Words of Faith 1-4-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 13
 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
Sometimes we need an exam, a sort of spiritual check-up to see how things are going. This was one of those times for the Corinthians. Paul was not trying cause the Corinthians to doubt their salvation. It was not his style to undermine the wonderful grace of God. He was absolutely convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. But the way that some of the Corinthians were acting raised some serious questions. So he called on them to self-examination.
The word that Paul used is pi-rad'-zo. It means to test or scrutinize. It is the word translated "assay,” which is the science of a metallurgist in determining the content of gold or silver ore. The "Assayer's Office" was a familiar sight in every mining town. The Assayer could distinguish real gold from "fool's gold" (iron pyrite) and could tell the real worth of a sample. Test your ore, says Paul, to see what you are really made of.
Perhaps Paul was concerned that some of the Corinthians had simply taken on the cloak or appearance of Christian faith but were not really in the faith. He may have also been concerned that some had drifted and though they were saved, they were not walking actively with Jesus. He used another Greek word dokimazo to encourage the Corinthians to put their faith to a real test. Examine and test yourselves so as to discern the truth.
The test was simple. Is Christ Jesus in you? How much gold is in your ore? If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is in you and among you, if Jesus is not more and more alive in you every day, it means you have failed the test.
Another paraphrase renders this text in a powerful way: "Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it."
Throughout this letter Paul subjected himself and his ministry to scrutiny. Now he handed the lens to the Corinthians, with the challenge that they consider their own conduct and relationship with Jesus.
Paul's question may not have had anything to do with salvation or "positional justification" as much as whether these people were growing in Christ in practical ways that show evidence. Did they demonstrate that they were in the faith and that Christ was in them by their obeying His will? To stand the test was to do what was right. To fail was to be disobedient and therefore subject to God's discipline.
The words used to describe failing the test literally mean "disapproved.” Whatever doubts the Corinthians may have had about Paul's conduct he believed that a sober evaluation would lead them to vindicate him. He hoped they would not be disapproved by God and he hoped they would see that he was not disapproved by God. Still it was their reputation or standing, not his, that concerned him.
For us? This is a great text for every person counts themselves to be Christian. We need a periodic examination to see if we are really in the faith and Christ is growing more and more in us every day. It is easy to get off track. It is easy to get our agenda in front of what Jesus wants. It is easy to drift along. How is our spiritual ore?
Periodically we need a trip to the Spiritual Assayer's Office. Is there more of Jesus evident in my life than there was evident yesterday? Do people see more of Jesus and less of me? Is my relationship with Jesus alive and vital, or is it just hearsay? Am I constituted of gold, or fool's gold?
Father God, examine me by the illumination of Your Holy Spirit. Search me through and through. Show me the ways that I need to surrender more to You. Show me my areas of stubborn rebellion. Show me my areas of quiet apathy. Reveal in me the ways that I need more Jesus. In Jesus' Name.