Employee review season at work can be nerve-racking. I remember one particular review where I essentially was put on notice. This took me by complete surprise, for as far as I could tell, I had done a great job. My boss then walked me through the entire year and pointed out a number of areas where I had dropped the ball on different projects and responsibilities. It was a hard lesson learned; I could not just cruise through my career without examining on a daily basis whether or not I was really doing my job well.
In today’s passage, Paul warned the church at Corinth that they needed to perform a similar self-examination in order to see if they were walking in a way that was consistent with a follower of Christ.
- How often do you take time to reflect on yourself as a follower of Christ?
READ THE WORD: 2 CORINTHIANS 13:1-10 (ESV)
13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 2 I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them— 3 since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
- Why was it important for a charge to be established by more than one person (vs. 1)?
- When Paul told the Corinthians that he would not spare those who were continuing to walk in the same sin that he saw in his previous visit, what did he imply that he would not spare (vs. 2)?
- What is the implication of “the power of God” in dealing with sin in the life of a believer (vs. 3)?
- Paul asked the Corinthians to “examine” and “test” their faith. What was the reason for this (vss. 5-6)?
- Think about the key phrases in this passage: establish evidence, examine, test, and restoration. How do the first two words play a sanctifying role in the third one? How are you consistently examining yourself for evidence of your continued sanctification?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul challenged the believers at Corinth to do more than just call themselves Christians. He urged them to examine how they were living, to see if it matched up with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was not questioning the Corinthians’ salvation, but rather was making sure that they were walking in obedience to the Lord. Ultimately, Paul cared about their continual sanctification as followers of Christ.
It’s easy to imagine Paul writing these words to believers today. Are we, too, simply calling ourselves followers of Christ?
- Examine and test your life for evidence of obedience to God.
- Ask God to reveal areas where you are refusing to be obedient, so that you may confess your sin and walk in the truth.