2 Corinthians Overview, Cont’d: What’s Your Answer?
“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.”
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 …”
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—
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