Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 5

Examine Yourself to See if You are in the Faith

The question today is important: Are you a Christian? Paul instructed the church at Corinth to…

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! 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)

This is an extremely important question, and in a previous post, I offered one way of examining yourself, and now I offer an even better one. This test also arises from 2 Corinthians, and while the previous test was a question of works, this test is a question of trust.  In short, do you trust that the following verse is true for you…

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

Here is what Paul means: When Jesus went to the cross, Paul says that God the Father made His Son to be sin for us. This is not saying that Jesus became a sinner, but that he took on our sin. Every thing you and I ever did wrong, Jesus took on Himself and was punished in our place. This is the “gospel”, which means good news. And it is extremely good news because it means we are no longer held guilty because of our sin. Jesus substituted Himself.

But there is a second half of this truth. It is not only that we are to trust that He took our sin on Himself, but also that He gives us His righteousness. This is the part of Christianity that even some Christians do not understand. It is glorious that we are forgiven for our sin, but that would just leave us “not sinners.” No, even better, at the cross, Jesus does more than erase our sins; He also passes on His righteousness to us. We “become the righteousness of God.” This means that all the positive things that Jesus did in His life get credited to our account.

So not only are we forgiven, but we are also perfect in righteousness. So when the Father looks at us, he not only sees people who have not sinned, but He also sees people who have actively obeyed Him perfectly and He therefore can say that He loves us like He loves His very own Son.

If I may say so, that’s glorious. And this truth is also meant to be the fountain of joy and life for the believer.

So…do you believe that Jesus took your place of punishment on the cross? And do you believe that He has therefore given you His righteousness? If so, then you are a Christian. This trust or belief is the great test to examine yourself with, and it also explains why the first test  of whether you are living an obedient Christian life also works, because everyone who truly believes that Jesus has done this for them is also controlled (2 Corinthians 5:14) by this demonstration of His incredible love, and therefore sets about to live for Him. They are not perfect, mind you – none of us ever will be – but they have a full heart to love and obey Him the rest of their days.


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Posted by on June 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Where are the Commands for Personal Evangelism?

Some people are under the impression that the Bible does not tell us to do personal evangelism. Have you ever considered it? It’s interesting – try to think of a biblical command that says something like this: “Be sure to tell your family and your co-workers and your neighbors about Christ,” and you’ll get the idea. You don’t see as much urging in this area as you might otherwise think.

Of course, there’s Peter’s command to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). And more importantly, there is the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Actually, I think those few verses that close out the end of the first book in the New Testament are enough. Go make disciples and teach others to do the same. From these verses (not to mention the counterparts in the other gospels and Acts), we have enough direction to start talking until Jesus returns.

But generally the idea of talking to your co-workers and friends is simply assumed in the New Testament. But, that said, it is assumed powerfully.


Take Paul’s word to the Corinthians in chapter 5 of his second letter. He begins by telling us that he doesn’t see people like he used to see them:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16 (ESV)

When Paul was still Saul and only a Jewish religious leader, he thought of people as very ordinary, just as he considered that rabble-rouser from Nazareth: Jesus was just a guy; nothing more. But now, just as Paul had come to know the Carpenter as God in the flesh, so the Apostle came to realize that there was more to all people than met the eye. Men and women, boys and girls, he now knew, were truly spiritual beings…and eternal.

And therefore, since God had made a way of reconciliation through Jesus, Paul took the task of evangelism with dead earnestness:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)

Paul said, “Eternity is forever. Hell is real. And God has made a way, so we implore. We beg. Be reconciled to God.”

And although the Apostle does not explicitly say that all Christians should take such an approach, surely we should. He had already urged his followers in Corinth to follow him as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), and evangelism was Paul’s life.  And we know why – for there are no ordinary people, as C.S. Lewis once said so wonderfully:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

For Wednesday, June 3rd: 2 Corinthians 6


Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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