"The Greatest Examination" (1) (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Perhaps we have all taken "great" tests before, which would have "great" bearing on the outcome of our lives. For example, many have taken time in the pursuit of higher education to seek their PhD, and to receive this invaluable reward, they were required to write a "thesis" about their particular subject. To them it may have been one of the "greatest" tests they have taken. But the "test" that you are about to take exceeds in importance all other examinations, as the "heavens are higher than the earth" (Isa. 55:8-9). God is the one who is giving the examination, and His question is, "Are you prepared to meet God?" (Amos 4:2). You will know the answer to this question after you take this test. Are you ready? Do you have your Bible? Then begin the test. Caution is needed to answer each question (2 Tim. 2:15). Be honest with God and yourself .
Is God's Son Jesus Christ the "commandant" of your life? He possesses all "authority" both in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18-20). Every person on this earth who has ever lived or will ever live has been given by responsible choice the right to obey God or Satan (Rom. 6:16-18). Satan desires only to destroy you (1 Pet. 5:8-9; John 8:44), whereas Christ Jesus came into this world to redeem you from sin (1 Tim. 1: 15). Have you obeyed the commandments of Him whom God hath made both "Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36)? None of His commands are grievous (1 John 5:3) but instead they serve only to benefit mankind. You can prove your love for God by obeying the commands of Christ (John 14:15). Christ does command that all men "hear the word of God" (Rom. 10: 17, Matt. 17:5), for the evidence found therein is sufficient to produce "faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God" (John 20:30-3 1), which Jesus says is necessary for Salvation (John 8:24). Christ also commands "repentance" for all men (Acts 17:30-31). Christ also commands "confession" with the mouth that he is Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). And Christ commands all men who have obeyed these above commandments to couple their faith with baptism (Mark 16:15-16), which will put them into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), and they will receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38.Eph. 1:3-7). At the same time God will add you to the "church" of Christ Jesus our Lord (Acts 2:47). What is your answer to this question?
Have you made the decision to invest your all in service unto God? Jesus Christ made the most supreme investment of 0 by leaving heaven and coming to earth (Matt. 13:45-46). When He emptied Himself in heaven of the glories and honor He possessed as God, and donned Himself in rags, He truly did "purchase" the Pearl of Great Price (Acts 20:28). This investment surely pays heavenly dividends by God's grace (Eph. 2:8-10). But God demands that we invest our "whole being" in Christ as a Christian (Phil. 3:7-8). Indeed we are called upon to invest our hearts (Matt. 22:37), our time (Heb. 5:12-14), our talents (Matt. 25:14-30), our energies (Matt. 21:28-29), our influence (Matt. 5:13-16), and our material blessings (Matt. 6:19-20). How are you doing thus far on this test?
God's sacrificial love for man leaves us breathless (John 3:16), and the sacrificial love of Christ surpasses all of our understanding (Eph. 3:19). Christ lived on this earth as a man serving God daily and never once transgressed God's law by "doing his own thing" (John 6:38). God's Son truly has magnified the words of Romans 12:1-2 in expressing unto us in "living color" the truth about being a "living sacrifice." He made Himself a present unto God (Eph. 5:1-2) for the joy set before Him of being the Savior of the World (Heb. 12:1-3). Total and complete "transformation" in attitude and action is required in being a "living" sacrifice acceptable unto God. Self-denial is mandatory and self-discipline is necessary to enter heaven (Luke 9:23). Have you sacrificed "you"?
Are you "intimately" acquainted with the Bible? It is "without controversy" the greatest manuscript that has ever been conceived, and written (2 Tim. 3:16-17). How deep have you been digging with your shovel of investigation into this "gold mine" of spiritual wisdom and knowledge (Acts 17:11)? Without thorough and careful research of the Book of God (2 Tim. 2:15) men cannot stand approved before the Examiner! If you are ashamed just 'who" is to blame?
Are you seeking diligently to imitate the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1)? His love for righteousness knew no boundaries,. and His hatred for evil has known no equal (Heb. 1:8-9). Your convictions of the Book of God have "influential power" when you personify them through action (I Pet. 2:9-12). Since a picture is worth 10,000 words let your "conversation" be that which becometh the glorious gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27), so that you may adorn the gospel of God our Savior (Tit. 2: 10) in all things! Do you emit spiritual radiation for Christ?
Are you striving to take someone with you to the glorious home of the soul? Jesus Christ in conversation said that putting "first things first," let us go preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:58-62). Your life cannot take on greater meaning than that of "soul-saving." This endeavor is worthy of our greatest Planning and execution. No hobby or recreation surpasses the unspeakable joy that is experienced when a sinner washes in the blood of Jesus. Are you sharing this divine happiness with the Lord and others (John 4:34-37)?
Are you building spiritual bridges of righteousness for others to use in crossing the chasm of sin and degradation (1 Cor. 3:9)? Priests for the Lord are co-workers with God and share with Christ in building His church (Matt. 16:18-19, 1 Pet. 2:5,9). The Latin word for "priest" is pontifex or bridge-builder. If you are trying to be an example in "word, manner of living, love, faith, spirit and purity" (1 Tim. 4:12), you are building safe bridges for others to cross. But many Christians should "bum their bridges behind them," for they present a hazard to spiritual health of those whom they influence (2 Pet. 2:1-3, 10-13). Christians in Thessalonica, were helping Christ build His church (1 Thess. 1:2-3). Are you the faithful "steadfast" Christian whose faith works by love (Gal. 5:5; 1 Cor. 15:58)? Are you working fervently on God's construction crew (Heb. 13:20-21), or are you now busily engaged on Satan's demolition gang (2 Cor. 11: 1315; Jude 12-19)? All of us are busy working, but who gets the glory, and just "whom" do we represent?
Have you set your affections on things above where our Master rules and reigns (Col. 3:1-2)? Are you using your "treasures" to expedite the business of the King (Luke 2:49)? Is your greatest desire that of seeing God's face (Ren. 22:1-5), and basking in the glorious Son-shine of God's righteous city of glory? Are you carnally-minded or spiritually minded (Rom. 8:5-8)? Do you love this world, and the things therein? Are you eaten up with the consumption disease (1 Jn. 2:15-17)? Do you consume worldly endowments upon your own lusts (Jas. 4:1-4)? Do you truly love God and His law (Psa. 119:97)? Are you "kindly affectioned" to your brethren in Christ (Rom. 12:9-10)? God says that our affection for him is without suspect only when we "keep him commandments" (I Jn. 5:1-2). We live a "lie" (Rev. 22:15) by rejecting and refusing Him the rightful obedience He deserves! Is your true love "misplaced")
Do you allow Jesus to be seen in you? For unless Christ lives and works in you (Gal. 2:20), your life is void of meaning (Jn. 15:1-8). Christ Jesus is truly the greatest character who ever honored this earth by His presence (Acts 10:38, Heb. 4:15). Have you armed yourself with the "greatest" mind of the ages (1 Pet. 4:1-5), in order that you might always "characterize" righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24)? Your character is determined by the amount of adversity needed to discourage you (Gal. 6:7-9), and the accomplishments you are able to achieve without losing your humility (I Cor. 15:9-10). Christ never got the "big-head" (John 17:4), and with unwavering determination he conquered every adversary (Heb. 2:14-15), and finished the work God gave Him to do on earth among men and in spiritual realms (1 John 3:8). How much of the character of Christ "dwelleth" in you?
Are you the tree planted by the waters of holiness that yields it fruit unto God (Psa. 1: 1-3)? The fruit of the Spirit should decorate each Christian (Gal. 5:22-26). This fruit only comes when we are rooted and grounded in Christ (Col. 2:6-7). If you are a fruit-bearing Christian you can expect "pruning and purging" by God so you can bring forth more fruit to glorify your creator (John 15:1-2, 8). Some Christians have fruit that is withering, and some are fruit-less (Jude 12). Have you allowed the seed of the kingdom to germinate in your life so as the blossoms of the beauty of holiness have become "part of your life" (Luke 8:15)? Have you begun to add to your faith the virtues and knowledge and temperance and patience and godliness and brotherly kindness and charity which is the bond of "perfectness" (Col. 3:12-14; 2 Pet. 1:5-11)? Barren branches in Christ are burned in the fire (John 15:6-7)! Are you blinded by your selfish endeavors to this worthy goal?
Have you purposed to "press" on toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-16)? If so, your citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21), and you constantly yearn for the green pastures of heaven, and thirst for the waters of life which flow from God's throne (Psa. 23; Rev. 7:16-17). Persecution has no sting when overshadowed by the grandeur of "heaven" (Matt. 5:10-12). Living forever worshiping God, without sad news of death, or discomfort of pain, or the agony of sorrow to mar the "perfect" day (Prov. 4:18). This inheritance of grace is incorruptible and undefiled and fadeth not away (1 Pet. 1:34). This hope of eternal life (Heb. 5:17-20) anchors our soul and gives us stability in life (Eph. 4:13-14). Having our eyes fixed on heaven should "polarize" our every thought and deed and word (Col. 3:17; 1 Jn. 3:18). Have you planned to go to heaven and miss "hell"?
Being a Christian affords man the holy privilege of worshiping God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Have you dedicated your body as the sanctuary of holiness, where God lives and reigns (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Pet. 3:15)? Have you turned away from every "idol" to serve the living God (1 Thess. 1:9)? Do you actually love God more and deeper than "family" (Matt. 10:37)? Do you daily shew forth His "excellencies" (1 Pet. 2:9-10)? Do you take advantage of every single "opportunity" presented unto you through providence to glorify your Maker? Or do you take "advantage" of God and render "self-worship" regularly (2 Tim. 3:1-5)?
Are you really happy (Matt. 5:1-12)? Living for Jesus gives "meaning" to life. His commandments are designed to produce fulfillment (Eph. 3:14-21). His precepts instill peaceful assurance when obeyed (Rev. 22:14, Phil. 4:4-8). The law of Christ is "modern and up to date" (1 Pet. 1:22-23). Yield the "right of way" to Jesus in your life and He will, through His powerful message, speak marvelous words through your tongue, carry your feet to enchanting places, and allow your eyes to behold wondrous things in His law, and use your hands to lift burdens from heavy shoulders (2 Tim. 2:19-21). Did you pass this great-test (examination)? Perhaps you made 100. If so, congratulations are in order to you. Do not boast however, for you have only done your duty (Luke 17: 10)! For we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10)!
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 7, pp. 198, 216, 218