Friday, January 31, 2014

Fleeing Lusts – 2 Tim 2:22

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NKJV)
Fleeing Temptations
I usually look for the best translation of a verse when I use it in my writing. I also rotate between various versions just to make sure I don’t violate copyright permissions established by publishers of the various versions. I looked at the New Living Translation and was tempted to use it not because it is a good translation but because it injects the words “anything that stimulates” youthful lusts. Those words do not appear in the Greek nor are they even implied by the Greek or context. I almost choose this version because it brings out a concept of how to avoid lusts, youthful or not. While the concept certainly has merit, it isn’t what God said through Paul in this passage.
Is there a difference between fleeing lust and anything that stimulates lust? Yes, there is. Fleeing things that stimulate lust would be correctly identified as fleeing temptation. Fleeing lusts implies that you have already succumbed to the temptation. You have them; the problem isn’t to stop them from being stimulated the problems is to get rid of them. However addressing temptations is a good place to start.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13 NASB)
We should all be familiar with 1 Cor 10:13. It establishes several truths that we should consider, as they are fundamental to living godly lives.
1.       Everyone is tempted and I’m not the only one that has been tempted in whatever temptation I’m facing at the moment. Some want to claim exemption for their behavior, succumbing to sin, because no one knows the problems they face. They feel that Jesus’ teachings don’t apply to them because He didn’t face the same problems they have. They completely ignore Heb 4:15-16 which tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way and because He was tempted, we can draw near to Him for the grace that is needed to stay away from the temptation or the lusts that are already there.

We often think of grace as that which has saved us through faith (Eph 2:8). The acronym for GRACE is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. While this is true, most of us forget that grace is much more than what appears when we are saved. Grace actually is God working in us to live godly lives. Once we are saved, it continues to train us to get rid of ungodliness, worldly passion, and lusts while helping us live godly lives (Tit 2:11-12).

2.       God is faithful. If we don’t believe that God is faithful, then we won’t believe that He will help us in times of trouble or temptation. It’s as simple as that. Unbelief in God’s faithfulness will result in yielding to temptations and the inability to flee from sin. Each morning when we get up and face a new day with new trials or even the same old trials and temptations, God is faithful because His love and compassion never fail and are renewed every morning (Lam 3:22-23).

3.       God allows temptations to come into our lives but is not the source of our temptations. Our temptations come from our own desires (James 1:14) and they come from the tempter (1 Thess 3:5) who is Satan (Matt 4:3-10). Satan isn’t the primary source of our temptations simply because our own selfish desires are doing a good enough job of keeping us from living godly lives that Satan doesn’t have to bother. Even if our temptation is from Satan, we must remember that God has allowed it. If comes from our sinful nature, the flesh, God has allowed it. Some people use this as an excuse to follow the temptation into sin. They say God made them the way they are, so that means it is OK to do the things that the Bible clearly labels as sin. Not so, as the next points will make evident.

4.       Temptations are never allowed that are beyond our ability to overcome. Now, a word to those who do not have the Holy Spirit living in them, people who are not Christians, who have not yielded their lives to Jesus Christ and repented of their sins. You have no ability to overcome your temptations. The ability we have to overcome temptations is only because of the Holy Spirit living in us (Rom 8:13-15). He gives us all the power we need to overcome temptations. We let temptations fester into sin when we ignore that power or don’t ask for His help to overcome. Temptations and trials come so that we will grow in our faith and in character not because God wants us to follow them into sin (Rom 5:3-5).

5.       God always provides a way of escape from temptations. You have to believe this truth. If you don’t believe what God has said, then you are defeated already. Since He has provided a way out, then we must look for it and take it. This is where we run right back into our desires. If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t take the path provide out of temptation because we really want what the temptation is offering. We can’t blame God if we succumb to sin; we can’t even blame Satan; we have made a choice to ignore the way out because we want the sin more than we want holiness and to please God.

6.       Temptations may stay around for a long time. We are able to endure or stand up under our temptation or trial. Some versions say we may endure and others say we can endure. In English, there is a big difference between permission (may) and able (can). The Greek is dunamai[1] from which comes the word dunamis[2] which means force or miraculous power. Dunamai simply means to be able. It doesn’t matter how long the temptation lasts or how often it returns, we are able to endure it. When we chicken out and say we can’t endure it, then we again show that we don’t believe God. If He says we are able to endure it we should. If we don’t, we have only one person to blame and that is ourselves. We haven’t called on the power of God to enable us. We have looked at this life, the riches of this world that we may lose or some other thing that we desire more than resisting the temptation.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom 13:14 RSV)
I’m still having a problem with fleeing “anything that stimulates” youthful lusts. I thought that Rom 13:14 sounded a lot like this. However when I looked up what it means to make provision, the ideas behind it is to be active in preparing to meet a future need. To do this you have to think about and plan how to do it. If we are to make no provision for the flesh then we can’t have it in mind. What I’m beginning to think is that if we are in or around things that stimulate lust, then we haven’t been faithful in the step before this which is to make no provisions or circumstances can surprise us.
There is always the problem that we may be minding our own business and the temptation presents itself to us without warning. Joseph ran into this when he was working for Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him on more than one occasion but he refused. Joseph was stuck in his position as slave. He couldn’t flee the situation as long as she didn’t do any more than talk to him about it. I’m sure that as a young man, her advances were able to stimulate youthful lusts but he didn’t yield. When it got physical he had to flee even at the cost of unjust accusations.
Youthful
Perhaps Paul had Joseph in mind when he addressed this to Timothy. Timothy was young but was obviously becoming very effective in his ministry. While all lusts and temptations are available to each of us, it is hopeful that as we grow in Christ and wisdom, we will not be as easily tempted by lusts. If we look at some of our fallen Christian leaders in today’s world, it is obvious however, that even older men or women of God can be tempted by sex, power, money, or anything that tempts a young person.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Ps 119:9 ESV)
The bottom line for any of us is to let the Word of God guard our purity. If we are seeking to please God instead of our own lusts or those that the world tells us we need, we will find the answers in the Bible.
Pursue
Paul says that we should pursue positive, godly traits along with other who have a pure heart. Purity of heart can only come after salvation. So if anyone thinks that all the seeking and work to avoid lusts have a goal of salvation, then they have missed the point. All these things can only be pursued after salvation.
I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Phil 3:8-9 NIV)
The way to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace is to become a Christian first. Then we have righteousness from God. We have Jesus’ righteousness imputed to us. From there, we are able to put that righteousness into practice in our lives, to pursue it means is to have our lives look more and more like the reality of the righteousness of Christ that is declared to be ours. The only way to pursue all these virtues is to pursue God since they are all gifts from Him.
Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore! (1 Chron 16:10-11 NKJV)
We can’t really pursue God because the implication is that we are trying to catch or capture Him. We can’t literally seek God because He is spirit and we can’t find a spirit or see a spirit unless he chooses to reveal himself to us. However, this is the concept that comes from the Bible. We are to purse His character in us; His character will be seen in us. We are to seek His strength and others will see Him in us.
It is ironic that many people claim to seek God even though He isn’t far from any of us (Acts 17:22-28). By His grace, He provides life for each of us whether we are good or bad. Yet it is only to a few that He reveals Himself. Many don’t find Him because of the way they seek Him. They are doing it on their own terms; in their misconceptions they believe that any sincere search will lead them to God. In essence, they believe that they can find God because they have good intentions and God will reward them for their search. If this were true they would have the right to boast of their accomplishment when they found God.
However the Bible makes it clear that finding God is not something we can do by ourselves. It is God who gives us the ability to find Him as a gift so that we can’t boast (Eph 2:8-9). Seeking God on our own terms is nothing more than a self-serving form of religious works.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matt 5:8 KJV)
No one can be pure of heart unless God purifies his heart.
Accountability
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Eccl 4:12 NIV)
We aren’t Lone Rangers. In the battle against lusts, the devil, and the world, it is much easier for two or more to stand together and fight. We see many examples in the Bible of two or more accomplishing great things. Jonathan and his armor bearer defeated a small outpost of Philistines killing twenty of them. The result spread even further as the whole Philistine army turned tail and ran allowing a great victory for Israel (1 Sam 14:1-23).
What would our country look like today if we had Christians holding each other accountable to flee from lusts so that whether we are in our families, work, politics, or any other place, we would be examples of holding the truth of God in reverence by living godly lives? What would it look like if we had people going out two by two to share the Gospel with others? It’s pretty scary to try to do it alone.
That is why Paul said to purse all these things along with others. Having someone in your life that can ask you if you have been fleeing lust or caving in helps overcome those sins. When we confess our struggles and failure to others, we can be healed from ungodly lives that result (James 5:16). This confession isn’t a substitute for confessing our sins to God but a means to help us do exactly that. I suppose, if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need to be accountable to other because our accountability to God would be sufficient. However there is encouragement to call on the Lord with other even when we recognize the sufficiency of God.

[1] NT:1410 dunamai (doo'-nam-ahee); of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible:
KJV - be able, can (do,  -not), could, may, might, be possible, be of power. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
[2] NT:1411 dunamis (doo'-nam-is); from NT:1410; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself): (Ibid)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cleaning Pots and Cleaning People – 2 Tim 2:20-21

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (ESV)
Great House
And in him [Christ] you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph 2:22 NIV)
Paul has often declared that we are God’s temple. Preceding this passage in Ephesians, we are called fellow citizens of God’s household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus being the cornerstone of that foundation. When writing to Timothy, Paul’s allegory of a great house isn’t asking us to think simply of some rich person’s house. Every house has a foundation and Paul specified that it is God’s firm foundation in 2 Tim 2:19. Therefore we can discern a kingdom truth as he tells us about the vessels in this great house, God’s kingdom.
How Dirty is Dishonorable?
However, there is a difference between God’s house and an earthly house. The earthly house has really fancy serving dishes as well as chamber pots. We would call them toilets today. There is a significant difference between a gold goblet and a commode. No matter how much we scrubbed and disinfected a chamber pot, there is no way we would use it to serve food or drink. Yuk!
Now look at the comparison that Paul brings out when talking of the vessels in God’s house, the people who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. Essentially, Paul is calling us chamber pots before we repent from our sins. We were dirty, defiled, and dishonorable; we were sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, drunkards, greedy, selfish, swindlers, and much more (1 Cor 6:9-10). But we were washed by the blood of Jesus from all those impurities and justified (1 Cor 6:11). Paul says that we are now cleaned up so much that we are set apart as holy and that makes us useful to God, who is the Master of the house.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isa 59:2 KJV)
Just as we would not even consider eating from a chamber pot, God turns His face away from sinners because we are too contaminated. This is about as bad as it can get. Separated from God with apparently no hope that He will hear anything we say. Note, however, that Isaiah says that He will not hear. It is His choice not to listen because of our sins. He still has the ability to hear us. If He were incapable of hearing because of our sins, there would be no hope for anyone.
Getting Clean
“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor 6:18-7:1 NASU)
The hope and the promise that we have from God is that we will be His sons and daughters. Can you imagine going from a despised, ignored, person to becoming a son or daughter. What a change, what a hope we have because Jesus has paid the debt of our sins for us!
These verses emphasize our part in getting clean. If these were the only verses in the Bible, then we would be left to think that it is by our efforts alone that we are cleansed. So don’t get the wrong idea, we are saved and given the ability to work on holiness because the Holy Spirit does the first washing (Titus 3:5). The word, therefore, in this verse clarifies that the work of perfecting holiness comes after we are sons and daughters, not before.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t regenerate everyone who says they want Jesus. He knows the true intentions of the heart. Only a true, repentant call to God for salvation will be heard by Him. A person in a foxhole who promises to go to church if his life is spared seldom keeps the promise because there is no repentance. Some walk forward at an evangelistic appeal to accept Jesus and are no different months or years later because there was not a call for repentance. These people usually are not seeking God and a holy life; they are looking for fire insurance for themselves.
On the other hand, there are some, who with a child like faith, turn to Jesus and are transformed. They may know little if anything of repentance. As they grow and mature in Christ, they begin to understand what it means to cleans themselves and seek to live holy lives. These learn how to trust Jesus and the power of His resurrection to overcome sin and live godly lives.
Good Work
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NKJV)
A major result in cleaning a pot is so that it will be useful. We are cleansed so that we will be ready to do good works. This further dispels the idea that we can be saved because we’ve been good enough. We are saved so that we can do good works. Apart from Jesus, there isn’t anything good that we can do. Jesus made that abundantly clear when He compared Himself to a vine and us to branches. He said that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:4-5).
I have a friend who is irritated by people who say that they are doing something for Jesus. I get what he’s saying. When some people say this, it comes off like they doing God a favor. However, that is not what most people mean and would be shocked at the suggestion. When I think about being created in Christ Jesus for good works, the emphasis is on Jesus. He has called me so I’m working for Him. I am responding to His call upon my life. As an example, we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). God is making His appeal through us to a lost and dying world to be reconciled to Him.
In summary, we are a great house because we are God’s house. We in this sense would be His Church where there are many different vessels for the Holy Spirit. Each of us is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter what kind of vessel we were before we were saved, we are cleansed upon our salvation. From that point on, with the power of the Holy Spirit we keep on cleaning out the garbage in our lives so that we can be useful.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Correctly Handling the Word of Truth – 2 Tim 2:14-19

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (NIV)
Quarreling about Words
When does standing up for a correct biblical exegesis of a passage turn into quarreling about words?
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (Rom 14:1ESV)
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3 ESV)
It is hard to balance these two commands. Some new believers come to faith in Jesus and bring along some very weird ideas from the world. I remember some of the things I thought about as a new believer. I would speak eloquently about my misunderstanding of God’s omniscience and mature believers would just nod their head and then go back to the passage we were studying. Finally, an older man brought me a copy of Truths that Transform[1] and got me straighten out somewhat. Quarreling with a new believer accomplishes little. Patient instruction works wonders.
Others who have been Christians a long time get distracted by hyper attention to specific passages. They latch on to a verse that either condemns some particular sin or endorses a particular Christian discipline. They are certain that this is the primary reason that the Church is ineffective today. They contend that all we have to do is get back to what the Bible says about this one topic and all of our problems would be solved. Sometimes they take the passage out of context, other times, they are correct in identifying a problem but neglect other problems that are just as serious or maybe even more so. Some can keep harping about it for years. Other eventually move on to another topic but with the same intensity. Quarreling with older believers accomplishes little when they have their mind made up and may even consider that you are suffering from the problem and need to repent.
I hope you will let me know if I do any of this. It is only by God’s grace that we can encourage and redirect these back to the Bible and a balance that only He can provide.
Then there are those who are deadly inaccurate in their exegesis. We must contend with them because their belief will lead other astray. Paul even had to name two people who were doing this. When he says that it ruins people and some have wondered away from the faith, just think of all those who have been excited over predictions of the date of Jesus’ return. Some lose faith. Others turn into cults. Some wise up and get back to the Bible and godly living.
Correctly handling the Word of Truth is characteristic of a good workman. Those who quarrel or are involved with godless chatter usually fail in this area.
Unashamed Workman
Paul says that we need to do our best to present ourselves to God if we want to be unashamed workmen. The King James Version said to study. The key is to be approved by God. It doesn’t really matter if others think we are good workers or not. If God thinks we are, then we can hold our heads high and not be ashamed.
I think a lot about what I write. I often think about how others will react to it. I wonder if it is too stern or sounds if I’m compromising to avoid conflict. Many different things go through my head. But the one that I should be considering above all is God. Does He approve of what I write? One aspect of His approval would certainly be accuracy. I shouldn’t say anything in my writing that is contrary to His Word. That’s where study must be applied.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Col 4:5-6 NASU)
I also have to consider how God wants me to write. If I’m always ticking people off, I need to look at how I say things. If people are ticked off because I’m accurately exposing a sinful lifestyle, it may be exactly what God wants. However if they are ticked because I’ve done it without grace, then I’m the problem.
I look at this verse and see instruction on how to approach my writing. Grace would be always pointing out God’s love and willingness through Jesus’ death on the cross to forgive whatever sin a person has. Salt is making sure that the sin is clear. Salt in a wound causes pain but grace is like an ointment that sooths the pain. Jesus faced the same problem when He dealt with people. He handled it two distinct ways.
Jesus was gracious to the woman at the well. He spoke respectfully to her, but didn’t hesitate to point out her sinful lifestyle. She responded in belief and even brought many others to Jesus (John 4:7-30). The rich young ruler was also gently convicted of sin but didn’t repent (Matt 19:16-20). On the other hand, Jesus also spoke very harshly to those who were hardened in their opposition to Him even calling them a brood of vipers (Matt 12:34, 23:33).
We need wisdom when it comes to our interaction with unbelievers. What we say is just as important as how we day it. There may be time when we need to be blunt but they are probably few and far between.
Godless Chatter
What is godless chatter? Other versions translate it as irreverent babble (ESV), worldly and empty chatter (NASU), profane and idle babblings (NKJV), worthless, foolish talk (NLT), profane and vain babblings (KJV). I don’t think Paul is talking about the weather or why your favorite team is or isn’t in the playoffs. While God is seldom the subject of these things, the context of these verses implies that godless chatter is much more serious than that.
The first reason that it is very serious is that people who indulge in it become more ungodly. If it were only the weather, then they would have to go beyond simply talking about it but developing their theology around it. Perhaps people who say they know that a hurricane is God’s retribution are in this category, but not most people.
The second reason is that their teaching spreads like gangrene. It spreads like dying flesh. People who are simply idle in their conversations aren’t usually teaching anything, much less something that can cause death to someone’s faith.
Third, the example that Paul gives is a specific doctrine about the resurrection that they came up with as they wandered from the truth. It is a doctrine that destroys the faith of others.
I once met a person who claimed that sin and evil in the world was somehow tied to the positive and negative spin of atoms. When he told me his theory, it was at a gathering of Christians for an open house or some other similar function. He wasn’t teaching a course or anything formal. It was just godless chatter at a party. I wonder how many other destructive heresies have started in the same way. I politely questioned him to determine if I had heard correctly then just nodded as he explained it. He admitted he didn’t talk to many people about it because he didn’t want to appear weird. I was thankful that he wasn’t spreading it but I did wonder why he told me. I never heard him speak of it again. However, I can see how a more influential person could start a cult with something like that. That is certainly godless chatter.
I asked a friend what he thought was godless chatter. He was reading a book about the underground church in Romania. He explained that a Romanian who escaped persecution and came to the west was shocked at the western church because we are ignoring the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. That lead me to think about the preaching in many churches.
I picked up a book at the local Christian bookstore to see why so many people thought one of the current popular mega church preachers was so great. I read a few pages and saw encouraging stories of successfully overcoming problems and positive thinking and behavior. Was any of it wrong? No, it was very nice. But it could be construed as godless chatter because there was nothing in the pages that I read that based the positive thinking or overcoming problems on faith in Jesus, study and application of God’s Word, or persevering through trials.
While I can’t say that this teacher is becoming more ungodly, his teaching continues to draw many in and therefore away for a more accurate application of God’s Word that will sustain us through difficult times. Others who teach similar doctrines have eventually succumbed to temptations and fallen from their lofty ministerial positions.
This positive thinking and prosperity teaching is like gangrene because it is spread through the church with TV and books. It spreads well beyond a local congregation. It is like gangrene because it destroys the faith of many. When people try all the positive thinking principles and ignore what the Bible has to say about persevering in trials, they feel cheated or guilty when they don’t get the same results as their mentor. Often, they give up on Christianity all together or withdraw into seclusion, not trusting anyone.
Solid foundation
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10:14 KJV)
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matt 7:15 KJV)
Jesus is depicted in many ways in the Bible. He is the Rock, our Foundation upon which we build if we are working and doing His will. He is the Good Shepherd who guides us. He is the Vine and we are the branches. They all depend on one thing, and that is that Jesus knows us. If He doesn’t know us, then we are nothing other than wolves in sheep’s clothing.
We may say we know the Lord, but the true test is if He knows us. Jesus taught this very clearly. Whether people are trying to get to heaven by their own good deeds and character or by some other means than knowing and being known by Jesus, they will be sorely disappointed when Jesus tells them they can’t enter into eternity with Him (Luke 13:24-28). Jesus gave us many promises so that we can know that He knows us. If we have heard Jesus and believe God sent Him we can be assured that we have eternal life (John 5:24, 1 John 5:13). Jesus promises us that if we love Him, we will keep His Word and proof that we don’t really know Him is disobedience. When we obey and love Jesus, He promised that both He and the Father will come make their home in us (John 14:21-24)!
I talked to a couple of young men the other day. After going through the Four Spiritual Laws[2] with them, they assured me that they knew Jesus and that Jesus was in their hearts. I wasn’t convinced that they knew Jesus or that Jesus knew them. So I asked if the Jesus they had in their hearts was the brother of Satan, a created being. Oh, yes they replied. Satan’s brother lived in them. Where do you think they will be at the judgment? Do you think Jesus, who is God incarnate, not a created being but eternally God, will say He know these two? We have to be careful as false prophets abound.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7 NKJV)
Finally, anyone who claims to know Jesus should be working at living a godly life. Paul says that we need to depart from wickedness. This is an ongoing job, it takes a decision to get moving in the right direction, but it is a process of developing a holy life. In John, the key word is practice. We all sin at times, but the person who has continual sin in his life should re-examine his commitment to Jesus. Does he really know Jesus and does Jesus know him?
We need to remember that this is the second criteria of knowing if your foundation is solid or not. Many people live exemplary lives but fail the first test of knowing Jesus. The two young men I mentioned above had it together outwardly, but since they missed the first test, then the second isn’t going to matter.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Cor 13:5 RSV)
If someone thinks he knows Jesus but is living a sinful life then he has failed both tests because a sinful life is evidence that Jesus doesn’t really know him. If we are to examine ourselves to see if we are standing on God’s firm Foundation, then we need to pass both tests. Thankfully, a life time of failing can be turned around in a moment with true repentance and trust in Jesus for salvation.

[1] Kennedy, D. James. Truths That Transform. Old Tappan, NJ: F. H. Revell, 1974. Print.
[2] Bright, Bill. Four Spiritual Laws: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1965