Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith
2 Corinthians 13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 2 I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, 3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 4 For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.
5 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? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. 10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.
11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you.
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
In Psalm 26:1-5 the psalmist says: Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without
wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.
I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked. In Psalm 139:23-24, the psalmist says: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. How many of us would have the same confidence as the psalmist, that we would invite God to test us, to try us and to know our heart. The truth is God does not need our permission or invitation. He knows our hearts and our minds. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." We cannot hide our actions, our desires or our thoughts from the omniscient God. Because of that, because it is futile to think that we can hide from or decieve God, Paul says: 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? Because God sees and knows, we should be honest with ourselves about what is really in our heart.
John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. There is more to believing in Christ than simply acknowledging that He lived. To believe in Him we must have faith not only that He lived, but also that He died for our sins. 1 John 1:5-10 says: God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. We test ourselves regarding our faith by turning from our sin. If Christ is in us then we cannot have sin in us as well. If we choose to continue in sin, we fail the test of faith. If we justify our sin or say we have no sin we lie. Here is the good news though about our sin and seeing ourselves as God sees and knows us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In Christ, God sees us not in our own unrighteousness, but rather in Christ’s righteousness. In Isaiah 43:25 God says: "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” We should test and examine ourselves, but we should not condemn ourselves. In John 8:11 Jesus says: “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” If we will confess and repent of our sins, we can be assured that God will see us as redeemed and not condemned.
Still He says: “Go.
From now on sin no more.” In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Believing, having faith does indeed require a decision. Being faithful, walking
out our faith requires that we continue to make that decision daily; minute by minute. In Psalm 37:3 the psalmist says: Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Faithfulnees grows when our faith is tested. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says: We walk by faith, not by sight. Waliking by faith requires that we believe, that we trust and that we obey God regardless of how things appear. In Psalm 37:4-7 the psalmist says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Examining our hearts will reveal whether we are going to God to get what we want or we are delighting in God, trusting in Him and commiting our way to His way, and so getting all that we need in and from Him.
In the text Paul says: Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If our faith were on trial, would there be witnesses to confirm our faith? Would our lives, our actions and our words testify of our faith? Could we say, like the psalmist: I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without
wavering. I have walked in Your truth.
I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked. God knows and judges our heart. But if the world were to examine us, would they find evidence of our faith by our works. James 2:14-20 says: What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? So our faith is demonstrated by our doing good works. It is not the good works that lead to our salvation. Rather, works are the evidence of our faith. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. The works that God prepared for us and prepared us for in faith; the works that should be evident and evidence to the world, the works we are to walk in are both goodness and righteousness.
The text ends saying: Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.