Do you belong to Jesus? No–not do you think God exists or that Jesus really lived on this earth; not do you go to church, or pray, or even read the Bible, but–do you really belong to Him? I think this is a question each and every one of us should ask ourselves regularly, not to stir up doubt in our mind, but to make sure we really are who we think we are, because the Bible warns us that not everyone who thinks they are in Christ and saved from future judgment really is.
“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.
Now I pray to God that you do no evil…but that you should do what is honorable…And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (II Corinthians 13:5, 7, 9, 11 NKJV)
Jesus Christ died for everyone, but not everyone belongs to Him–not everyone will be fully united with Him and escape God’s judgment of their wrongdoing after they die–because not everyone wants to. Some haven’t examined the evidence enough to become convinced of the facts–that God really does exist; that we are naturally unholy on our own and incapable of true holiness through our efforts; that it is only because of what Jesus Christ did that God forgives and accepts us when we trust in Him.
Others don’t want Jesus because they love unholiness. It’s sad, but true, that sin seem to be pleasant in the moment, and some have simply learned to enjoy sinning–and are thereby repulsed by God because of this, because you cannot be Christ’s if you do not renounce sin in your life.
Yet others believe God. They believe what those who experienced it firsthand recorded for future generations–for us–and think they have the acceptance and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. And some do. Yet St. Paul wrote the verses quoted above for a reason–to warn us from becoming complacent in our faith.
He says Jesus Christ is in us–unless we’re disqualified. How would we be disqualified? I think the obvious answer is if we’re not repentant; if we’re still living in any kind of sin we’re aware of. The context of these verses was church discipline to the church at Corinth: they weren’t confronting the open and unrepentant sin of a man and woman there. And that’s what Paul meant–you can’t assume everything’s okay if it isn’t. You can’t assume Jesus is working in you through His Spirit–that you really belong to Him; that you really trust in Him–if you’re living in a sinful situation.
Because choosing sin–any sin–over obedience to Jesus means you don’t trust Him enough; you are making the value judgment that He isn’t enough, that He can’t make you really happy; that you need to fix your situation by adding sin to your life–something He says is wrong wrong and hurtful to you–for it to be good.
Yet the opposite is true. When we choose sin instead of faith–instead of saying, “You’re enough, Lord Jesus”–we’re denying Him. We’re sewing fig leaves together to fix our pain or want like Adam and Eve did, instead of accepting the real clothes God provides through Jesus’ death on the cross.
Jesus is enough–He really is. He’s enough when we hurt; He’s enough when we’re empty; He’s enough when life’s not fair, when bad things happen, or even when nothing bad in particular at all is happening! But we have to examine ourselves to see if it’s true for me–if He really is enough; if I really am in the faith.
Or, alternately, if I’m running after and trusting in anything and everything else to complete me. Because, while I may feel like I got something for a while, ultimately, nothing else will complete me but God through Jesus Christ.
That’s what Paul urges the Corinthians, and us, to do: to do no evil, to do what is honorable, to be made complete in Christ Jesus. Because if Jesus is enough–if we don’t need any sinful anything else–we can assure our heart that we are really in the faith!
Help me be truly in You; You are enough! Amen.