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 that I am coming to you. On the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter shall be confirmed. 2 I have previously said when I was 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 proof of the Christ who speaks in me, 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 too 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 expect that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong; not so that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, though we may appear unapproved. 8 For we cannot do anything 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 become mature. 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, brothers and sisters, rejoice, mend your ways, 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 Luke 18:1-8 it says: Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not become discouraged, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect any person. Now there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect any person, yet because this widow is bothering me, I will give her justice; otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge said; now, will God not bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long for them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Today’s text says: Indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we too are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. 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? What is the test? How are we to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith? It is more than just calling Jesus Lord, or even our actions for Jesus. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” We cannot pass the test of faith and continue to practice lawlessness. If Jesus doesn’t know us, then what we do is not really done in His name.
Surely, we cannot rely on our own perception, on our own hearts to examine ourselves. In Jeremiah 17:9-10 God says: “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, To give to each person according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Most often, even those who are obviously guilty will plead innocence in a court of law, hoping to avoid what their deeds deserve. Our response should be like the psalmist, who says in Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, God, and know my heart; Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. We don’t invite God to search our hearts so that He will know our anxious thoughts and hurtful ways. He is omniscient, all knowing. We ask God to search our hearts so that He might reveal to us what is wrong in our thoughts and ways. 1 John 1:8-9 says: 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, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We should not plead innocence, but rather confess our guilt to receive God’s grace.
If we are in the faith, our response to what God reveals to us should be like the psalmist in Psalm 51:10-15: Create in me a clean heart, God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach wrongdoers Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You… Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, So that my mouth may declare Your praise.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, mend your ways, 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.