Test or examination is a process or exercise designed to determine the quality or ability of a person or thing. Human beings are used to various forms of tests or examinations.
They go for various tests such as medical, pregnancy, paternity, academic and so on. They even conduct tests for their vehicles.
Unfortunately, the most important test- self-test or self-examination is often neglected and disregarded.
Test or examination is a process or exercise designed to determine the quality or ability of a person or thing. Human beings are used to various forms of tests or examinations. They go for various tests such as medical, pregnancy, paternity, academic and so on. They even conduct tests for their vehicles. Unfortunately, the most important test- self-test or self-examination is often neglected and disregarded. We are often very ready to examine and test others, but ourselves because it is much easier and certainly more pleasant to judge other people than ourselves.
Self-examination is difficult because it means examining your inner life, your strengths and weaknesses. For Christians, to do self-examination is to examine oneself, by submitting to the scrutiny and analysis of the Holy Spirit and the eternal word of God. In our text, Christians in Corinth conducted examination on Paul and criticised him unjustly, but they failed to examine themselves.
Therefore, Paul had to lovingly but seriously admonished them to examine themselves to ascertain their stand and relationship with Christ. He was not saying they should doubt their salvation, but rather, to ensure that they were maintaining an ongoing and cordial relationship with Christ, and not to live in the assumption that they were in Christ. The admonition was to both the believers and non-believers in Corinth.
This same admonition is for us today, and it’s timely and timeless. Each of us need to do a self-examination to ascertain our relationship, position and conduct in Christ. Why and how then do we do the self-examination? We need to examine the text closely to get the answer.
A. Why do we need to examine and test ourselves? (1) So that we can be sure that Jesus Christ is in us (you) and that, we are in the faith (v5b). (2) To ensure that our relationship with Him is still intact. Let us remember Samson in Judges 16:20; Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:43-46; and Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10. (3) To ensure that we are still manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, which is the authentic evidence of our being in Christ. (4) To ensure that we do not forfeit our blessings and position in Christ.
B. How do we examine and test ourselves? Certainly not by our own standard nor by the praise and approval by men, but by the standard of God’s word, the only authentic and reliable parameter (James 1:22-25). Therefore, in all honesty and sincerity, we must use God’s word to answer these questions: Is Christ in me? Do I belong to Him? Do I keep His commandments? (John 14:21); Am I abiding and obedient to His word? (John 8:31 &15:7); Do I love people the way Christ loves me? (John 13:34-35 & 1John 3:14-19); Am I bearing fruit? (John 15:8); Do I truly love Jesus Christ or my love for Him is shallow and conditional? (John 21:15-17).
An honest and sincere answer to these questions will show how each of us have fared. Then, we can confidently say we have passed the test and we are in Christ or better still, repent and make amend where necessary.