"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- Unless indeed you are disqualified." 2 Cor. 13:5
"Christians are not perfect, only forgiven." The quote is not attributed to anyone, yet it is just as true as Scripture. In spite of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and the on-going work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are still vulnerable to sin. While the grace of God will cover our sins provided that we ask for forgiveness, we must realize that God's will for our lives is that we be free from sin and "slaves to righteousness." Rom. 6:17,18.
But what about sinful habits that we become complacent about? What about those areas of our lives that seem to always be a "work in progress"? Are there consequences for the Christian who seems to continue in sin?
Paul's reminder to us in 2 Cor. 13:5 should be a sobering reminder that our daily walk with Christ might very well be a daily struggle to overcome sin. Paul himself acknowledged the possibility that even he could be "disqualified", 1 Cor. 9:27. Wow! If the greatest missionary the world has ever known, the man who wrote nearly two thirds of the New Testament could be "disqualified" by sin, how much more can most of us?
Now don't start out on a never-ending guilt trip just because you recognize that you too have reoccurring sin issues in your life. While that is not what God wants, the very fact you recognize them means you are still capable of true heartfelt repentance. This alone means that God will still forgive you when you go to Him daily for help and forgiveness. 2 Cor. 7:10, Jas. 5:16.
The advice Paul gives us to "examine ourselves" is needful to all. After all, we all want to please God. Self examination not only leads to true repentance, but to a greater desire to improve oneself. Intense prayer accompanied by regular fasting can be a great tool for overcoming these sin issues. Finding a trusted brother or sister in Christ in whom you can confide your needs to, is well within the context of Jas. 5:16. Therefore examine yourselves to see if you re in the faith. May God bless you richly.