Examine Yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5)

 

Old car e2r_header

In my country every car has to pass an annual road-worthiness test. As a poor student with a cheap car, I used to dread this test. Would the inspector say something about my dodgy brakes, the missing tail-light, or the cloud of black smoke coming out of the tailpipe? Would my car fail the test and be taken off the road?

You may have similar feelings of dread and anxiety when you read this verse:

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 Cor 13:5)

To the one who stands on his own performance, this is a frightening verse. It’s the sort of verse you might hear before communion or at the start of a service. “Are you saved? Really saved? Is there sin in your life? Come, let us examine our navels together!”

Before I was persuaded about my Father’s love for me, this scripture bothered me. Not anymore! How can I disqualify what Christ has qualified? How can I undo that which I never did in the first place? I am kept by grace, not self-examination.

The idea that we have to examine ourselves for sin is thoroughly humanistic. They didn’t even do this under the old covenant. Back in the day if you brought a lamb to the temple, the priest examined the lamb, not you. That was prophetic shadow of a new reality. When we do communion or worship, we’re supposed to examine Jesus, not ourselves. “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24-25).

Do you not know?

Paul is NOT saying, “Examine yourselves periodically to make sure you’re still saved.” You are not a car. You are not subject to an annual road-worthiness test. This examination is about reinforcing what you should already know: “Don’t you know that Christ is in you?

(Incidentally, Paul often said “don’t you know?” (see Rom 6:3,16,7:1, 1 Cor 6:15,16,19). It was one of his rhetorical trademarks. “Don’t you know? By now you should know!”)

Paul wants you to know that Christ is in you. You need to know this. He’s told you several times already. You are in union with Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:5,30, 2 Cor 5:21, GNB). You have been sanctified in Christ (1 Cor 1:2), and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).

But it’s one thing for Paul to say it, and another for you to believe it, hence his question:

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you… (2 Cor 13:5)

Are you convinced in your own mind that you are one with the Lord? Or are you still troubled by the fear-mongers and insecurity preachers?

In context, some of the Corinthians had been a bit snarky. “Is Paul even an apostle? Who does he think he is?” Paul is calling them out. “Stop testing me, and test yourselves. Be who you are in Christ. Stop playing the judgment game.”

Grade-A certified Christian

Some people use this verse to put Christians into two boxes: good Christians and bad Christians. Good Christians have perfect teeth and come to church with immaculate hair and well-behaved children. Bad Christians are those with unconfessed sin who may find themselves ejected from the family. Such thinking appeals to our sense of fairness, but it insults our Father who loves us no matter what. Daddy-God will never unchild his children!

Unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor 13:5)

Who fails the test of being in Christ? The one who is not in Christ, meaning the unbeliever. If this is you, you need to repent and believe the good news about Jesus, that he loves you, died for you and now lives for you. If you are outside, the way inside is through the door of his grace. It’s turning to God and being persuaded that he loves you like a Father. It’s exchanging your broken down old life for the life of his Son. More here.

But if you pass the test, meaning you know Jesus as Lord, then don’t let the self-appointed fruit inspectors trouble you. Stop conforming to that old habit of self-examination and be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Do you not know that Christ is in you? Do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit, a holy and living sacrifice, pleasing to God?

When you examine yourself, see Christ Jesus in you. He is your life. One with the Lord you are as righteous and holy as he is (1 Cor 1:30). You are pleasing and acceptable to God, able to stand, because Jesus makes you so.

You are saved by grace and kept by grace. Believe it and be at peace.

.

91 Comments on Examine Yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5)

  1. You are a huge blessing to the body of Christ. At first I thought this cannot be right because how can so many other teachers and preachers be so wrong and my mind was having a problem believing this. But my spirit was screaming it is the truth, believe it. Jesus said the truth shall set you free and now I am truly free for I know God accepts me and I can trust Him completely. And when you know this sin loses its power over you. And now the prayer Paul prayed about knowing God’s love for me has been answered through your teachings of grace and the books you recommend. I thank God for you. God bless you and your family.

    • Thank you, Sherry. I had a similar experience when I first heard the gospel of grace. My brain thought, “hold on there,” but my spirit leaped for joy. I have learned that where God and his ways are concerned, my brain is very much the caboose. It gets there in the end, but it seldom leads the way.

  2. Trevor Lancashire // January 15, 2016 at 1:40 am // Reply

    What exhilarating and life giving teaching this is – Thank you again Paul – The New Covenant says ‘as He is so are we in this world’ – It also says ‘He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him’ – What a privileged position, as believers, we are in! – Thank you Jesus.

  3. You are a blessing. Thank you for this. 2 Cor 13:5 did used to haunt me, even though I believe I became a Christian when I had that breakthrough moment and realized that I am saved by grace through faith. This article cleared it up for me.

    p.s. Have you considered putting your books on the iBooks Store. That is where all my books are.

    • Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I probably should give the iBooks option more thought. It’s a time thing. I’m aware that iPhone users can read the Kindle and PDF versions of my books already (using the Kindle and Gumroad apps), so I haven’t really felt the need to go the other route. Maybe I should.

  4. Dave O'Brien // January 15, 2016 at 2:51 am // Reply

    Excellent message Paul. What we say we believe, not what we “do”, is the evidence of those in Christ.

  5. more good stuff Paul,and years ago,here in florida,we had inspection stations, same problem. Maybe they’ll miss it or overlook it.

    • Thanks Earl. I just went through an inspection last week and I can tell you there’s a world of difference doing it as an adult with a decent car than a teen with a wreck.

  6. Such a liberating truth! This stood out for me, that he is pleased in me, not because im good, but because he(Christ) in his amazing love for us have made us acceptable and pure before God. May we all grow in the knowledge of HIS love for us! Christ is Lord of all, from the smallest to the biggest! Continue beeing a shepard Mr.Ellis
    Love from Norway

  7. Your car story brought back the time being a poor student. . . but being a poor architecture student doing graphics meant making my own windshield inspection stickers.

    Not judging others, but we should be proving to ourselves that our faith is genuine. One way is, as we are led by the Spirit, to whole-heartedly go to those places where we’re most vulnerable so that Christ shows himself faithful. Could be mistaken but I think this is meant as something practical. . . then again I used to make my own inspection stickers.

    • That’s both funny and serious. 🙂

    • alan,i remember when I was in high school,a friend and I were out riding around,his car didnt pass inspection,so my friend rigged it to look it was fixed,and you guessed it,we got stopped,God must have been with us,the cop saw through it,and laughed it off,he let us go with a warning, to get it fixed before going back for innspection

  8. Run in such a way as to get the prize, 1 Corinthians 9;24,. Get what prize, win what? But the kicker is verse 27. . He sets before himself and his audience the danger of yielding to fleshly inclinations, and pampering the body and its lusts and appetites: “I keep my body under, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away”. Just like an athlete must watch his diet to stay trim for the race. If Paul took such pains in subduing and keeping under bodily inclinations, how much more should we! If these are necessary to preserve the fidelity of an apostle; and how much ‘more necessary’ is it to our preservation? Why the, keeping of his body under subjection (MEV) ?
    So, thus then, the “examining of yourself….” unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor 13:5) or; be a castaway (KJV), disqualified (MEV).
    Really, humanistic? How can you say that?
    Its more of a, reality check (examination)!

    • You might be interested in my post on 1 Cor 9:24-27.

      • I liked that, interesting insight to what Paul was speaking of as a, done deal, that, as you said,
        ,in effect just a Nolo contendere, plea of no contest, since “We began this race at the finish line “. And I do believe God is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think’ . Yet, why just the side line cheer leading? So we might just gain rewards? Thanks for the heads up.

  9. Warren (South Carolina, USA) // January 15, 2016 at 5:44 am // Reply

    Thanks Saint Paul.

    Excellent reinforcement post on the new birth (God’s part, past tense). I like the references you make to Romans 12:2 “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (our part, daily and ongoing).

    Blessings,
    Warren (South Carolina, USA)

    • Thank you, Saint Warren. You know I once had an African lady in my church who insisted on calling me Pastor Paul. I asked her not to as it messed with my Australian egalitarian sensibilities, but she couldn’t help it. I said if she persisted, then I’d be obliged to call her Saint E, because Philippians 1:1 says there are 3 kinds of people in the church, and she wasn’t a bishop or deacon. 🙂

      • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // January 15, 2016 at 9:05 am //

        I could use your “Doctor” title, but I am fairly certain that you would rather glory in the fact that your name is written in heaven, rather than your earthly title. Hence the “Saint Paul” reference.

        When I address someone as a saint (in the corporate setting. . . i.e. church) it’s amazing to hear some of the response, or denial of it (in most cases) to being addressed as a saint.

        The denial tends to show if one is walking by law or grace or. . . . ignorance. Oh God, set ME free from MY ignorance!!!

        Blessings,
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  10. Wow! Awesome. Feel relieved and refreshed. Thanks Paul. Happy new year

  11. I agree that this verse is not Paul saying to examine ourselves periodically to make sure we’re still saved. I read this verse in this way…”Hey, if you’re not seeing the nature of Christ in you – if you haven’t experienced a change in who you are, your desires – from sinful to righteous – then you might want to check and make sure that Christ is really in you!” Paul was addressing sin in the church and he knew good and well that, just like in today’s sea of professing believers, not everyone has been truly born again.

    The longer I am on this journey, the more I realize how narrow the way really is – how few really do understand what Christ has accomplished for us and totally trust in Christ for their salvation.

  12. Another thought I had was that if Christ is in you, you might still be engaged in ongoing sinful behavior, but you won’t enoy it and be oblivious about it as you were when an unbeliever. You’ll be miserable because it is not consistent with who you really are any longer. That is also a good sign that you are, indeed, in the faith and that Christ Jesus is in you.

  13. Love love love this post Paul! Thank you for taking the time to write on these topics! Much needed!

  14. Earl Hendricks // January 15, 2016 at 7:25 am // Reply

    Hey man, I am so grateful to you As the Lord enlightens you, you enlightens me and I enlighten the people in my fellowship. Glory to God!!

  15. I enjoy Grace teaching and I get engross in it. But I have a question that seems to trouble me. And it is this: Our Lord was ANGRY with the seven churches by the way the were living. So how does that fit with Grace teaching? Thank you kindly and God bless
    Roberto

  16. Paul where did you get that image from…lol. Anyway thanks for the Post.

  17. Thank you. Is it liberating to know that our Lord has done everything to redeem us and nothing can separate us from that grace and mercy shown.

  18. Paul said, test yourselves…unless, of course, He’s not [in you]?

    Would it be good to define ‘what is in the faith’ [not that Christ is or isn’t in us yet, He would be if we were]? Meaning: how does one get there? Not meaning: on the basis of any personal performance. What would the test be (benchmarks, appropriations), as the vs suggests? How important is ‘RBBR’ [acronym: repent, believe, be baptized, receive…]? Some church leaders only teach the first two__

    One person above suggested there are benchmarks, signs of such…comments please

  19. Thank you Paul for this post. Holy Communion has become so religious that we are focusing on everything else but Christ’s love and goodness. It doesn’t have to be in small cups, it doesn’t even have to be wine with bread. It was a proper meal, supper. Therefore we can have it with the food that normally eat. Any communion becomes holy because of Jesus, not because of how well we have scrutinized sin in our lives.

    Great stuff! Praise The Lord

  20. I’ve been a Christian for 60 years and it’s taken most of that time to get rid of the rubbish I believed about how bad we believers are! I thank God for this wonderful revelation of grace. It comes at a cost, banned from a church for daring to challenge legalism I thank God for the honour! I’ll never stop declaring the truth. It’s so liberating! Thank you so much for your books. I’ve given a lot as gifts this Christmas.

  21. Thank you for this post Paul. It has been almost 3 years since I first heard about the ‘grace teaching’ and your posts greatly help me see more of Jesus and what He has done for me. Being so acquainted with the law since I came to know the Lord (in high school), I still slip, many times unknowingly. Your posts have been helping me grow. Life has never been the same.
    Truly, His grace is amazing. Thanks again Paul.
    Blessings from Thailand

  22. Jay Mer Tabugan // January 16, 2016 at 3:54 am // Reply

    I am very blessed to find a Grace preacher like you Sir. This is what people need the most, an eye opener for everybody. Continue spreading this gospel, the good news! God bless!

  23. love the post and was especially struck by what you said about the priest examining the lamb,not the person….and that being prophetic to Jesus and His once for all sacrifice.No more lambs(reminders of sin)needed!All i can say is “wow”!

  24. So my question is …

  25. ok… just trying to gain a better understanding of this Grace given us by God… if we are instructed to pick up our cross daily, what exactly do we need to have crucified each day??

  26. DENNIS OKOTH // January 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm // Reply

    thanks alot Paul.your teachings enlightens me

  27. “The good news about Jesus is He loves you, died for you and now lives for you.”

    That is good news indeed!

    “You are saved by grace and kept by grace. Believe it and be at peace.”

    The above two sentences is the Gospel in a nutshell. Now believe it and walk in it.

  28. Neil OSullivan // January 20, 2016 at 6:46 am // Reply

    Thank you for that, James. I saw that post. Paul Ellis has a way of bringing out the Truth of the scriptures in a very striking way.
    Be blessed in Jesus’ name.
    Neil

  29. Love this article! I will be sharing it with my girlfriend forthwith!

  30. Can I just say what my children taught me? My children are sinners (we all are), but if you treat them like sinners who need to be watched and judged and kept in line, that is what you will get.

    • “…a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:1.
      But, one would say; that’s old useless old testament.
      But, don’t tell that to the Apostle Paul, as he felt different as noted by what he said to Timothy (who was raised on the scripture’s), “ All scripture (old and new) is given by inspiration of God,… That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

      • momzilla76 // January 26, 2016 at 2:25 am //

        But are you leaving then alone or just not thinking of, and treating them like, filthy rotten sinners? There is a difference between expecting bad sinful behavior and expectantly looking for the fruits of the Spirit to manifest. I parenting you get what you expect. I have parenting with both mindsets and have seen the expected outcome both times. Fruit grows slowly but a child who is expected to be full of naughty usually acts their part.
        In adult Christians I have seen the same. If they think they are perpetually dirty unless they manage to pull off a “perfect” day of pious sin-free behavior they sulk and mope around, harshly judging everyone else by the standards they couldn’t hit that day, falling for every barb satan sent their way and generally not being salt and light but mud and muck. However for those who accept deep down that Jesus blood has cleansed them forever wobble around like babies learning to walk, falling down but reaching out to help others back up who are tottering around like they are, getting stronger and more fruitful they might only have to light of a birthday candle but they look just different enough to have a bit of salt to them and that gets people’s(the world’s) notice.

      • I really love your analogy momzilla76. It’s just so…understandable. Now the hard part is translating this into real life and making it work for myself. But thank you for making it a little bit clearer.

  31. Correct me if I am wrong, the jist of what is being said under grade a certified christian is that God loves you if you accept his love, if you are to broken to be able to do this his love does not cover you?

    • God is love and He loves us all, but love does not force itself on people. So God gives us the freedom to choose to accept His love. Is it brokenness that causes a person to refuse His love or self righteousness? Does brokenness strengthen self righteousness or is it self righteousness that gets broken? Blessings, Chris.

      • LJP if Gods even loves the self righteous, then his own definition and attributes of love must stand, love holds no record of wrong. How do you fit this into what you believe.Does love force its self on others. Yes mine does, if my children cannot love me I love them regardless, they engoy every benefit regardless of whether they accept my love or do not.When my daughter tells me she hates me as a result of my discipline, there is no further consequence. There is only love and acceptance.If they choose to leave home , they may suffer the consequences of being away from my provision but the door is always open. If eternity was in my hands the door would never close.

      • First, let me say that I was not intending to judge anyone, I was only speaking from what I have experienced in my own heart and brokenness (and self righteousness). Continuing to love your children is very different from forcing your love on them. Would you force your grown child to live in your house and not allow them to leave? I believe that would be closer to God forcing people into His kingdom. If you were all knowing and you knew your child was not going to come around and was only going to suffer in their rebellion, it would be more merciful to give them their way. I suspect we’re way off the topic of this post so I’m keeping it brief. Thanks Chris

    • God loves you whether you accept it or not. It just doesn’t help you if you don’t accept it.

  32. Hi Paul…

    Thank you for this. This verse has always stumped me a bit. What would you say specifically would be the test / examination to know if Christ is in you? Is it the fruits of the Holy Spirit? I know it’s not our works. I would say it would be if we believe. If I asked myself how I know Christ is living in me, I can’t really explain it. I do feel His presence living in me, I feel Him directing my paths, but I also know He is in me because I believed the Gospel. So, what specifically do you think the examination is that Paul is talking about? What proof does he expect them to find to pass his specific test?

    Brad

    • That’s an excellent question, Brad. In your case you have two pieces of evidence, a knowing and a feeling. There may be some reading this who say, “I don’t feel anything, so how do I know Christ is in me?” Indeed, this was a question that troubled me as a young man. How do I know that I am truly saved? The Holy Spirit led me straight away to 1 Cor 12:3: “And no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

      This is the question to ask ourselves: Can I say “Jesus is Lord” from the heart? When I got this scripture I was so excited that I shouted “Jesus is Lord” again and again. I wasn’t doing it out of a fearful better-say-the-magic-words sense, but out of a joyful now-I-know-that-I-am-his sense. It set me free from fear and doubt.

      • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // January 26, 2016 at 8:45 am //

        Awesome reply to Brad’s excellent question!
        Blessings,
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

      • Dave O'Brien // January 26, 2016 at 12:49 pm //

        Many cults say “Jesus is Lord”. It is not just saying the words, but it must be the Jesus of the Bible as preached by Paul. The same Jesus who died for our sins and was raised to give us His life. Yes, the Holy Spirit testifies who Jesus is, and those who believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit will claim that Jesus is Lord, However, not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” is saved (Matt 7:21-22). What we examine is what we believe concerning the testimony of Jesus. Believers believe God, unbelievers do not believe God. His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are His, because our hope is in that which we do not see, which is the evidence of having faith. Rom 8:16-25

      • Don’t diminish scripture. No one can truly say Jesus is Lord (ie: supreme, above all) without the Holy Spirit’s revelation. Sure, there are those who say it and don’t mean it, but we’re not talking about such folk here.

      • Dave O'Brien // January 26, 2016 at 1:49 pm //

        I would never, nor have I ever, diminish the Bible. I’ll leave that to Caleb M. and his ilk.

      • Matthew 16:15-18(KJV) is the parable of what Paul was speaking of.

    • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // January 26, 2016 at 7:08 am // Reply

      Awesome question Brad!
      Blessings,
      Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  33. Hillary Supreme // January 26, 2016 at 1:54 am // Reply

    So many have gone off the mark ,self righteousness has taken over the heart of man but they re in the church making no spiritual progress at a time jesus christ ask who do men say I m? When bible says examine yourself the holy spirit fill and born of the spirit don’t dispute the issue of examining One self ,for the things spirit a re spiritually design only those in the spirit understand it, by examining yourself you re renewing your spirit,christians have fail to keep their fire or first love,before cane kill his brother GOD said to him devil is knocking at your heart he never border to examine himself,for to enter heaven we must examine our self,apostle said I beat my body ,he also said what I don’t want to do I see my self doing,if examine himself how will he stop or know,our lives is not tied to the pattern of the world but of heaven ,we should not handle the BIBlE with our philosophical or science ideals,must people want leave they wants even when they christian,we should explaining the Bible to suit way of life we must leave the way of bible!!!

  34. It’s good timing haha.

    There are a few passages like this in the Scriptures. Another which comes to mind is, “by their fruits you shall know them”. haha.

    We all love to examine and test and judge unrighteous judgment. hahaha. Oh Lord help us.

    “In context, some of the Corinthians had been a bit snarky. “Is Paul even an apostle? Who does he think he is?” Paul is calling them out”.

    110% Paul.

    When I ‘got this’ I realised Paul was simply saying, “are you not believers? If so, you know I’m the real thing too”. haha.

    God is so awesome.

    Hi five for grace.

  35. Paul,

    First off. Thank you so much for all of your work that you do. I am slowly growing to accept the New Covenant Message as the true gospel. However, I still get scared and confused by verses such as 1 John 3: 7-10. Could you possibly shed some light on those verses for me and others? Thank you so much!

    • This might be clearer concerning 1 John 3:7;
      Not that any man is made righteous by the works of the law, or obedience to the law, for this is contrary to the word of God; …. ; men are only made righteous by the righteousness of Christ, which be wrought in the Gospel, and received by faith, and imputes without works; so that he that ‘does righteousness’ is he that being convinced of the insufficiency of his own righteousness, submits to his (Christ); who lays hold upon it, receives it, and exercises faith on it, as his justifying righteousness; a righteousness, distinct from one that lives a sinful course of life; which, though it (doing righteousness) does not make him righteous in the sight of God, yet it shows him to be righteous in the sight of men, and proves that faith which lays hold on the righteousness of Christ:
      and so …, every member of his body being clothed with the same robe of righteousness the whole body of Christ is, and indeed justified by the same righteousness that he as Mediator was : moreover, as Christ showed himself to be righteous as man, by doing good, so believers in him, by imitating, and walking, show themselves to be good and righteous, like, though not equal to him; for as a tree is known by its fruits, so is a good man known by his good works ; and as good fruit does not make a good tree, but shows it to be good, so good works do not make a good man, nor a man’s own righteousness make him a righteous man, but show him to be so.

  36. Thank You Everybody… B.B. May that was a good scriptural answer I believe. Paul, this is the first time I have been to this blog. Do you hold to the views of …
    Brad

  37. Ok thanks Paul I will ask that question on your “About” post.

    Brad

  38. The key to these verse’s is “even as he is righteous”. Without this doing of righteousness we could not have known Christ was the Son God, nor would even God the Father, as God noted, “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus, both prior to and during His ministry, had to show this righteousness by His walk. See Hebrews 5:7-9. He suffered for His righteousness, and all that shall live as ‘such’ shall suffer, 2 Timothy 3:12. The prerequisite for such glorious suffering? The ‘manifest’ (observed) activity of righteousness which separates the Child of God and the child of the devil, verse 10.
    Jesus of course was not “born again” as we must be, but was already “born again”, “born of God”, born righteous the first time! Yet had to show both us and His Father His righteousness by what He did! Thus, “Be not deceived, He that does righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous.” We will not be exempt, (absolved) from what was required of the Master, of that of, as John said, doing righteousness! See, James 2:18 and 1 Peter 2:21,22.
    Similar, both warning and instruction, is Ephesians 5:6,8. This is what Paul was getting at, by saying, if there is no corresponding action to back up any such claim of “walking as child of light”, the claim maybe deceptive.
    Therefore examine oneself, just as Jennifer noted above. As those claiming to be born again, may in reality, just be “still born”.

    • Tom, thanks for sharing your comment, but it makes our relationship to God seem a bit rigid; like a contract. In my own experience, my walk never produced good fruit until I related to Him as a loving Father, then He produced His fruit in me. I found that I was never trusting Him to work in me before, but I was looking to myself to produce the fruit. He is the vine, He produces the fruit. Blessings

      • We are not saved through works of faith, but through faith that works. Right, when everything is right, relating to Him as loving Father, it sure works. As “faith which worketh by love”, Galatians 5:6., is the consequential key. Don’t we all know that Jesus knew that love of the Father too.
        Do you believe John was thinking such, as you call rigid relation, a contract, when he wrote 1 John 3:7? How would you, then, answer Alex ?
        It’s the manifest difference . Ones faith either works, or not.

      • When I read 1 John 3:6 I think, even Tom has sinned so by his interpretation none of us even know Jesus. The word practice in these verses means to produce or bear, like producing or bearing fruit. Fruit that is produced by abiding in the Vine that gives life. Righteousness is not graded on a curve, it means perfection. With this in mind, the only true righteousness is the righteousness of God (Mt. 5:48). When we see and know Jesus, and the glory of His righteousness, it becomes apparent that man’s righteousness is filthy rags. Self righteousness is produced by abiding in the knowledge of good and evil. God’s righteousness is produced by abiding in His eternal life.

      • Thanks also for the your thoughts on 1 John 3:6, but I see this “abiding” as something we do, don’t you? It has nothing to do with self righteousness, but the righteous path God has for those that believe in him and want to walk this way, for his names sake, not ours. Psalm 23:3. Its not about us, even though it can be seen as such. It is for his sake, as 1 John 3:7 indicates, “…even as He is righteous”. It’s a leading, but we have to take this leading path (abide), to show we are not being deceived.
        I think “abiding” is part and partial to the “through faith” part of salvation. As we are not saved by faith, but through faith “by” the grace of God that saves! This is why we are to fight the good “fight of faith.”.

      • Tom, you seem to be trying very hard to make human effort a part of the equation. Why would he use the word “abide,” if it meant some effort on my part? Abide means to stay and is more likely to suggest the absence of effort. It makes me think of trying to brush my dog. I tell him to sit, and he does, but before I can begin brushing, he is back up again. Why? because he wants to obey me. He is not sitting because he understands why I want him to sit or the value of it, he is just doing what I say. With him, I have to add a new command: “Stay!” When we “abide” as fulfilling a commandment, we are back up again instantly and back to wor. “Abide” is like God saying, “Stay.” Don’t do anything, just trust me that I’ve got this taken care of.

        Likewise, you have turned faith into a work that we do. Faith is simply living according to what you KNOW to be true. I know he has saved me, so I no longer live as though I need to do something to secure my position with him. I do what I do because it is consistent with what I believe. When you say “though faith” you seem to imply that without out your faith it would all fall apart. That’s just not what faith is. Of course, you can’t be saved without faith, but that faith is an either/or; salvation is not about having enough faith, or maintaining it.

      • Tom, Jesus said believing is the righteous path (Jn 6:29). See the difference?

        When Paul said “through faith” he wanted it to be clear he was not talking about works so he said “not of works” (Eph. 2:9).

        When Paul used words like fight, obedience, labor, and diligence he was referring to remaining or abiding in the rest (or trust or believing or faith) of having Jesus’ righteousness as a gift (Heb. 4:11, Rom. 5:17, Mt. 11:28).

      • I believe those things you mentioned, fight, obedience, labor, and diligence, are the very efforts the writer of Hebrews (some believe it Paul) is speaking of in v. 11 NIV; “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”.
        All I am saying, we can not separate trusting or believing, and having faith from our righteous path, as it is much more precious than of gold, and is the substance through which we obtain this righteousness. Right! But, our laboring and making “every effort” to be vigilant, diligent ,and obedient, will keep us from the deception of presumption, which John is speaking of in 1 John 3:7, and James 2:20.
        True, these things should not precede them that believe, but should, undeniably, proceed them.
        These things not only confirm, but establishes Christ in us!

      • Allen, “turned faith into work”? Both Jesus and John said Faith is related to work. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” as also, “faith without work is dead”.
        Jesus actually berated those with little faith (Matthew 16:8), and honored those with great faith (luke 7:9) as faith is the lacking ingredient in the “mix” for getting anything from God (Hebrews 4:2)
        But again, since faith and works are very much related, Paul then told Titus that “… they which have ‘believed’ in God might be careful to ‘maintain’ good works.” As this is not only a faithful saying, but there is no way one can do good works without it, (faith that is). As here in one sentence, both are mentioned, Titus 3:8.
        The word instructs that some will depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1), but not those who “Starve their doubts, feed their faith”, as this is what the Epistles are all about!
        Christians should not be fearful of doing some work that might indicate they’re doing it for righteousness sake. The idea is works proceed, not precede! Once the Godly work of believing for salvation is done, go for it! Thanks

      • Thomas, you are going well beyond what the Word and the Spirit are saying to hang on to your belief. As I mentioned, in John 6:29-6:39 Jesus said believing in Him is the righteous path. In Hebrews 4, the Holy Spirit said if you want to labor and be diligent, it should be in regards to abiding in Jesus. That is Jesus the person who IS the way, the truth and the life. You seem to be saying once we come to the cross we should return to our Old Testament ways. Even going so far as to say these things establish Christ in us. Jesus said He would NEVER leave us or forsake us before we ever did anything. He said we ARE seated in heavenly places with Him. This means we are in the Trinity with Him. How could He be any more established in us than that? Your belief conveniently establishes Christ more in you than the poor souls whose works do not measure up to yours (by what judge?). The point is, none of our works could measure up to the “finished” (Jesus’ word) work of Christ and He offers His perfection to those of us who will accept it.

      • So, John is going well beyond the word and Spirit, when he said 1 John 3:7? You may not be going far enough. All I am saying is that this “righteous path” is observable, observable through doing. You have a point that it could very well seem to be returning to the Old Testament ways, but this is not in exchange of salvation, but that salvation should show this forth.
        I may have been hasty to say establish, but I was thinking in line with James saying, “I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18. This type establish.
        I really don’t think comparing me with others has anything to do with it, as each man must “work out his own salvation” Philippians 2:12
        These words may be better rendered, “work about your salvation”; employ yourselves in things which accompany salvation, and to be performed by all those that expect it. As such is consistent with the highest acts of faith, trust, confidence, and joy, and is opposed to pride and vain glory.
        I think this goes along with scope of this blog, Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.

      • What is crucial here is how you define your terms. Paul said Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). If faith = righteousness, then what does it mean to “do right?” Be faithful, right?
        But more importantly, if you examine yourself and find yourself wanting, what do you do? Work harder? Try? This is the moment of decision between faith/righteousness and works/righteousness.

      • Thomas, you did a good job of responding to what I said, but you haven’t offered any explanation for the verses I have presented. I did offer you my explanation on 1 Jn 3:7. I could keep trying to give you explanations on the verses you are adding to the discussion, but do these verses negate the ones I mentioned? Are you choosing not to focus on the verses I mentioned? Take Romans 5:17 for example. If we have righteousness as a gift, why would other verses promote a righteous path by works as you said? Or what about this rest in Hebrews 4? Are you telling me that working out your own salvation as you described it, is somehow restful? Then there are the words of Jesus in John chapter 6 who said twice that the work of God and the will of God is for us to believe in the one he sent. The work you describe sounds very different from the work of God. Would you like to offer your explanations for these discrepancies?

      • Allen, Term definition is critical. Paul did mention this same thing in Philippians 4:9. Doing right and being faithful seem to be same, and cant be separated. If finding a lacking of these things, just fight the good fight, as it is the way to “keep the faith”, right? I asked the same thing at the end of response to LJP. Hope what shared with him can answer my thoughts, but this saying of Paul does come to mind, “…having done all, to stand. Stand therefore,…” Ephesians 6:13,14. He said that while in prison, some think chained to his Roman guard. As he related our fighting weapons to his armor he was observed to be wearing. One blessed soldier right, getting to hear it first!

      • My concern with your line of reasoning is not so much the word “do” as the word “you.” I’d be surprised if anyone on this blog thinks Christians should do nothing. The question here is who is actually doing the doing. Everything you write seems to have a sense that “you” have to do something, while the truth is for it to be truly good, it has to be Him doing it through me.

        To put it another way, sin is selfishness. If I act as a response to Him, and for his benefit, that’s right. If I decide to do something for him for the purpose of accruing a benefit to myself (a better standing with him, to be righteous, etc.) then it is a selfish act: sin. No matter how good you think the thing is, it doesn’t matter. Things are not good or bad, it’s WHY you do them that matters.

        Things are good because you did them out of a response to who He is and what He has made you. Your doing has to come out of being. If you could, in your own power, have the fruit of the spirit, it would be for naught. Why? Because you could then defy “not by works, lest any man should boast” Eph. 2:9. You would be able to boast because you did it. A truly spiritual person does not need to try for the fruit of the spirit; it comes out of who they are.

    • Dave O'Brien // February 5, 2016 at 10:58 am // Reply

      Anti-Christ religious garbage.

    • Why would other verses promote a righteous path by works? Its all in the interpretation of what you mean by that!. Does it just mean faith only or faith plus (I will show you my faith) works, as James said. General Booth predicted that we would see increasing numbers of people claiming to have salvation yet not having truly become new creatures in Christ, a Salvation Without Regeneration.
      Paul had a cure for this, as he said; “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:9. He is saying the same thing John has said, its about doing and not just believing, though it starts with faith believing. Paul seems to know there is more than just a, learning, receiving, and hearing, and seeing! Its doing! Because we both know righteousness is surely a gift (as it say’s that), we also should not ignore the speaking of doing of this righteousness, avoiding deception.
      Romans say’s; “…receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness…” Right, as one must receive it, and that by faith, and a true effectual working of this righteousness received, should be shown in an evidentual way. Paul, who wrote of the grace by which we are saved through faith also said; “…I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, ….” 2 Timothy 4:7,8. Because it is a fight, a good one, which consist of doing.. As he admonished us to; “And let us consider how to provoke (spur) one another to love and to good works” Hebrews 10:24. Is he saying, works don’t come automaticly?
      Paul kept the faith, as opposed to departing from it. Why would he say something like this? Also, how does one go about keeping the faith? Could examination be part of this?

      • Well Thomas, I guess we just don’t agree. There was a time when I believed much the same as you and would have defended those beliefs with the same devotion, but I can’t unsee what I see now. I spent years doing endless volunteer work and living by principle after principle, but it was only producing death in my life. I was always waiting for a “breakthrough”; always waiting on God to fulfill His promises in my life. There was no manifestation of God’s work in my life, only my works. While I was waiting and working, problems in my life were actually getting worse and worse, but the works preacher would say, “it’s always darkest right before your breakthrough”. It probably led me to more of a breakdown than a breakthrough, haha, I am truly amazed at how different my life is today. I see my heavenly Father fulfilling His promises in my life without my continuous, fruitless efforts because it’s not a result of something I did, but Someone I believed in. Whatever we’re believing our works must accomplish is what we’re not believing our Father will accomplish.

      • Abiding in Christ produces the life of Christ. The life of Christ will produce acts of love, but that is Christ working in me. My only part is to abide. If you get the cart before the horse it is pure death.

  39. Joseph Sanchez // December 22, 2016 at 11:47 am // Reply

    Legit

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