On Testing Yourselves

2 Corinthians 3 13:3-14
Paul begins this chapter by confirming the power of God. “Since you seek the power of God speaking in me…” he begins. And it’s interesting that he refers to the weakness of Jesus and compares it to the weakness that we all encounter. And the comparison that he makes of Jesus “being crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God.” This does not imply that God and Jesus are seperate beings, but rather is a testament to the fact that God was willing to take on human flesh and all of it’s weaknesses for our sake. “We are also weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God.” This is the affirmation that though we are often times very weak, that we encounter many things which would seek to disrupt and destroy our lives, and yet, through Him we are saved. It also serves to us as a stern reminder that no matter how “good” or “holy” we may think ourselves to be, it is not we ourselves who can obtain the kingdom. No self-righteousness, no judgments, nothing could make us worthy of the kingdom. But rather it is the grace of God Himself living within us is worthy of obtaining the Kingdom. The test of being in Christ is a humble, virtuous life in Christ and in communion with the Church, the “body of Christ.” Make no mistake, we will falter; but through this communion, we are able to repent, confess our sins, and move forward. And through His grace alone would we be able to attain to the Kingdom.

And then Paul impels us to “examine yourselves to determine whether you are in the faith.” To “test yourselves.” As Christians, we have Jesus living in us, unless we are “disqualified” (for lack of a better word). And what is it that could disqualify us? Being unable to speak the truth about Christ. Being unable to live a Christ-like life. Intentionally wronging or hurting others. Living a life of arrogance and being unwilling to love one another, even those who wrong us. Jesus had the power to call down the angels, but instead went willingly to the cross because His love for His people was so great. He went to the cross to take upon Himself the punishment for the sins of His people, and not just those who were present at that time, but rather for the sins of all people, past, present, and future. Paul, Peter, Timothy, Pontius, me, you, your great grandchildren; He chose to die for the sins of all people in all time. And to what length do we honor that sacrifice, I ask you? We may occasionally post something on social media, but do our true lives look as though we truly believe it? I htink that, if we were honest, even in the Church, most people see His great sacrifice more as a “get out of jail free card.” I think that most of us, if we’re honest, don’t really see His sacrifice in the true light of what He willingly did for us.

And Paul further extols us, “I pray that you would do no evil, no that we should appear approved.” Again and again we see this abomination against actions for the sake of appearance. It’s this strong warning, anyone can say they’re a Christian. Anyone can go to church. But do our actual lives reflect that faith? Do we strive to live a Christian life, or do we just look for the cliff notes version of the Bible. Anyone can quote John 3:16, I’ve seen it used to promote many sinful events, but do we truly believe that the whole Bible is the Word of God? If so, we need to pay attention to it. 1 Corinthians 6 alone condemns so much of our current culture, yet it so often gets bypassed because of this condemnation of so many things that we’ve accepted, that we’ve rejoiced in, that we’ve grown to love more than we love God Himself.

Paul concludes this letter to the church in Corinth we a final lesson. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace. In having completed so many of thes lessons, he wants to make it known that disciples of Christ should never be at ends with one another. True disciples of Christ should strive to be as Christ was, never accepting false teachings, or heretical thoughts; however the true disciples of Christ would never have accepted those things either. But, amongst the faithful, there should never be hatred, never be judgment. Let us all remember that there was only ever one without sin, and He took all of our sins unto Himself so that those who truly seek after Him would be cleared of those wages of thos sins.

Let us all strive to live a Christ-like, Christ-filled life. Let us abide in His teachings and commandmnets as best we can, never forgetting to turn to Him in prayer whenever we fear that we may fall. Let us remember the sacrifice that truly happened for all of our’s sakes, and remember it as it really was. Most pictures and paintings of the crucifixion don’t really do justice to the length that He went to for our sakes. The Scriptures describe the crucifixion much more in detail than our paintings and icons ever could. We will fall from this, we will fail; but let us repent and confess each time we do so, praying that we may one day we judged worthy of the Kingdom.

Christ is in our midst.

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