What should be our greatest New Year’s resolution this year? Paul guides us in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless you fail the test?”
This verse and many of it’s neighbors are lovingly placed in Scripture to keep us humble and aware of our need for God. They are proof that calling ourselves Christian doesn’t mean we are Christian. Paul says literally, “Put your heart on trial! Put it to the witness stand!”
Certainly, we’ve all heard people argue against these verses. The pacification gospel of our modern era has taught us to ignore verses like this… As comfortable Orange County residents we love the thought that we’re a Christian simply because we claim to be, and anyone who says differently is legalistic or narrow-minded. We enjoy a personal satisfaction and don’t want to pray, study, attend church, and give up the fun life to be, “Holy as He is holy.” Thus, many often use a misquote from Romans 10:9, stating something akin to, “But, the bible says if you profess with your mouth. And, I do. So, that’s all there is to it!”
May I beg we take a deeper look?
Romans 10:9 “… If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved…”
“Saved” certainly references eternal life. But, how is it that one attains this salvation? “Confess” is a greek word that refers to public testimony or covenant. Thus, what are we commanded to covenant to? Paul writes, “Jesus as Lord.” No, not as simple Savior, or as a someday salvation – We are commanded to make public contracted testimony to Him as Lord, wholeheartedly saying, “You are Master of all my choices, actions, and even desires, I’m humbly your bond-slave, I’ll do everything your way, and share this with everyone.” But, Paul isn’t done. “Belief in the heart” is a verb tense showing present action across the New Testament, meaning a, “continual trust toward the stated subject.” Thus, Paul is speaking of an internal will, which daily trusts, on the resurrection of Christ, while publicly covenanting to live for Him as Master and Lord. It’s not a passive profession but a bold all-or-nothing lifestyle change.
Interesting how Satan tweaks a verse isn’t it?
I’ve sat with supposedly Christian people and cried with them over these things, only to see them stand up and never attend church again. One husband who had grown up in a Pastor’s home sat in my home listening to these truths – Suddenly, his eyes, and the eyes of his wife, grew a steely gray and they walked out of the house never to be heard from again, except to call my words “Poison.” Had I shared anything but the very words of Scripture?
There can be no greater New Year’s Resolution than to test your heart. In fact, only the foolish person would test anything else. We would not sit this new year and assess vacation plans if we were about to lose our home to foreclosure. Nor, would we take time to bet on the Superbowl, if our own child was fighting for life in the CHOC cancer ward. The most important things must always be cared for before wasting time on smaller priorities. Eternity is the same while magnified. Do not dare analyze the small goals and trivial entertainments of 2015, until you’ve assured eternal status in heaven. Make the vital investment in Christ before you spend another minute paying for earthly plans.
Live with eternity in mind.