We’ll also read about:
- The schemes of the enemy & how the devil wraps up sin so deceptively.
- Imprecatory prayer.
- What happens when we don’t exercise self-control.
Isaiah 35 & 36
2 Corinthians 13.1-14
Is Your Faith Genuine?
2 Corinthians 13.1-14:
What Is the Test of Genuine Faith?
In chapter 12 of yesterday’s readings Paul wrote:
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced” (12.20-21).
After that sharp rebuke, the Apostle wrote:
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13.5 NASB).
As believers, we can and do sin, but genuine believers will experience conviction and, eventually, repent. If we can sin without any conviction, we too, should examine ourselves to see if we are really saved. A redeemed life will produce good fruit. Jesus said, “You will know a tree by its fruit” (Lk. 6.44). And John the Baptist warned the Pharisees, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Lk. 3.8).
No amount of “good fruit,” what is often called good works, can save us. The Prophet Isaiah said, “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Is. 64.6). Paul said, “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3.20)and when writing to the Ephesians:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2.8-9).
We are saved by God’s grace when we put our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. But Paul went on to say in the next verse:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Eph. 2.10).
While good works cannot save us, the result of a changed life is good works or fruit.
It will vary in degree and amount and even the speed with which it is produced, but that fruit should include: Continue reading