Christian Churches of God
Know Ye Not?
(Edition 1.5 20020731-20110326)
The phrase “know ye not” is used 15 times in the New Testament. This paper examines what it is the writers felt important that should have been understood by the early Church.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright © 2002, 2011 Dave Treat, ed. Wade Cox)
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Know Ye Not?
Paul used the phrase “know ye not” thirteen times in his letters to the Roman and Corinthian churches. He was showing his frustration at the fact he had to reiterate basic teachings of which he felt they should have been well aware. What were these teachings and how do they affect us today? Since we know God doesn’t change we must assume the issues Paul was referring to are relevant for us today. Let us examine the verses containing this phrase and find out what Paul was talking about.
The first verse containing the phrase is in Romans 6:3 which says:
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
We’ve got to look at the context in which the statement is made in order to determine its meaning. Romans 6:1-13 says:
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Note what Paul is saying here. How can we be dead to sin and living in it at the same time? Sin is either alive in us or it is dead to us. It is impossible for it to be both.
Romans 6:3-13 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Matthew Henrey’s Commentary on verse 3 says:
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life. Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God. The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross. It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service.
Notice his reference to the fact that the body of sin is whatever is not of the holy law. In Paul’s day the Gnostic movement was alive and well. One of the major doctrines of the Gnostic system was that the law of God is evil and the adherence thereof makes a person more carnal. To rise above their own materialism, people had to separate themselves from the law. This is one point Paul is making here when he says, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Grace without law was a Gnostic and Antinomian view and had crept into the early church and Paul was disputing this position.
We can’t give in to the desires of the flesh and practice lawlessness and think we are covered by God’s grace. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but this doesn’t give us license to sin, as the extreme Gnostics believed. When we sin we ask for forgiveness and move on. We don’t continue in the same sins as a matter of practice. We are baptized into Christ’s death. The old man we were no longer exists. We are a new creation and we must ensure our actions and our attitudes are new as well. The good news is we are also baptized into His life. If we persevere and don’t allow sin to gain a foothold in our lives, we will attain the Aionian life that God promises. [This word is translated into English as “eternal” in all instances in the Greek.]
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
In order to understand this verse clearly we have to look at the verses surrounding it. Verses 15-19 in the Bible in Basic English read:
Romans 6:15-19 What then? are we to go on in sin because we are not under law but under grace? Let it not be so. 16 Are you not conscious that you are the servants of him to whom you give yourselves to do his desire? if to sin, the end being death, or if to do the desire of God, the end being righteousness. 17 But praise be to God that though you were the servants of sin, you have now given yourselves freely to that form of teaching under which you were placed; 18 And being made free from sin you have been made the servants of righteousness. 19 I am using words in the way of men, because your flesh is feeble: as you gave your bodies as servants to what is unclean, and to evil to do evil, so now give them as servants to righteousness to do what is holy. (BBE)
Again we see references to the Gnostic belief that grace did away with the law. Paul points out the fact that just because we are under grace does not abrogate us from our responsibility to keep the law as he points out in verse 15.
Many of us saw what happened when the Church of God in the 20th century decided they didn’t have to keep the law. That church has been spewed out of God’s mouth, ripped apart and its leader killed 40 weeks after making this public proclamation.
We are not under the law because we obey it. Many try to claim that Paul did away with the law in his writings. Most modern “Christians” refer to him when making their arguments against the law. Unless Paul was a madman he couldn’t have been saying the law was of no effect, because as we see in the following verses he directly contradicts that thought.
Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
We saw in verse 15 of chapter 6 that Paul tells us we are not to continue in sin. What is sin? It is the transgression or breaking of the law. If we are not keeping the law we are sinning and therefore not following the teachings of Paul or of Christ who said:
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.
The people who try to use Paul’s writing to justify their Antinomian or lawless positions, do so to their own destruction. Peter wrote in 2Peter 3:15-18:
2Peter 3:15-1 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest (or pervert), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Paul must be one of the most misquoted people who ever lived.
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (KJV)
This is a direct refutation to the Antinomian lawlessness prevalent in Paul’s day. Paul goes on to say in verses 2-25:
Romans 7:2-6 For the woman who has a husband is placed by the law under the power of her husband as long as he is living; but if her husband is dead, she is free from the law of the husband. 3 So if, while the husband is living, she is joined to another man, she will get the name of one who is untrue to her husband: but if the husband is dead, she is free from the law, so that she is not untrue, even if she takes another man. 4 In the same way, my brothers, you were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, even to him who came again from the dead, so that we might give fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the evil passions which came into being through the law were working in our bodies to give the fruit of death. 6 But now we are free from the law, having been made dead to that which had power over us; so that we are servants in the new way of the spirit, not in the old way of the letter.
This is the real point. We are under the spirit of the law, not the letter. Christ added a spiritual element to the law that didn’t previously exist.
Romans 7:7-13 What then is to be said? is the law sin? in no way. But I would not have had knowledge of sin but for the law: for I would not have been conscious of desire if the law had not said, You may not have a desire for what is another's. 8 But sin, taking its chance through that which was ordered by the law, was working in me every form of desire: because without the law sin is dead. 9 And there was a time when I was living without the law: but when the law gave its orders, sin came to life and put me to death; 10 And I made the discovery that the law whose purpose was to give life had become a cause of death: 11 For I was tricked and put to death by sin, which took its chance through the law. 12 But the law is holy, and its orders are holy, upright, and good. 13 Was then that which is good, death to me? In no way. But the purpose was that sin might be seen to be sin by working death to me through that which is good; so that through the orders of the law sin might seem much more evil.
This is an interesting statement given the callous attitude we have toward sin. Even in the churches of God sin is not looked upon as the evil it really is. Things don’t shock us anymore. It is perfectly acceptable in our society to abort babies and have families with same sex parents. This apathetic attitude toward sin is destroying our societies and will not be tolerated forever. Don’t get caught having a flippant attitude toward sin. It will lead to our destruction.
Romans 7:14-25 For we are conscious that the law is of the spirit; but I am of the flesh, given into the power of sin. 15 And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do. 16 But, if I do that which I have no mind to do, I am in agreement with the law that the law is good. 17 So it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me. 18 For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good: I have the mind but not the power to do what is right. 19 For the good which I have a mind to do, I do not: but the evil which I have no mind to do, that I do. 20 But if I do what I have no mind to do, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me. 21 So I see a law that, though I have a mind to do good, evil is present in me. 22 In my heart I take pleasure in the law of God, 23 But I see another law in my body, working against the law of my mind, and making me the servant of the law of sin which is in my flesh. 24 How unhappy am I! who will make me free from the body of this death? 25 I give praise to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So with my mind I am a servant to the law of God, but with my flesh to the law of sin. (BBE)
Most people, when pinned down, will agree to the last six commandments, but they get the first four pertaining to our relationship with God all wrong. Paul says that the law is holy and righteous.
The law is what defines sin and this is what Paul is saying. He would not have known sin if it were not for the law. He wants to obey the law, but he sins anyway because the flesh is weak. But as Paul states, he is not guilty of the penalty of death because he desires to keep the law in his mind. It is the sin that dwells in us that now incurs the death penalty. Christ has put sin to death. We all sin and if it were not for Christ’s sacrifice we would receive the wages of sin, which is death. Christ has saved us from this penalty by His sacrifice. We are now under the spirit of the law and not the letter. Being under the spirit of the law does not mean we don’t obey the law. It simply means the law is now written in our hearts and minds. We no longer obey the law because we have to, but because we want to. Our minds have been renewed through the Holy Spirit.
1Corinthians 3:16 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Let us get a better look at the complete picture by looking at 1Corinthians 3:1-19 which says:
1Corinthians 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
The Church of God in the 20th century failed to feed us with meat. We weren’t ready for it until now. It wasn’t until the last few years that many of us came to realize that we had to work out our own salvation; that we couldn’t ride into the first resurrection on the coat tails of a minister. Since we have come to that realization and started studying in earnest God has provided us with much needed meat and continues to open our eyes to more and more truth.
1Corinthians 3:3-4 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
1Corinthians 3:5-19 Who
then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as
the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but
God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any
thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive
his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers
together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
We are the temple of God and His spirit dwells in us. We must be careful how we build upon the foundation that was laid down by the Apostles. We are to discern the truth and ensure we are not led astray by false doctrines. The builders are the people who have been given the responsibility to teach and lead God’s people. The builders must be wary of using improper building materials because it would weaken the structure. In order to be a strong structure the foundation must be solid and then every layer from that point forward must be made of the proper materials. The building materials are the doctrines of the church. God will test us in our understanding of and our loyalty to the doctrines that we espouse. All false doctrines will be destroyed. It is our responsibility as Christians to make absolutely sure we are not allowing the temple to be defiled by false doctrines.
1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
In 1Corinthians 5:1-13 we read:
1Corinthians 5:1-13 It is said, in fact, that there is among you a sin of the flesh, such as is not seen even among the Gentiles, that one of you has his father's wife. 2 And in place of feeling sorrow, you are pleased with yourselves, so that he who has done this thing has not been sent away from among you. 3 For I myself, being present in spirit though not in body, have come to a decision about him who has done this thing; 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you have come together with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 That this man is to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may have forgiveness in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 This pride of yours is not good. Do you not see that a little leaven makes a change in all the mass? 7 Take away, then, the old leaven, so that you may be a new mass, even as you are without leaven. For Christ has been put to death as our Passover. 8 Let us then keep the feast, not with old leaven, and not with the leaven of evil thoughts and acts, but with the unleavened bread of true thoughts and right feelings. 9 In my letter I said to you that you were not to keep company with those who go after the desires of the flesh; 10 But I had not in mind the sinners who are outside the church, or those who have a desire for and take the property of others, or those who give worship to images; for it is not possible to keep away from such people without going out of the world completely: 11 But the sense of my letter was that if a brother had the name of being one who went after the desires of the flesh, or had the desire for other people's property, or was in the way of using violent language, or being the worse for drink, or took by force what was not his, you might not keep company with such a one, or take food with him. 12 For it is no business of mine to be judging those who are outside; but it is yours to be judging those who are among you; 13 As for those who are outside, God is their judge. So put away the evil man from among you.
The body of Christ, the individuals that make up the church, has a responsibility to ensure that it stays pure. If we, as the body of Christ, allow any of the members, including the ministers, to habitually act in a manner contrary to God’s law and we do nothing, then we are not living up to our responsibilities. We have an obligation not only to the congregation, but also to the individual, to remove them from the congregation. Sinful behavior is like a cancer. It will spread throughout the body if not removed. It must be removed to preserve the life of the body.
Sin is a type of leaven. It only takes a small amount of leaven to leaven a whole lump of dough. We remove the leaven of sin from our presence to protect the congregation, but also so that the individual being removed might see his or her error and repent. If they choose not to repent then they will be relegated to the second resurrection. If, on the other hand, they choose to repent, then they will be restored to the congregation and the first resurrection.
In 1Corinthians 6:2-3 we read:
1Corinthians 6:2-3 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?
This verse has been misinterpreted by some to mean that we will judge all the angelic host. It is very presumptuous and arrogant for us to think that we will judge the angels that have remained loyal to God. The angels being referred to here are the fallen host. True Christians are going to have the responsibility of judging the world and the fallen host for their actions. We will never be in a position of judging the loyal host that have been watching over us all of our lives.
What was Paul’s main point in writing this? We see that in 1Corinthians 6:1-8.
1Corinthinas 6:1-8 How is it, that if any one of you has a cause at law against another, he takes it before a Gentile judge and not before the saints? 2 Is it not certain that the saints will be the judges of the world? if then the world will be judged by you, are you unable to give a decision about the smallest things? 3 Is it not certain that we are to be the judges of angels? how much more then of the things of this life? 4 If then there are questions to be judged in connection with the things of this life, why do you put them in the hands of those who have no position in the church? 5 I say this to put you to shame. Is there not among you one wise man who may be able to give a decision between his brothers? 6 But a brother who has a cause at law against another takes it before Gentile judges. 7 More than this, it is not to your credit to have causes at law with one another at all. Why not put up with wrong? why not undergo loss? 8 So far from doing this, you yourselves do wrong and take your brothers' property.
Brethren in the Corinthian church were going to the gentile courts instead of taking their matters before the congregation to be settled. Paul’s point was that the Saints are going to judge the world and the fallen host for their actions. We should be able to judge between right and wrong in things pertaining to this physical existence. The Corinthian brethren obviously couldn’t use proper judgement in applying the principals of God’s law and therefore brethren were going to the court system.
Another aspect to be examined here is that the leadership of the church has a responsibility to ensure their judgements are just and righteous. One of the big problems in God’s church in the twentieth century has been its inability to perform righteous judgement. We as Christians have a responsibility to stand up for what is right and just. We can’t allow unrighteous judgements within the church, or it will force the brethren to go outside the church to obtain justice. What does that say for an organization claiming to be God’s church if the members can’t receive justice from the church? We must be well versed in the laws and principals of God in order to judge rightly and it is the responsibility of every Christian to study and understand these principals and be able to execute judgement.
1Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Reading 1Corinthains 6:9-14 we gain a better understanding of what is being said here.
1Corinthians 6:9-14 Have you not knowledge that evil-doers will have no part in the kingdom of God? Have no false ideas about this: no one who goes after the desires of the flesh, or gives worship to images, or is untrue when married, or is less than a man, or makes a wrong use of men, 10 Or is a thief, or the worse for drink, or makes use of strong language, or takes by force what is not his, will have any part in the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you; but you have been washed, you have been made holy, you have been given righteousness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 12 I am free to do all things; but not all things are wise. I am free to do all things; but I will not let myself come under the power of any. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will put an end to them together. But the body is not for the desires of the flesh, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body: 14 And God who made the Lord Jesus come back from the dead will do the same for us by his power.
Here we see the type of behavior that will land us in the second resurrection. We are washed clean by the sacrifice of Christ, but we can’t behave the way these people behaved. As Paul points out many of us practised such things before our calling and baptism, but we are now walking down a different path. We no longer practise such things. We are a new creation through the spirit of God.
In verse 12 it appears Paul is saying all things are lawful for him to do. Is this the case? We have already seen that God’s law is still in effect and we have an obligation as Christians to obey that law.
We all have free moral agency and are free to do what we will. That doesn’t mean it is lawful or good for us. God has given us the freedom to do whatever we want. As Christians we have to make choices regarding our behavior and it’s up to us to choose right or wrong; life or death.
1Corinthians 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
Just as our own bodies are the temple of God, the body of Christ, the individuals that make up the church, are also a type of the extended temple. Each individual body is a member of the larger body. Verses 16 to 18:
1Corinthians 6:16-18 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
What Paul is referring to here has a dual meaning. While we are to avoid physical fornication, we are also to avoid spiritual fornication. A harlot is symbolic of false religion. Those who are joined to a false religion become one with it. If we are joined to a false religion then we can’t be joined in marriage as the bride to the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. We are commanded to discern the body. We must be assembling and fellowshipping with the body of Christ. We are obligated to know where it is and who they are and the only way we will know is by their doctrines. As Christ said in Matthew 7:16: “you shall know them by their fruits”. We have to have a good foundation in the true doctrines and principals of God in order to properly discern the body.
Verse 19 says:
1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Paul emphasizes again that our bodies are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us. He makes an additional point in that we are not our own. In verse 20 we read:
1Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
We were paid for with a price. That price was Christ’s life. He paid for each and every one of us with His own blood. We now belong to God. Our body is not our own, thus we should glorify our master, God the Father, with our body. We glorify Him by abstaining from the lusts of the flesh and the ways of the world and obeying His laws. We cling to what is good and upright and reject the wickedness of the world. God says His people are a peculiar people. If we are blending in with the rest of the world and no one can see that we are different, then we aren’t peculiar and maybe we need to examine our lives to ensure we are living according to the true word of God. God’s way is so contrary to the world’s ways that it should be very obvious that we are different. We should be striving daily to be a peculiar people. Indeed, if we are keeping the New Moons holy and think we have to keep the laws of God, we are going to appear a little peculiar. As a matter of fact, we even seem peculiar to many in the Churches of God.
1Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
An athlete in a race puts forth a 110% effort to win the race. Paul admonishes us to run so that we might receive the prize. What prize is Paul referring to? Let us look at 1Corinthians 9:25-27 and see what Paul has to say.
1Corinthians 9:25-27 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The crown we are racing and striving for is the incorruptible crown that will be given to all true Christians at Christ’s return. Paul says he brings his body into subjection. Paul fought a continual battle, as do we, against human nature and sin. It is those who persevere to the end who will receive the crown. It is the doers of the law and not the hearers who are justified.
This crown is not a permanent crown as some of the “once saved always saved” crowd would have us believe. Paul said in verse 27 that he kept his body in subjection so that he wouldn’t be cast away. If we aren’t diligent in overcoming and becoming more like our elder brother Jesus Christ, we will not receive the crown Paul is talking about here. We will find ourselves in the 2nd resurrection. Note that it is the 2nd resurrection. Many have tried to convince us in the past that if we didn’t stay with a particular corporate entity we would be relegated to a 3rd resurrection where we would be brought up, shown how good everyone had it and then thrown into a lake of fire. The God we worship is far more merciful than that. See the paper on The Fallacy of the Third Resurrection (No. 166) for more information on the topic.
2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Let us look at this verse in context to gain a better understanding of what Paul is saying here. We will look at 2Corinthians 13:1-14.
2Corinthians 13:1-9. This is the third time that I am coming to you. From the mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be made certain. 2 I said before, and still say it before I come, as being present for the second time, though I am still away from you, to those who have done wrong before, and to all the others, that if I come again I will not have pity; 3 Seeing that you are looking for a sign of Christ giving out his word in me; who is not feeble in relation to you, but is strong in you: 4 For he was feeble in that he was put to death on the cross, but he is living by the power of God. And we are feeble in him, but we will be living with him through the power of God in relation to you. 5 Make a test of yourselves, if you are in the faith; make certain of yourselves. Or are you not conscious in yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, if you are truly Christ's? 6 But it is my hope that you will have no doubt that we are truly Christ's. 7 Now our prayer to God is that you may do no evil; not in order that it may be put to our credit, but so that you may do what is right, whatever we may seem. 8 Because we are able to do nothing against what is true, but only for it. 9 For we are glad when we are feeble and you are strong: and this is our prayer, even that you may be made complete.
In order for us to be strong we have to be able to stand on our own. The church in the last 40 years or so has bred a mass of followers not thinkers. This is why so many followed the leaders of the church into apostasy. Paul provides an example for the ministry and it went unnoticed.
2Corinthians 13:10–14 For this cause I am writing these things while I am away, so that there may be need for me, when I am present, to make use of sharp measures, by the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for destruction. 11 Let this be my last word, brothers; be glad; be complete; be comforted; be of the same mind; be at peace with one another: and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Give one another a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their love to you. 14 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the harmony of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
Paul indicated that he had communicated these issues to the Corinthian church two times prior to this one. It appears the Corinthian church was a bit thick or slow on the uptake. Paul is here again refuting some of the Gnostic beliefs extant in his day. Gnostics didn’t believe that God, as they viewed Christ, would dwell in the physical being. The creation was evil in their view so it was logically impossible for the righteous God to dwell in a sinner. Paul was simply pointing out the fact that Christ does dwell in us contrary to some of the thinking of his day. We have an obligation to test ourselves. We do this by examining our character and actions against the words of the Bible. If our doctrines and beliefs can’t be supported by scripture then we are not Christ’s. “Scriptures” here simply refers to the King James Version of the Bible. It takes much more than just a poorly translated Bible to gain a true understanding of scripture. We have to diligently seek out the truth in order to find it. It is not easy but we are obligated to do so. As John said, “He who claims to know God and keeps not His commandments is a liar”. We have to know beyond doubt what those commandments are.
1Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
We are to test the doctrines that we are espousing to see whether or not they are true. We are also to examine ourselves to see whether our character is in line with our doctrine. This is especially true during the Passover season. Paul said that his hope was that the Corinthians had no doubt that they were Christ’s. The only way we can do this is if we are diligently studying to prove our doctrines. We have to put our money where our mouth is.
In conclusion we can see by now that Paul was obviously not happy with the behavior of the Roman and Corinthian churches.
Brethren, we are the body of Christ. God’s spirit dwells in us. We obey God because we love Him, not because we are justified by the keeping of the law. Let us learn from the shortcomings found in the Roman and Corinthian churches. Run the race to win, not just to be placed second or third. Let us continue to study as the Bereans, so we can execute our responsibilities as members of the body of Christ. Continue to develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and the principals and laws of God so no one can say to us, “Do you not know?”