2 Corinthians 13:5,6 says:
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.
Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.
Often we take the first part of this passage and teach that we as Christians should always examine ourselves to see that we are in or that we remain in the faith and do not waver or wander off the path into the ways of the world.
While this is right and true that we should do so, we should also keep in mind the context of the passage and note the final sentence in verse six where Paul defends himself in saying that he trusts they will know that he is not disqualified as a Christian and as a teacher of God’s word.
It seems that some in Corinth were questioning whether he is a true Apostle and he sees the need to defend his Apostleship to them. In this verse he sort of turns the tables on those doubters and suggests that they also need to examine themselves to be sure that they are in the faith.
Keeping this in mind, we should also see the need in our own lives to examine ourselves, especially in moments of weakness, to be sure that we are not straying from the path and that we are doing all we can to be faithful Christians, not having become disqualified by something we have done or are doing in our lives that is wrong
Even when things are going well we should still take stock from time to time to affirm our faith and to be sure we stay on the path of righteousness. There are so many temptations or influences in this life that can lead us astray. If we do not examine ourselves we may stray without out even being fully aware of it.
As we learn more of God’s word through study, too, we may find that there are things God would have us do and attitudes God would have adopt or ways of thinking that we should adopt, but we have yet to incorporate them into our lives. Perhaps we have been doing or thinking wrongly unawares and are in need of changing. We should always examine ourselves to see if there is not something that is amiss and that we should change.
When we do find something we should be ready to repent as Simon, the sorcerer was told to repent of the thought of his heart in Acts 8. Once we have obeyed the gospel and are striving to conform our lives to Christ this does not make us immune to the need to repent. We may need to repent again and again, until we straighten out those things that are contrary to God’s will for us as we find written in the scriptures. Each time we turn away from sin and back to God through repentance it cannot but bring us closer to God, which is our continual prayer that we draw closer to Him and repentance is not a matter of shame and sorrow only, but an affirmation of our hope to please God and be found worthy to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
So, keeping in mind that in the passage we have considered Paul is saying specifically to those that would question his Apostleship that they should examine themselves because they were so examining Him and wanted a sign that he was speaking the words of God, it could thus be argued that it is not a direct command to us today. Still, we should still know that we have need to examine ourselves from time to time to be sure that we are in and remain in the faith. If we do not examine ourselves next to what we find in the scriptures we cannot know that we are truly doing what is right. This should be a continuous and lifelong process so that we can draw ever closer to God and grow ever stronger as Christians as we journey on through this life.
May God bless and keep you until next time.