August 7 I Wednesday
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” —2 Corinthians 13:5
The distinguishing mark of a true Christian is that they have received Christ into their lives. Paul tells us, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). Whatever else may have been our experience of Christianity, unless and until we receive Christ Himself into our life, we do not yet belong to Him. We can have false grounds for confidence about being a Christian, such as being born into a Christian family. This can give us this false notion of inheriting the Christian faith. Or thinking we are a Christian because we are baptized, but we can be baptized without ever receiving Jesus Christ into our life. In fact, we can even participate in communion, but unless we have received Christ, it will have no spiritual benefit. Our weekly church attendance does not validate or make us a Christian. Rather, there has to be a moment of deliberate intention, where we respond to the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts and say, “Lord Jesus, please come to live in my life.”
When Paul came into Ephesus on his second missionary journey, the Book of Acts tells us, “he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied” (Acts 19:1-3). In other words, they are described as being baptized, believing disciples, but have no living experience of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not living in them. Their baptism had done nothing for them. Their believing had not gone beyond the intellectual level. Therefore, “Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4-5). After Paul had spoken to them and explained things to them, they received the Spirit of God into their lives.
If we have the Spirit of Jesus Christ in us, then we are a Christian, but if He is not in us, then we are not a Christian. Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you––unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). May we take Paul’s words to heart and examine ourselves––not in the case of our upbringing, tradition or church––but by truthfully asking; is Jesus Christ in us?
Prayer: Dear Jesus Christ, may I not rely on my upbringing, traditions or church to validate my Christian life but honestly examine myself to know whether Your Spirit lives within me. Thank You, Lord.