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 today’s text it 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? Paul encourages us to test and examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith; to recognize whether of not Jesus Christ is in us. An examination or a physical test looks for evidence. If we think in terms of a medical examination or test, it also looks for symptoms. What evidence is there in our lives that Christ is in us? In John 14:12-14 Jesus says: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. Do our lives reveal the evidence of the presence of Christ, are we doing the works He did? In John 14:27 He says: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Is there evidence of the presence of Christ in us because of the peace that we have or do we show signs and symptoms of worry and fear?
Here’s the thing, Ephesians 2:8-9 says: It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. It is not our works or our own strength that yield the result of the examination, but rather it is our faith. The test is to see if we are in the faith. Previously, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul testified about himself saying: There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. The presence of difficulties in our lives is not evidence that we are not in the faith; it does not mean that we fail the test. The evidence comes from how we respond to the difficulties in our lives; by what we do when things are hard. Do we rely on our own strength, or do we submit to Christ in our weakness? Do we strive to pass the test with our works, or do we show our faith by trusting in God’s all sufficient grace?
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The real evidence that we are in the faith is that we submit ourselves fully to Christ. We yield both our weakness and our strength to Him. After all, in John 14:13-14 Jesus said: Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If there is evidence of the works of Christ in our lives, it is because He is the one who is doing them. In John 15:4-11 Jesus says: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. Jesus says: Apart from Me you can do nothing. To work apart from Him is to fail the test.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, I submit to You, both my weakness and my strengths. I trust in Your all sufficient grace. May I not be concerned with circumstances and symptoms, but rather may I know Your peace. May I always keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. Abiding in You and You in me, may I bear much fruit to the glory of the Father. Amen.