As Christians, how do we examine ourselves? Do we get up close to a mirror and see what we can find? If you were challenged with the question: Have you examined yourself lately to see if you are a Christian or not, what would you say to them in reply? I know what I would say, but would you know what to say? Would you even know how to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith or not? What was Paul on about with all this self-examination stuff anyway?
I don’t usually make use of my preamble in the main body of the text of my articles, but the questions within it are so pertinent that I thought it would be a waste to leave them out. SO how do Christians examine themselves and prove themselves, no less, in order to see if they are in The Faith? Here is the verse of Holy Scripture in question:
2 Cor 13:5 (KJV) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
There are the questions that all Christians should be able to answer: 1) Do you know your own selves, 2) do you know if you are in The Faith and 3) is Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) in you?
Now this verse of Holy Scripture is very well known in fundamental and, possibly, charismatic Christian circles too. In fact, most serious evangelical denominations are very familiar with it, but do they understand it? Do they understand it or treat it blindly in the same light as the first century philosopher Ignatius, whom I revealed as a counterfeiter and impostor in my article entitled “Theology & Theologians or Bible Intellectuals & Bible Intellectualism – Part 5 – The ‘Church Fathers’.” Ignatius thought that self-examination was all part of a do-it-yourself self-help; self-improvement programme involving strict self imposed spiritual exercises or boot strap Christianity, as I call it. I wonder which gym he used? This process is otherwise known as ‘salvation by works’ or ‘salvation by process’. In other words it’s salvation without the need for Yashua Anointed’s (The Lord Jesus Christ’s) sacrifice.
Cainite-Judeo-Christian Religious self-examination is usually taught from pulpits along the lines of this: “examine yourselves to see if you ‘measure up’, are you ‘good enough’ to call yourself a Christian? One of their favourite little “guilt loaders” is this: “if someone took you to court for being a good Christian would they be able to find you guilty as charged?” Never mind that a secular court would have no idea what a good Christian is!!! OK, I’ve digressed here a little, so back to our self examination: how many sins you have you committed this week? How many repetitive sins have you not overcome? Has your permanent smile slipped at all? Have you made sure your finances are all in order and you have your tithe (10%) for the plate this week? Have you gotten yourself ‘right with God’ yet and set aside your ‘quiet times’ and are you ready for the next renewal or awakening? This is how it goes folks, and it goes on and on and on. In fact, I could easily have filled a whole A4 sheet of paper with this list of to-do’s, never mind the ‘do-nots’! So, what’s it all about and where is the Grace in all this stuff? Furthermore, is this the message Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ), through Paul, is trying to get across to us in 2 Cor 13:5? Notice, too, how it’s all based on YOU and not Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) i.e. your strength, your abilities, not Yashua Anointed’s strength and abilities.
In order to understand this verse properly we need some background information on the troubles and problems Paul was having with certain members of The Church at Corinth. We need to understand what a cesspit of licentiousness and depravity the city of Corinth was in the first century. Fornication was a societal norm in a city where temple prostitutes offered sex whilst Corinthians worshipped their pagan deities. This was religion with a difference or an ‘added attraction’, making religious observances all very enticing indeed. No empty pews in these ‘churches’ I’ll bet. In turn, this sexual depravity tempted those who were Spiritual babes or those new to The Faith in the Church at Corinth. This resulted in a stern admonishment from Paul. Now was this admonishment for the sins committed or for their attitudes or approach toward sinning? Notice, it was not the first time Paul had had to do this as we can see in:
2 Cor 13:1 (KJV) This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
2 Cor 12:20 (KJV) For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.
First off, we can see there were other problems with this Church; it was a hot bed of general unchristian behaviour and dissension including repetitive lascivious sins not repented of:
2 Cor 12:21 (KJV) And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
Here we can plainly see the problems Paul was having with these Church members and continuing in Chapter 13 I will copy here the first four verses from the Amplified Bible rather than the KJV:
2 Cor 13:1-4 (Amplified) This is the third time that I am coming to you. By the testimony of two or three witnesses must any charge and every accusing statement be sustained and confirmed. 2 I have already warned those who sinned formerly and all the rest also, and I warn them now again while I am absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come back, I will not spare [them], 3 Since you desire and seek [perceptible] proof of the Christ Who speaks in and through me. [For He] is not weak and feeble in dealing with you, but is a mighty power within you; 4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He goes on living by The Power of God. And though we too are weak in Him [as He was humanly weak], yet in dealing with you [we shall show ourselves] alive and strong in [fellowship with] Him by The Power of God. (Emphasis mine)
Here we can see that this is not the first time Paul has had to deal with these members and their behaviour. In verse 3 Paul clearly states that Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) speaks in and through him. I will digress here a while to put to rest a common blasphemy of Cainite-Judeo-Christian theologians and Bible intellectuals who will frequently use the argument that Paul was only a man, who spoke only as a man and for himself only. They do this so they can explain away certain Holy Scriptures they find difficult to comprehend, unpalatable to their closed carnal minds or, in their puffed up conceit and vanity, cannot agree with, because they clash with their preconceived erroneous liberal or evangelical agenda and ideas. (Please see my article “Progressive or liberal ‘Christianity’ versus Fundamental ‘Christianity’) Of late, I have noticed, too, a big increase in a blasphemous anti-Paul sentiment spreading across the web like a cancerous disease, so beware and be ready to rebuke these Judaising dogs in Yashua Anointed’s name.
Having digressed, let’s move on, for in the second half of verse 3 Paul confirms what I have been saying in my other articles; that Yashua Anointed is not a long haired effeminate wimp. He is not weak in dealing with us but, is mighty in power within us and if these Corinthians were who they claimed to be He should have been mighty in power in them. Now this is where we come to the rub in verses 4 and 5. These members were behaving as if they were weak, but Paul was telling them they should be showing themselves as alive and strong through the Power of God in them through Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) being in them. Hence we have Paul’s exhortation in verse 5 for them to examine themselves to see if they are, in fact, in the Faith and to see if Yashua Anointed is, actually, in them. If He is not in them then they are, indeed, reprobates and disqualified.
Now how do we know if Yashua Anointed is in us or not? Quite simply through DESIRE i.e. the desire to do what He would love us to do. We should want to do what pleases Him, because He has written His Law on our hearts. Hearts of flesh, not hearts of stone. The problem is, we don’t always do what He would love us to do or would want us to do, because we are still weak in the flesh, in our dead bodies of sin, and succumb to temptation, but if we maintain that desire not to sin He will enable us, eventually, to overcome it. Please note: we do not overcome anything; only He does, if we let Him!! It is the DESIRE NOT TO SIN that separates the saved from the unsaved, not the actual cessation of committing sin. Always remembering, too, that The Father cannot see the sins of our dead bodies anyway. Our dead bodies of sin will always sin until our dying day, Born of God (Born Again) or otherwise. Hopefully, those of us who are Born of God (Born Again) will be sinning less as we grow and mature in our relationship with our elder brother and friend Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ). The stronger that bond of Godly love (agape) grows the more powerful His Power grows in us and we will automatically sin less. We must learn that we cannot achieve this under our own steam or programmes of ‘spiritual exercises’ like the blaspheming dog Ignatius.
The issue of desire is plainly demonstrated by Mary when she sat at The Lord’s feet to hear Him speak – it was her desire, a voluntary action, she wanted to hear Him. She didn’t make herself sit there nor was she ordered to sit there, because she wanted to sit there.
Getting back to those Corinthian Church members, we can now see their problem in a true light. Paul is saying to them: “Look, is Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) in you or not in you? If He is, then you won’t want to be doing what you are doing, your desire will be not to do what you are doing. On the other hand if your desire is to continue without a thought in your dissolute sinful lifestyles then Yashua Anointed cannot be in you and you are reprobates.
To sum up then, we can now see that self-examination has nothing to do with self-improvement or spiritual exercises. Self-improvement is of the self – period. Real self-examination, on the other hand, for a Christian, means only one thing; to see if Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) is in you or not in you. You are either Born of God (Born Again) or you are not Born of God (Born Again). If you have an innate desire to do what He would love you to do – even if you fall at the first hurdle or six, then you have examined yourself and you are not a reprobate – it’s as simple as that. All you have to do is just keep on believing and trusting in Him:
1 John 3:3 (KJV) And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.
There it is, and it cannot be any plainer than that for if you keep your hope in Him (not hope in your mickey mouse spiritual exercises) you will be as pure as Yashua Anointed.
Yashua Anointed will overcome what remains of the sinful nature still lurking within your dead physical body, not you. All you have to do is make sure you have that DESIRE not to sin which, in turn, proves that Yashua Anointed (The Lord Jesus Christ) is in you and you will then have examined yourself to prove that you are in The Faith.