Paul is giving one final warning to those who still have not repented. This is their last chance to do what God has called for; to turn from their sin and follow Him.
Sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality were specifically mentioned in the last reading; chp. 12 v. 21. These were sins Paul dealt with in his earlier letter of 1 Corinthians also. Many had repented but a large portion hadn’t. They were also not leaving the church. They wanted both; the pleasures of sin and the fellowship of the saints. This was not only reprehensible but also dangerous for the body itself.
Paul called for each person to “test yourselves” to see where their hearty really stood. If they truly had Jesus living in them then they would choose to honor Him and turn from their sin. If they didn’t have Jesus in their hearts then their sin would win. Those who failed this test HAD to leave the fellowship of believers.
Paul was not calling these people to test themselves for his sake but their own. Whether they thought he would pass such a test was beside the point. Paul was responsible for passing his own test on this matter. His success or failure didn’t absolve them of their need to answer this question in their own lives.
Paul was confident in his own test results and prayed that the evidence he presented them earlier and each time they met would be sufficient. There were MORE than two or three witnesses on his behalf.
The ultimate determinant was could they honestly look Jesus in the face behaving as they were and be ok with their conduct? Was Jesus their Lord or not? That is the same test we each take today. Passing this test doesn’t mean that we will never sin again. But it means that when we do sin our desire for a restored relationship with Him is greater than our desire to remain in our sin. Is it worth the price? NO! Then turn away and return to Him.
That is what Paul is calling for; restoration. Restoration of the body. Restoration of their relationship with him. And most importantly, restoration of their relationship with Jesus.
Father God, thank You for Your mercy and restoration. I have had to turn back from my sin so many times I can’t even begin to count them. But You have met me at the point of repentance EVERY time. Not once have You said, “Sorry kid, once too many times.” I KNOW I deserve that answer but You welcome me home again each time. THANK YOU!
Thank You Jesus that You are Lord of my life and each day that test becomes easier and easier to pass. Each day our relationship becomes more and more precious to me and I try harder to protect it. Thank You that I don’t have to ask You into my heart all over again each time I fail because You never leave me. I just have to remove the block in our relationship and You are ALWAYS ready to help me lift that heavy load when I ask. I don’t have to do any of it on my own. Please fill me more and more each day with Your presence. I want You from tip to tip and top to bottom in me. Leave no dark place Jesus. I’m almost afraid to pray that but it is truly what I desire. I just don’t know what it will take to be there. What will You ask of me? I know whatever it is we can do it together!