Who read this passage in a challenging or harsh tone? Did anyone else read verse 5 and think Paul was saying…”You seriously need to check yourself! Are you even saved?” Because before writing this devotion that’s definitely how I would’ve read it.
Today, let me offer a fresh take on the passage.
What pushes you to change? What stirs your heart to want to grow? I think there are a lot of different things that motivate us to want to be the person God has created us to be…some are helpful motivators…others…not so much. Doubt is definitely one of the ‘not so much’ ones. Sometimes we let that self-talk creep in and we begin to question our own abilities and doubt some fundamental truths.
See I don’t think Paul is trying to cast doubt on the Corinthians' or question their salvation, because that would go against his affirmations and declarations of their saved status. But instead Paul is motivating his readers to grow in their Christian experience not by having them question and seek their salvation again, but by recognising and submitting to the truth he teaches (v7-10). I think what Paul is trying to say is…we need to look different…He reminding us that Christ Jesus dwells within you (v5). And a person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that (v6).
After twelve chapters of assuming and affirming their salvation, why would he now question it and undermine his whole appeal? He wouldn’t! Which is why this passage should never be used to make those who have believed the gospel doubt their salvation by self-examination. Instead this passage is a reminder to us to ask ourselves if we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us.
So what’s your answer to that question? How are you sharing and celebrating the evidence of Jesus in your life? The best way we can motivate ourselves toward truth and maturity is not by forcing ourselves to doubt our salvation, but by affirming it. My prayer for us all today is that as we seek to be more like Christ, we hold to the fact that we are saved by God's grace, belong to Christ, and have Him within us.