Thursday, September 14

Test yourself

2 Cor 13:5 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?

In Air Force pilot training a student pilot is required to pass many check rides to be qualified to be a pilot. In getting ready for these check rides students have many hours of solo flights where they practice the acrobatic maneuvers and examine themselves to be sure they are prepared to pass the test. For example to do a loop in the T-38 you must be able to start at ten thousand feet, straight and level and at 500 knots. At this point you pull back on the stick and begin a rapid climb pulling several G’s with a goal of being inverted at approximately twenty thousand feet at around 220 knots. Pull too hard and you may gray out (temporarily lose vision) or possibly black out (lose consciousness). Don’t pull hard enough and you will exceed the twenty thousand feet goal at the top. From the top of the loop you will be increasing speed rapidly on the way back down and at 450 or so knots the ground will be coming toward you very rapidly. At this point not pulling hard enough on the stick could bring you to a close encounter with the ground and pulling too hard could cause you to blackout and well that would also be bad. The goal is to be back at ten thousand feet, straight and level and at 500 knots. If all student pilots had to do when check ride day came was to explain verbally how to do a loop, they would all pass. However talk is cheap and on check ride day a student pilot must be able to show that he can actually do a loop not just talk about it.

In the same manner Christians should be able to do more than just talk about their Christianity. Paul in 2 Cor. 13:5 asks professing Christians to examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Like check ride day to a student pilot, judgment day is coming and Paul knows that being in the faith is more than just claiming to be in the faith. On judgment day professing faith without possessing faith will result in failing the test. So Paul is exhorting Christians to examine themselves. We are told In 2 Cor. 5:17…. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. A Christian has been enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is different from what he was and has a new attitude with new desires and new characteristics. He has been born again and does not resemble his old self. He should be different from unbelievers and Paul is saying test yourselves to be sure you are different. How should a Christian be different from an unbeliever or a false professor?

First and foremost a Christian places his faith and trust in the atonement of Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. He understands that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man and paid the penalty for his sins by being crucified on the cross of Calvary. This fact convicts him of his sin and causes him to repent and to endeavor to turn from them. By this faith a sinner is justified in the sight of God and has eternal life. However, is this the end of the test or will a redeemed sinner show other signs of being a true Christian? Is he truly born again as John 3:3 and 2 Cor 5:17 point out or has he just made a decision similar to joining a civic club? To merely claim faith is as easy as joining a civic club. Very little is required and many such claims and professions of faith are false. However, if a sinner has been born again by the POWER of God, then he will show signs of the new birth. James in James 2:14-26 makes it clear that a claimed faith with no action or deeds is a dead faith that does not save. These deeds of good works flow from a true saving faith and are a part of Christian sanctification. Sanctification will always flow from justification and this is another way to examine yourself. Do you see sanctification in your life? I think the last part of the verse gives the answer in how to examine yourself. It says….. If you are in the faith, Christ Jesus is in you. To more fully understand what that means we look to the words of Jesus himself.

John 15:4-5 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If upon examination a person is found in Christ, then Christ is in him and he will be different from unbelievers. He will bear fruit due to ongoing grace. He will show signs of sanctification and growth in his Christian walk due to grace. Unless of course, as the verse says, he fails the test. It should be emphasized that sanctification is a result of justification and has no merit toward justification.


Dan said...

Good stuff. Our actions become the fruit of our faith. Good or bad.

jazzycat said...

So true Dan. I understand you like to hike. I used to do a little day hiking out in Colorado. Where do you hike?

Dan said...

I hike the Appalachian trail mostly. I've done several day hikes to waterfalls in north Georgia.
My wife and I lead a group of young people and adults from our church for a 2 day overnight hike in the mountains. We are heading up for our second annual on October 12 and 13.
One of my goals in life is to hike from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian trail in one long continuous hike that takes 6 to 7 months.

jazzycat said...

Hiking is a great activity. I got started a little late in life and can't do it anymore. I did Make it to the top of Handies Peak near Lake City, Colorado in 1997. It is one of 54 peaks over 14,000 feet in Col. There are none over 15,000 feet.

Baptist Girl said...

Hi Jazzcat,
Great stuff! What's that old cliché..."Action speak louder then words"

I have shared this quote many many times with fellow believers because it syas so much about how we should be aware of how we live our lives as Lights of the World. I have this posted on my fridge for others to read.
My brethren, let me say, be like Christ at all times. Imitate him in "public." Most of us live in some sort of public capacity—many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined—taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me."

—Charles Spurgeon


bluecollar said...

That was a great post, Jazzycat. God saved us with a view to conform us into the image of His Son. The Holy Spirit indwells us in order to bring that goal about. Therefore His indelling should be evident in our lives, i.e. the fruit of the Spirit.