2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) – Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
I hated tests in school. Most of the time it was because I didn’t prepare or study for them. It wasn’t just the bad grade that I dreaded, it was the evidence that I didn’t know the material. It was the confirmation that I fell short of the standard expected for proficiency and competency.
Our passage today highlights the need for examination and testing in our faith. Paul writes to the church in Corinth for them to, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” This examination would mean to look for evidence and signs of true saving faith in their lives. Is there a love for Jesus? Do they obey His commands? Are they living for His glory and mission? This type of examination is encouraged because it is easy to “profess” to be a Christian, but one should examine what our lives and hearts reveal as well, not just our mouths.
Paul continues and says, “Test yourselves.” This is the same as an examination. His purpose is to stress that this testing reveals whether Jesus is in them or not. The worst thing that could happen is for them to examine themselves and discover Christ is not there. It is a scary thing to think you are a Christian when you are not. Therefore, examination and testing can be helpful.
This is a test and examination that Christians should not avoid or dread. For those who belong to Jesus, this test and examination should be passed with flying colors each time it is administered. It is only those who know they will not pass who do not want to take the test or examine themselves. Friends, if you find yourself hesitant to look for evidence of true faith, let that be a warning sign. Cry out to the Lord to grip your heart with a love for him. Ask Jesus to stir your affections to follow and live for him.
For extra credit, if you really want to test and examine yourself, have the courage to ask some people who know you well if they see evidence of love and devotion to Christ in your life. That way you can know that Christ is in you.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do you think Paul wants the Christians to examine themselves for true faith?
- What are some signs that someone may profess saving faith, but not possess saving faith?
- How often should we test and examine ourselves in this way?