This is a conversation we had over at The Berean Nation through Facebook chat this afternoon. We offer it as an instructional aid and resource for you all.
Questioner: How familiar are you with 2 Corinthians?
Berean Nation: Familiar enough. What is your specific question?
Questioner: Well, coming across what Paul says in it about testing yourself. You know that?
Berean Nation: What’s the reference? I’ll look it up to re-read the passage quickly.
Questioner: 2 Corinthians 13:5. Some of the following verses have to do with that as well.
Berean Nation: Great. Give me a moment.
“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? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.” 2 Corinthians 13:5-6
‘Okay, I’ve re-read the chapter to try to put a little context to the discussion. What is your specific question?
Questioner: Well, it got me thinking about that last night. Just what motivates my faith?
Berean Nation: That’s a good question, and very important. Have you thought about what motivates your faith?
Questioner: Yeah, a few things… One is of course the next life. The commentary made me wonder if I was motivated selfishly and not by Christ. Also, some good motivations such as how we are meant to help others, and the hope we have in Him, and other things…
Berean Nation: Right. So, in context of the passage, how do you feel you did? What were the results of your testing of yourself, or your self-examination?
Questioner: Well, quite honestly, I’m not sure I did well. I mean, I’m rather insecure, and uncertain… What do you think?
Berean Nation: Well, I think the passage tells you quite a few things. First of all, what makes you a Christian?
Questioner: Believing in Christ who died and rose again, and following Him.
Berean Nation: Okay, does it say anything in that passage about your initial motivation for believing in Christ?
Questioner: I don’t think I see anything about it. Do you?
Berean Nation: Nope, none at all. So what does that say about your initial motivations?
Questioner: I don’t know. Maybe that I’m seeking His kingdom and righteousness?
Berean Nation: Personally, I think if it isn’t mentioned, there is very little if any importance to it. I’ll tell you why…
I don’t think your initial motivations matter. I think God calls us to Himself so He can CHANGE those motivations to be more like His Son as He renews our minds and transforms us into His Son’s glorious image.
To do that, clearly, Paul is saying that you need to be in the faith. And you can examine, or test that. How would you go about testing that?
Questioner: Um, actions?
Berean Nation: Specifically what actions?
Questioner: Well, doing what he wants us to do?
Berean Nation: And what is that?
Questioner: Well there’s a number of things.
Berean Nation: Okay, list a few.
Questioner: Spreading His Gospel, being a light to the world, worshipping Him, helping others, showing love to each other, etc.
Berean Nation: Right, so those are the activities that make you “in the faith,” or that “save” you then, right?
I mean, that’s what we’re talking about.
John 6:29 – Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
So let me ask you – have you done that? I mean really?
Or are we saved by works?
Questioner: Sure. I mean, I keep on praying and trying despite difficulties. No, we are not saved by works, but by God’s grace.
Berean Nation: Right. So let me ask again for you to apply that verse in 2 Cor 13:5 – What is the test to see if you are “in the faith?”
Questioner: To see if I believe in Jesus Christ.
Berean Nation: Okay, that’s step one. Do you?
Questioner: Yes, I have professed so. My hope rests in Him.
Berean Nation: If that’s an honest answer, you have started in the right place. Now that’s the first part of being “in the faith.” We call it “justification.” Now let’s talk about the second part of “being in the faith.” We call that “sanctification.”
Sanctification is literally “being made holy.”
Here’s another question. Whose primary responsibility is your becoming holy?
Berean Nation: Nope.
Berean Nation: God’s. What is your job?
Questioner: Trusting Him?
Berean Nation: John 6:29 – Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Questioner: Ok ok, point made.
Berean Nation: Do you know what the word believe means though? In Hebrew?
Berean Nation: Believe is the verb form of faith in Greek. In Hebrew, it is the same concept as “Obey.”
So what’s your job?
Questioner: To obey Him
Berean Nation: Right. That’s how you become “sanctified.” Or Made holy. There is a third part of “being in the faith,” but it’s at the end. “Resurrection.” Being saved is more than just saying a prayer then going to heaven.
You notice after you got saved, that God didn’t take you directly to heaven?
Questioner: Of course. Call me crazy, but I think that somehow, oddly enough, applies to everyone who is saved.
Berean Nation: You got it!
See, you needed to be justified before God. So Jesus paid the penalty for you. So then you need to be made ready to spend eternity with Him. That takes time and obedience.
So that we can have that final reward.
And God, who is faithful, promised to complete this in you.
And if that’s all true (and you better believe it, I can find it all in the New Testament), then what have you got to worry about? God’s got this.
Questioner: Amen. Thanks Berean Nation! That really helps!
Gerry @ The Berean Nation