circular… so what’s the problem?

A great many people who have not been born again (John 3:3) have subsumed into the Christian culture. They think they are like us, but they are not regenerate (Titus 3:5). They do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. So, no matter what they feel about the matter, they are not “in” the family of God. Paul commanded us to keep checking ourselves out… because neglecting to do so is a death sentence.

I do this naturally because, at my core, I don’t feel worthy of salvation. But do you see what’s happening here? I’ve already passed the first test! I am not worthy. That’s how Christianity works! But then I continue my spiritual palpitations.

Do I love God’s word? Is there evidence of the Spirit within me? Am I loving my wife as Christ loved the church? These test to see if my heart is true, but they also test for scriptural warrant.

 

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20210927 Deconstruct Daily or Die Defending Dead Doctrine ).

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