Self-Examination

May 14, 2019

Good Morning Fellow Travelers,

Read: 1 Cor 4:1-7


“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” I Corinthians 11:31-32


At least twice, the apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian people to examine themselves. In II Corinthian 13:5, he calls for self-examination, to determine whether they were even in the faith. These backslidden people were challenged to prove definitely whether they were believers or not. He wanted a definite “yes” or “no”. The question here was not, “Are you earnest enough?” “Have you repented enough?” “Are your prayers sincere enough?” “Are you doing enough?” Rather, Paul was asking, “Are you really in the faith?”

In I Corinthians 11:20-22, Paul instructed a self-examination in order to keep from abusing the communion table, and consequently bringing damnation on the body. We don’t want to eat and drink for fleshly purposes, but rather partake in the symbolic commemoration. This calls us to redirect our focus to Christ.

If we do not open our lives to Christ’s light, our self-examination tends to be biased and self-protecting.  Look at self and you will see nothing but self.  In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul explains righteous judgment.  We are properly judged when we are chastened of the Lord.  It is time to turn our gaze on Christ, the remedy for all our self-centeredness.  Let Christ do the judging.

“Looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) is the watchword of the Christian faith.  If we go on too long in continual self-introspection, trying to find some salvation in our inward feelings and in our own works of righteousness, we will be plunged into despair.  Rather our testimony can be, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

–James Baer

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