Unless You Fail the Test

Summary 2 Corinthians 1-12

The Corinthian church was riddled with sin, especially sexual immorality, I believe. It was questionable, thus, as to the legitimacy of everyone’s faith. So, Paul encouraged them to be reconciled to God, and he urged them not to receive God’s grace in vain. He also urged them to return to him the love he had for them, for they evidently were withholding it from him.

He also exhorted them not to be yoked (bonded, partnered) together with unbelievers. For, he stated, that righteousness and wickedness have nothing in common with each other. They must have also been idolaters, for he also let them know that false gods are not in harmony with Christ, and that a believer has nothing in common with an unbeliever (2 Co 6:14-18).

He went on to encourage them by saying, “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Co 7:1).

He also chastised them in this way: “In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face” (2 Co 11:20).

As well, the Corinthian church, in part or in whole, was challenging Paul’s apostolic authority, and evidently they were listening to false teachers who were opposing Paul and what he was teaching, for most of this letter involved Paul defending his authority among them and his ministry, which translated to him, in reality, defending the truth of the gospel.

And Paul was concerned that when he came to them that he would not find them as he hoped they would be, but that he would find discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, fits of rage and disorder among them. He was also concerned that those who had sinned earlier had not yet repented of their sins of indulgence in impurity, sexual sin, and debauchery.

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 NIV

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.”

So, all of this called for them to examine themselves to see whether or not they truly were in the faith, for some or all of them were not living according to the gospel of their salvation, but they were living according to the flesh.

And as I skim read back through chapters 1-12 I could not help but see many parallels between the Corinthian church of Paul’s day and the church at large in America today, and perhaps in other nations, too. For the church at large today is very fleshly, idolatrous, sexually immoral, and adulterous.

As well, the gospel of salvation from sin that Jesus and Paul taught has come under scrutiny in our day, too, and many people in the gatherings of the church (or the false church) are being led astray by clever enchanters who are telling them what their itching ears want to hear.

Also, the church at large has become unequally yoked (partnered) together with the government, big business, and the world, and thus they have turned the church into a marketplace to be marketed as a product to the world, using worldly means to draw in large crowds from the world.

Many are not repenting of their sins today, either, but they are living in the same types of sins as what is mentioned here, without conscience or guilt, because they are being taught that God’s grace makes no demands on them for repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord.

So, much of what Paul said to the Corinthian church in this letter could also be said to and about the church overall in America, and perhaps in other nations throughout the world today where they have bought into the lie of Satan that says they can live in sin and still have eternal life with God.

So, this counsel here applies to much of the church today. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” And the measuring stick for this test is the Bible, in particular the New Testament under the New Covenant, but the Scriptures, IN CONTEXT, not taken out of their context and thus misapplied.

The Test

I think we all pretty much, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, agree that Jesus, God the Son, came to earth, took on human form, lived until about age 33, healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowful, and delivered people from demons.

And I think we pretty much all agree that the religious rulers in the temple, for the most part, hated him and wanted him dead, so they plotted his death, and they convinced the government to carry it out for them.

Thus, Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross, although he had done no wrong, but this was God’s plan for him, that he would be our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world.

And I think we pretty much all agree that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith, which is not of ourselves, but is a gift of God; not of works (our own works) lest any of us should boast that we somehow earned or deserved our own salvation (See: Eph 2:8-9).

But beyond that there is a definite dividing factor between those who follow all the teachings in the New Testament (under the New Covenant), regarding salvation from sin and eternal life with God, and those who cherry pick only certain Scriptures, which they remove from their context, and which they then misinterpret to give their adherents free license to keep living in sin.

So, here’s the test: The Scriptures teach that our salvation from sin and our eternal life with Christ are conditional, for they are dependent on how we live. If we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if we walk according to the Spirit, and if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live eternally with God.

When we believe in Jesus, if it is true faith, we die with Christ to sin so that we no longer live in sin but so we now live to Christ and to his righteousness. Sin is no longer our master. Jesus is. By faith, and by the Spirit, we put our former lives behind us, we are transformed in heart and mind, and we now follow our Lord in obedience to his commands.

Nonetheless, if we continue living in sin and we are not obeying our Lord’s commands, but we are making sin our practice, instead, the Scriptures teach that will end in death, not eternal life with God.

So, if this is where you are, according to Scripture, you are not a true child of God, and one day you will be judged, and eternal punishment in hell is your destiny unless you repent and you turn to follow our Lord in obedience to his will and to his ways.

But know this. We must continue to live in Christ. We must continue to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. If we do not, and we abandon the faith, our destiny is not heaven. We must remain in Christ and in his word and in our faith, in practice, until the very end.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15, 21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 2:24-25; 1 Jn 5:3]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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