What’s Your Answer?

2 Corinthians Overview, Cont’d: What’s Your Answer?blogmistake-1966448__340

“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 in deed you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5(NASB95)

In Monday’s post, “Test Time!” the question posed for thought concerned what kind of questions you would expect on this test. One question I would ask is, “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?

It has to cover more than simple belief for we are told—

“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19

John’s Gospel uses the word believe over 100 times, which is close to half the times it’s used in the New Testament.* Believing is a vital component in knowing Jesus Christ is in us. Yet, we all can agree the demons are definitely not in Christ nor is He in them. So, what in believing is needed to bring us into the assurance we are in Christ and Christ is in us?

  • “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
  • and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you shall be saved,

  • for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness,
  • and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9,10.

Yes, the demons even confessed Jesus to be the Holy One, but not their Lord. They knew and know the facts concerning Jesus, but they are not saved. For their heart, their allegiance is not to Him. Believing with the heart results in righteousness. They are far from righteous.

“He(God the Father) made Him who knew no sin(Jesus Christ)

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

(2 Corinthians 5:21, words in parenthesis added by author for clarification)

And from our heart comes the conviction of truth that leads to salvation.

“for if we live, we live for the Lord,

or if we die, we die for the Lord;

therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again,

that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Romans 14:8-9.

The demons remain and will remain devoid of what it takes for salvation. For salvation lies in a new heart. One which has been raised from death to life.

“But God, being rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our transgressions,

made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

and raised us up with Him,

and seated us with Him in the heavenly places,

in Christ Jesus …”

Ephesians 2:4-6

A heart made pure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8;

  • “Beloved, now we are children of God,
  • and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.
  • We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him,
  • because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him

purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

1 John 3:2,3.

How can we know we are in Christ? John writes—

“Little children,

let us not love with word or with tongue,

but in deed and truth.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth,

and shall assure our heart before Him.”

1 John 3:18,19

Returning to the beginning of this post, what is your answer to the question “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?  My answer—all of the above with the heart being at the core and summed up in Matthew’s gospel when he writes—

“Jesus said unto him,

THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD

WITH ALL THY HEART,

AND WITH ALL THY SOUL,

AND WITH ALL THY MIND …

THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.”

 (Matthew 22:37,39b; KJV)

For Thought: Who owns your heart? The word prove/examine is a word requiring evidence. What’s your evidence?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, how great is your love for us that you would give us your Son to die in our place. May we never lose sight of the love that bought our salvation. No matter what the day brings help us remember the cross proves your love, the resurrection proves your faithfulness. May our works be such as comes from a pure heart of  love for you. Amen.


*Source: “A Study of Believing and Love in John’s Gospel” by Patrick Sullivan, found at https://collected.jcu.edu

Done In Love

1 Corinthians 16: Let It Be Done In Loveblog shield

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men,

be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16:13,14, NASB*)

“Mom? Mom, I need you to wake up.” Mom raised her head, patted my cheek, and smiled. “I’m sorry to wake you but it’s time for your medicine.” I lifted her head enough for her to take her meds.

She smiled again, and lifted her hand to my cheek one last time. “I love you, baby.”

Those were her last true words of endearment to me before she walked with the Lord to her eternal home. They warmed my heart for Mom had dementia and died a couple weeks later. Last words can leave unforgettable marks on a person’s life.

In the last chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul sums up the whole of his letter to a church wrestling with itself and the world. He knew when all else might be forgotten, the last words of his first letter would be remembered as he summed up the letter in so few words.

“Be on the alert … Concerning—

1.Divisions in the body of Christ/the church;

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • that you all agree,
  • and there be no divisions among you,
  • but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1:10)

2. Sin in the body of Christ;

“Or do you not know

  • that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
  • Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, or the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • And such were some of you;
  • but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God …
  • you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (6:9-11,20)

3. Traditions ruling the body of Christ;

  • “You were bought with a price;
  • do not become slaves of men …
  • take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak …
  • Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
  • I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
  • but I buffet my body and make it my slave,
  • lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified
  • … each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good …
  • If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal …
  • Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially prophecy …
  • let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (7:23; 8:9;9:26,27; 12:7; 13:1; 14:1,40)

4. And the hope of the body of Christ.

  • “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
  • But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
  • For since by a man came death,
  • by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
  • For as in Adam all die,
  • so also in Christ all shall be made alive … 
  • Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep,
  • but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;
  • for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable,
  • and we shall be changed …
  • then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ …
  • Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
  • knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (15:19-22; 51-52,54b, 58)

Paul’s exhortation to the believers:

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men, be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16;13,14)

Paul’s warning to the unbelieving:

“If anyone does not love the Lord,

let him be accursed.

Maranatha.**” (22)

Paul’s and my blessing and acknowledgment to you:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

(23,24)

Mom’s last words to me left me a memory of her love, and another reason to look for the Lord’s return—knowing I’ll see her again, as she said, “riding on her white horse with Jesus.”***


For thought: What last words would you want to leave for those you love?

Today’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 22:10-15. Are you among the blessed looking for the Lord’s return or the cursed living outside of the Lord’s blessing?

Our Prayer: May we live with our hearts fixed on things eternal, looking for and working toward your kingdom coming.


*All scripture is taken from the NASB. **Maranatha—O Lord come! ***Mom wrote in her journal, if she should die before the Lord’s return she would be among the saints on white horses when He did return.

Love Is?

1 Corinthians 13: Love Is …cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,

but do not have love,

I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

1 Corinthians 13:1, NASB*

This chapter stands among the most well-known chapters in scripture with The Lord’s Pray and The Shepherd’s Psalm. It’s quoted at weddings, and if the love chapter is practiced, again at anniversaries. Many definitions of love have been offered through these verses, which are less about definition and more about the character of love. The main idea that rises from the sea of words reveals without love, our boat sinks. Or as Paul puts it, without love—

My words are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

My gifts of knowledge, prophecy, and faith reveal “I am nothing.”

My good deeds and sacrifices “profit me nothing.”

Love provides the foundation for a life lived with fulfilled purpose.

As we all know, some people are easier to love than others. Jesus addresses this challenge in Luke 6.

“But I say to you who hear,

  • love your enemies,
  • do good to those who hate you,
  • bless those who curse you,
  • pray for those who mistreat you …
  • And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For sinners love those who love them …
  • But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;
  • and your reward will be great,
  • and you will be sons of the Most High;

for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

(verses 27,28,32,35,36)

Evil stared me in the eye with a smile on his face. My flesh said flee. He wasn’t worth wasting time or effort speaking the words of the gospel to. Clang, clang. My tongue would be only a bell’s clapper. The Spirt of Christ reminded me, someone shared the gospel with me. God wanted to show mercy to this one even as He did to me—and He wanted to show it through me. He wanted this man to know the love He invested in him through the death of His Son. At that moment I learned what love is.

“He who did not spare His own Son,

but delivered Him up for us all,

how will He not also with Him freely give us all things.”

Romans 8:32

Love withholds nothing  needed and is in its power to give. Our heavenly Father is love. He manifested His love for us by giving us His greatest treasure, His Son. While we were His enemies.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us,

in that while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

In Romans 5:10, we are called God’s enemies. Yet, love provided our need. Some receive His love. Many more do not acknowledge it to salvation’s end, but still He gives it to all. As the Lord tells his disciples, freely we have received, freely give. The love of Christ in us demands it and accomplishes it even when we face our enemies.

God revealed his love for the man that day and I learned what love is. The man did not receive the gift of God’s love. Within a couple of months, he died while walking down a road toward more evil. Did he call out to God before his last breath? I don’t know. But I do know, God had reached out to him in love. Maybe He did again.


For Thought: How do you define love? How do we grow in love?

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13; Love never fails. Does it always accomplish its purpose? Did it fail for the man mentioned in today’s post?

Our Prayer: Father, strengthen our spirit through your Holy Spirit’s power in us to love as you love us. May we understand the great dimension of your love through Christ’s love for us and fill us with your fullness. Do this according to your power in us, that others will come to know your love and your glory. May the glory be forever yours.**


*all scriptures are from NASB  ** Taken from Ephesians 3:16-21