Monday, January 18, 2010

Examine yourself whether ye be in the faith - 2Cor.13: 5-7

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 2Cor.13:5-7

The question that I'm about to ask is probably very simple, but I've often wondered what does it mean when a preacher would say, "Test yourself to see if you're in the faith."

Could someone explain to me how you would test yourself to see if you're in the faith? Could you give me some examples on how you would test yourself?

We see in 2 Cor. 13:5-7, that if one is not of the faith he is reprobate (adokimos = not approved, as in counterfeit coins). So, to test if one is of the faith is the same thing as testing if one is reprobate. Or, as the NAS and NIV translate it, "fail the test".

Outside of 2 Cor. 13, we see 'adokimos' five times. Four times the meaning is that the word of God was not 'engaged' (it didn't 'take') in the heart in question. Those verses are Romans 1:28, 2Tim. 3:8, Titus 1:16 and Heb. 6:8.

And sure enough, we see in 2 Cor 13:8, Paul's one verse summary of what it means to be "of the faith":

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Which is also a one verse summary of 1 John, where we see over and over that those born of the word of God will be giving evidence of that seed of God which remains in them. And in that letter we see some specific criteria for passing the examination:

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 1Jn 3:14

In the other usage of adokimos, 1 Cor 9:27, Paul says he is constantly on the look out lest he be engaging God's word with his flesh, in which case he would be 'disqualified' for crowns. That is, his ministry of the word would be found to be counterfeit works of the flesh and so consumed as wood, hay and stubble at the Day of Christ.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Pearl of great price - Matt 13:45-46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matt. 13:45-46

. My question is in Matt 13: 45-46. Who is the pearl of great value? Jesus or us?...I believe we are the pearl despite the popular interpretation that Jesus is...what say you?

A. If what is in view in Matt. 13:45-46 is the heavenly city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God...and I think it is...then both are true.

To whom coming, as unto a
living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner tone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner...But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:1 Peter 2:4-7,9

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: ! Peter 1:18-19

Q. To follow up my question, I tend to agree with A.W. Pink's perspective..

A. Pink has excellent comments on the pearl representing the church. And I basically agree with what he says. Here is the way I see it:

The pearl represents the heart of man (a.k.a. living stone)..but also the heart of Christ (a Living Stone who is the Corner), reminding us that He became like us in order to transform us into His likeness. For example:

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Heb 2:17

And I agree that a sinner does not wholly consider the preciousness of Christ when he enters the gate of salvation other than rightly reaching for Jesus as an escape from God's judgment on his sin. However, when we enter the gate and continue coming to Him as living stones coming to the Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4) his preciousness grows in our sight. But even then the only thing we can give Him is our sin-prone selves in service as we are [slowly but surely] letting go of the world to serve Him--as expressed by Paul

although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, Phil 3:4-8