Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Paul wanted the believers in Corinth to ask themselves a sobering question: “Is Jesus Christ really in me?” It’s a question that believers today should also ask.
We are rightly concerned that every believer has the assurance of salvation and knows how to endure the attacks that come in this area from Satan. At the same time, we also understand that there are some whoassume or presume they are Christians when they are not. It is a challenge to every believer: Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
We are often very ready to examine and test others, but first – and always first – we must examine and test ourselves. The Corinthians were quick to examine and criticize Paul, but they were slow to examine themselves.
Paul thought there might be some among the Corinthian believers who were disqualified for eternal life and salvation. Their thinking was worldly because they were more of the world than of the Lord. This is a hard truth to confront, but it is better to know now than when it is too late. If we don’t examine ourselves and testourselves now, we may find that we ultimately don’t pass the test and are disqualified.
What should we look for when we examine and test ourselves? We should see if Jesus Christ is in you. We are not to look for perfection in ourselves or in others, but we should see real evidence that Jesus Christ is in us. The main point isn’t to look for sin, but to look for Jesus Christ, and to ask Him if there is anything in my life that grieves the Holy Spirit, then to ask for the grace that it may be accounted as cleansed by the sacrifice of Jesus and put away from the habits of my life.
In verse 6, Paul anticipated a counter-question. “Paul, you ask us to examine ourselves. Well, why don’t you examine yourself? Maybe you aren’t a Christian after all.” Paul dismissed this question out of hand. It was so apparent that we are not disqualified that he simply trusts that they recognize the truth of it.
There are some believers who torture themselves with excessive self-examination. They often doubt the many assurances God gives them regarding their salvation. Those believers exist, but they are far outnumbered by those who give little or no attention to self-examination. There are many more who assume they are right with God and destined for heaven, when they should examine themselves for real evidence of God’s work in their life.
Ask yourself: What evidence is there that Jesus Christ is in you?