A Warning of Discipline

Andrew Murray, whose devotional books are still popular nearly a century after his death, said this: It is when we face ourselves and face Christ, that we are lost in wonder, love and praise. We need to rediscover the almost lost discipline of self-examination; and then a re-awak … More

Self Examination

As we come to the last chapter of this Corinthian letter most of  the church has repented and changed its attitude toward Paul. However, there is a handful of people who are still following the false teachers and living in a worldly manner and open immorality. Paul has been to Corinth on two previous occasions and now he is planning his third visit (v. 1) He gives warning to any who hasn’t stopped sinning (v. 2). He goes on to say that Christ speaks through me (v. 3). Christ submitted meekly to his enemies when He endured the humiliation of the cross but resurrected by the power of God (v. 4). It seems that Paul is referring to his forthcoming visit in which he will be weakly submissive but will firmly display the power of God in dealing with those who opposed His truth.

It is with this in mind that Paul faces them with one final question which is the key to this passage (v. 5). “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith, prove your own selves. The question is not whether you believe the truth, but whether you are in the truth. When you answer the question about yourself, you will also know that I am a real apostle” (v. 6). He explains that he is not looking for an opportunity to come and demonstrate his authority as an apostle by judging them (vv. 7-9).

Paul emphasizes a principle that is often forgotten today (v. 10). He makes it clear that true authority is never intended to destroy people or tear them down, but it is to build them up. In other words, it is not given so that somebody can lord it over their brothers. Yet in many churches today the pastor’s role is that he is in authority in the church and in essence he is “the pope.” In our early days in the ministry we found ourselves associated with a group that wanted to exercise control over every area of our life, even to the point of telling us who we could have as guests in our home  and who we could talk to and not talk to. When we left them, the pastor attempted to assassinate our character in any way he could, but the Lord prevailed and continued to bless our lives in His ministry.

Application

I am so thankful that as I examine myself in the faith I can say that Christ lives in me.

II Corinthians 13:1-10 (English Standard Version)


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