Monday, May 17, 2010

2 Corinthians 13:5-10 (The Test)

Reading passages like this or 1 Corinthians 9:27 or 2 Corinthians 6:1 through the “once saved always saved” lens can be tricky. Not that there is a problem with that teaching; the Bible as a whole really seems to teach that a person is saved for eternity. However, taken out of context and perhaps misunderstood, these passages seem to imply that a person can lose their saved status.

Well, this is just a suggestion, and by no means a theological assertion made with any authority nor confidence, but what if these passages are not referring to individuals but rather ministries or churches?

Reading the Corinthian letters as we have, as examples and “how to” guides for doing church, this reading would make sense. So here, Paul is not telling the Corinthians to test their salvation as if they could have become unsaved; but rather he is telling the church at Corinth to test itself to see if it is still “in the faith.” Is the church still being church? If that is what Paul is doing here it makes perfect sense in the light of history. Church after church has lost it vision and become busy doing everything except that which it was called to do. Churches lose their “first love.”

The true test of a church is not how big it is, how much money it collects, or how much ministry it does. The true test of a church is: is Jesus Christ in it? The basic function of the church according to Paul in the Corinthian letters is to be the body of Christ. We are to be Christ in the world.

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