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Pass or fail

Most are probably familiar with the idea of taking a test, but do you know that as Christians we are also taking a different kind of test? Paul commands the saints in his second letter to the Corinthians to test themselves.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB95) - 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?

Unlike a test at school, the Christian administers it to themselves.  Also, there is not a set date for the examination.  It is actually a constant examination.  It is also not a written test but an internal, introspective analysis.

But what does it mean to be in the faith?

Jude 3 (NASB95) - Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Galatians 1:23 (NASB95) - 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”

There is but one faith.  It is the same faith that Paul once persecuted and then later preached. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ or what we call the New Testament.  So in the context Paul is telling the saints to constantly examine themselves to make sure that they are truly living the according to the gospel, i.e. like a genuine Christian.

What is the most important question in determining whether one is passing the test?  Like most tests it is about knowledge.  What knowledge must the Christian prove they possess?

2 Thessalonians 1:6–8 (NASB95) - For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

The Christian must know God and by implication know the gospel (in order to obey it). Knowing God and knowing His gospel, however, would be one and the same since we know God through His Word. 

But what does it look like?

1 John 4:7–8 (NASB95) - Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows GodThe one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

It looks like love, but we must be specific.  It is the biblical, affectionate love.  That doesn’t just mean hugs and kisses but something far greater.

John 3:16 (NKJV) - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV) - 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her

This is the supreme love of intense devotion.  This is the love that God showed when he sent Jesus and it is the love Christ showed when we went to the cross. This is a love that knows God must also be prioritized.

Luke 14:26 (NKJV) - 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

One must love God the most.  He must be first in all ways.  When this is case, then through His Word we will know how to properly love everyone and everything else. This love is also obedient to the Gospel.

John 14:15 (NASB95) - 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

2 Thessalonians 1:7–8 (NASB95) - …the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Just like the test this obedience is continual.  It is not a one-time thing but a daily, hourly, every minute, every second kind of thing. It’s not about just knowing the right answer, but lovingly obeying it.

James 1:22 (NASB95) - 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Even though we don’t know the day or time this test will eventually end. 

Hebrews 9:27 (NASB95) - 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NASB95) - 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

We must realize that we as Christians are taking the final exam right now, when we reach the judgment the only thing left to be done is the grading! Brethren let me encourage you to introspectively examine yourself constantly to make sure you are continually obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ so that you will pass the test.



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