It is a common thing among Christians to think less of themselves than they should. By this I mean that many Christians seem to be constantly aware of sin and sinning and a great many live in guilt and self-condemnation.
But here we see an interesting comment from Paul that shows a very different mindset than we see today.
And it is not easy to pick out because even the Bible translators have either missed it, not believed it or chosen to soften the truth of this verse, for they have modified the true meaning of the Greek word into something less than what Paul was talking about: Perfection.
When you went to school, (or if you are still attending), there were always tests and examinations to ensure you were competent in the subject being studied. I am sure we all groaned about the litany of pop quizzes, tests and exams when they came along, but they were being done for our good.
Generally, at least in my own experience, as we approached the end of year examinations, we would test our knowledge by doing exams from previous years so we could understand the types of questions likely to be asked. By this process we could examine ourselves to see whether our knowledge was going to be adequate to gain a passing mark, or if we needed to do more work.
Likewise, in the scriptures, we are told in many and various places that we will be tested for the sake of what we believe. But here in 2 Corinthians 13:5-8, we are being told to “test ourselves” and to “examine our faith” to ensure we are holding fast to the truth of the faith that is in Jesus Christ. So let us look at that process and see what needs to be done to meet the test.
As Paul closes his second letter to the Corinthians, he gives them fair warnings about sin and the consequences of continuing in sin.
He also advises them that the Lord is in the people and He is powerful in them, both to overcome sin and also to deal with the weaknesses of His people. But He will also be powerful in dealing with those who choose to continue in sin.
So how can this knowledge in these short verses help us today? In many ways, if we take the time to listen to His words and take heed, for too often the church today has lost it’s power. But even so, Christ is still powerful in His people and He continues to deal with them to bring them to the place He wants them to be.