Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Have we failed the test?

Repentance is a non-negotiable with God; not just a thought or intention, but something lived out in deed – an evident component of our lifestyle. Paul points out this fact in 2 Corinthians 13. He actually sounds a lot like James in these passages. Remember, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth – to “believers”. They had presumably made a profession of faith and repentance, but were apparently not daily living lives of faith and repentance. This frustrates Paul and makes him genuinely question their faith because Paul spent more time ministering in Corinth than anywhere else accept for Ephesus. Why weren't their lives changed? He had addressed these issues with them before and they were not “getting it”. Let’s look at the text:

I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. – 2 Corithians 12:21

This will be my third visit to you. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you. 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? – 2 Corinthians 1-5
Paul is essentially telling the Corinthian church that some of them, by their actions, are demonstrating unrepentance and an unchanged life. He says that this is evidence that Christ is not in them and that their faith has failed. Yes, Paul has just said that our actions are evidence of our faith – or lack thereof. James says it like this; “I will show you my faith by what I do”.

Remember, this all starts with the heart. If our hearts are truly circumcised and pure before God, we will daily repent and live lives that glorify him. If we are not daily repenting in deed and living clearly for him, we must examine our hearts and our faith.

We are all called to take up our cross daily; to die to self daily. It is not a one time act, simply a thought, or merely an intention. It should be evident in the way we daily live our lives. Finally, we are called to finish the race and end well. May we lean on and respond to God’s grace and the perfect work of Christ on the cross.

1 comment:

Gord said...

Amen.