(2Cor 13:5 [ESV2011]) Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Apostle Paul says ‘examine (test) yourselves to see if you are in The Faith’. This definite article is emphasizing that this is a specific kind of faith.
1. What is “The Faith” in the Bible?
(1) ‘The Faith’ in the early church – Acts 3:16, 16:5
Here in the early Church, they are referring to the only real faith, the faith in Jesus Christ, differentiating from all the other kinds of faiths and beliefs. The only true faith that will lead to salvation.
(2) ‘The Faith’ that Apostle Paul speaks about
Apostle Paul persecuted Christians according to his faith. But after he met Jesus on the way to Damascus, he calls this faith in Jesus Christ, The Faith (1 Cor 16:13, Gal 1:23, 3:23). We need to ask ourselves do I have ‘The faith’ that Jesus is looking for (Luke 18:8)? This faith cannot be attained by our own strength and will.
(3) ‘The Faith’ of Abraham (Rom 4:11-16)
Abraham believed even before circumcision. He had faith in God when God promised him, your children will be as many as stars in the sky. He believed and God saw that faith, and reckoned it as righteousness, and later he was circumcised. So faith comes first. The faith that responded to God’s calling, the faith that continued to follow God, the faith that matures, the faith that came to know God more intimately. That faith is reckoned by God as righteous, not his circumcision, not the outward action.
True faith will lead us to obedience, but first it will lead us to understand God’s will so that obedience will not be a difficult thing, but becomes a joyful and thankful thing.
2. How is this faith attained?
(1) Faith comes from knowing
i) Not the Knowing according to the flesh
It’s the knowledge according to the Spirit: יָדַע (yada) and γινώσκω (ginosko) knowledge, coming to know Him through relationship; understanding and experiencing the living God, Jesus Christ That’s when we come to receive that faith.
ii) Not the Knowing that is separated from faith
In order for us to reach to maturity of the fullness of Christ, our faith and knowledge of Jesus have to be united (Eph 4:13). What we have heard must melt into our hearts, be carried out in our actions and our life. Otherwise our hearts become futile and darkened (Rom 1:21).
When facing Goliath and the Philistine army, the people who were smarter and able to fight better could not do anything. They knew a lot but it did not become their faith. But the little boy David just spoke what is right according to what he has learnt from the Word. He has experience of God’s help before, with lions and bears and wild animals when he was shepherding. He completely believed that God will protect. Whether he lives or dies it did not matter. For David, the glory of God was first. So that Word, that knowledge was faith in David (1 Sam 17:45-47).
(2) Faith is given through grace
We need to understand that sacrifice of Jesus. The atoning work of Jesus on the cross needs to really come and touch us. That’s the gospel. We need to believe in the gospel in order for us to have faith. How precious and how important is the blood of Jesus to us? We were about to fall into that fire of hell, and Jesus at that last moment saved us out of that hell fire and gave us another chance. It’s that grace that leads us to faith. Grace is salvation, Grace is Jesus coming to be with us although we are sinners. Grace is what changes our lives.
3. What “The Faith” is not
Firstly, faith is not probability, not a percentage. Faith is believing a hundred percent that God will do His Will , fulfil His purpose and that God is good.
Secondly, faith is not emotional; something that depends on my environment. Faith is not my assurance either.
True faith, “The Faith”, is referring to The Faith of Jesus. In order for the faith of Jesus Christ to come into me, we need to really understand and receive the grace of the Cross. Romans 3:21-22, we need to have Faith in Jesus Christ. Literally in the original text in Greek, in this verse it says righteousness of God through Faith OF Jesus Christ. It’s not our faith. Jesus believed for us, Jesus died for us, on behalf of us. Jesus took up the cross not for himself, but for the sinners. So when we really believe and receive the grace of the cross, the grace of Jesus’ crucifixion, then That Faith comes into us (Gal 2:20).
2 Cor 13:5 Test yourself to see are you in that faith – what faith? The faith of Jesus Christ. That faith will lead us to the kingdom of heaven. That faith will give us blessing but that faith is not just any kind of faith. Pray we will have The Faith in Christ Jesus.