Passing the Test

Read: 2 Corinthians 13:1-10

I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. (v. 6)

I have a recurring stress dream. It’s the last day of a semester, and I’m about to enter an exam for which I have not studied. Upon further reflection, I realize I haven’t done any of the assignments for the class. I’m absolutely unprepared to pass the test.

I periodically encounter a variation on this stress dream in fellow believers. Their fear is that when they reach the end of life, they’ll fail to meet the requirement to get into heaven. At the conclusion of 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about self-examination, tests, and passing or failing. Is Paul teaching that our salvation depends on our performance on some coming final exam? God forbid!

If there’s a final exam at the end of the Christian life, Jesus himself already passed it for us: “[God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Under the best circumstances, a test doesn’t expose flaws and failure but rather exhibits growth and accomplishments. This is the kind of test Paul had in mind—a daily exhibition of our spiritual growth and Christlike character. But even here, we’re not alone. The “surpassing power” to face this test comes not from us but from God (2 Cor. 4:7). Every time believers serve the world, gather for worship, or engage in fellowship, we pass the test. We do so with joy, not fear, embracing each opportunity to showcase God’s grace at work in us.

As you pray, ask the Lord to display his work in you.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This entry is part 15 of 15 in the series 2 Corinthians: Shining through the Cracks

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