“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?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NAS95)
These are the apostle Paul’s instructions to the church at Corinth. The church was struggling with sin—so much so that Paul was afraid of what he would find when he came to visit them. There needed to be some serious testing and self-examination. There needed to be a genuine effort on their part to discover the true nature of their relationship with God. Were they still in the faith? Was Christ still dwelling within them? They needed to test and see.
What is the nature of this self-examination? How can you test to see if you are still in the faith? That Christ is still in you? From the context of the passage, it seems that the test is this: Are you continuing in unrepentant sin? Paul says earlier in chapter 12, “For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish… that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances…” (2 Corinthians 12:20 NAS95) Paul is afraid that he won’t find what he wishes to find, i.e., that they are still in the faith. What would be the evidence of this? Ongoing interpersonal strife. An ongoing unwillingness to get along with each other. When someone continues unrepentantly in these things, they are failing the test!
Paul goes on in the next verse, “I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.” (2 Corinthians 12:21 NAS95) There needs to be a test! A critical self-examination! Those who continue on in unrepentant sexual immorality are failing the test!
If Christ is really in us, there will be an obvious change in how we live our lives. We don’t fail the test because we sin, or because we struggle with temptation. No, we fail the test when we continue on in a lifestyle of sin.
We fail the test when we choose to not turn from our sins. Is there sin in your life that you need to repent of? Is Christ in you? Let us test ourselves to see if we are in the faith.