2 Corinthians 13:4-5 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 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. (NKJV)
Seventeen times in the New Testament you come across the phrase “do you not know?”. Those four words carry with them all sorts of possible implications and unspoken commentary:
- You should know this!
- I can’t believe you don’t know this!
- Are you kidding me, you should know better!
- I know you know, but you’re choosing to ignore…
- Good grief, how many times do I have to tell you…
- I’m concerned, you need to know…
- You better listen up…
- Ignore this at your own risk…
We looked at the first nine in part one. Today we look at the second half of the list:
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)
This is the kind of verse that really should get people’s attention (but often does not)! Here is God Himself inspiring a list of behaviors that will keep you out of heaven. From the context, and from what we know about salvation in the rest of Scripture, this is the idea of those who choose these lifestyles over God; people who purposely and without repentance engage in these things. Why is that important? Because as Christians we don’t have to live under the bondage that if we commit one of these sins that we have forfeited heaven (neither should we take that as a license for cheap grace, Romans 6:15).
However, the very fact that these things are declared to keep a person out of heaven SHOULD sufficiently scare us and convince us NOT to play around with any of them because it is OBVIOUS how much God dislikes them.
What is curious, is that for most of this list, people say, “This stuff is bad. You shouldn’t do it, and God won’t let you into heaven.” Then other parts of it get the “excuse” or “God really doesn’t mean that” treatment. It’s pretty shameful that Christians will say, “yeah, you homosexuals better beware! There is it in black and white” even while they have no such reaction to their own immorality or covetous materialism. On the other hand, it is just as embarrassingly hypocritical for the homosexual to declare, “the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality. God made me this way” when Scriptures like this could not be more plain and clear.
We ignore such clear warnings at our own peril: “Hey! Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not go to heaven. In case you don’t get it, here’s a list of some sins God wants you to know will keep you from eternal life….”
- 1 Cor 6:15-16, 19 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”… Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Sexual immorality (lust, fornication, adultery, etc) is of such that God warns us over and over and over about it. Given our sex-saturated world, I believe that we are going to be SHOCKED at how desensitized we have actually become towards sexuality when it is revealed on Judgment Day. Paul constantly reminds us that sexual immorality is a special consideration because it involves taking the temple of God (your body) and joining it with a harlot, adulteress or sexual deviant when we engage in sexual immorality.
Sexual immorality in a way, is like asking the Holy Spirit to have to take part in sexual sin.
Of course, the Spirit Himself doesn’t actually do this, but because He dwells in us, we are in a sense asking Him to be a part of what we do. So when we sin, we are, in a very real sense, asking Him, “hey, why don’t you join me in some sexual immorality? Since you have to live here in me, I’m going to drag you along while I sin.”
Now, I mean no disrespect or to be TOO casual about the Holy Spirit but from OUR perspective, this is exactly what we are doing. Paul’s reminder is saying just that, “HEY! Don’t you realize that your body is a part of Christ? Are you going to make parts of Christ a part of sexual sin? You better not!” How shameful to take something that is the property of God, the member of Jesus Christ, and make it one with sexual immorality. You remember that, and I’ll remember that, next time we are tempted to look at, think about or engage in sexual sin, be it the actual acts, or the mental exercise.
Three times in four verses Paul uses this phrase “do you not know” to get our attention. He is obviously saying, if there is ANYTHING we better know, it had better be this.
- 1 Cor 9:13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
Well that’s nice. Huh? What in the world is Paul talking about? He is defending his right to receive financial support for his life of ministry work and yet, in order to avoid the appearance of “preaching for money”, he and Barnabas worked full time and made their own income. Throughout chapter 9, this is the topic that Paul is clarifying. He defends his right to have support for his ministry work.
There are A LOT of hucksters, charlatans, false teachers and money-grubbing preachers today who do indeed preach for the purpose of material gain. The television and the Internet are especially fertile ground for these shameful snakes. The very fact that they are so wealthy is testament to the LACK of discernment in Christianity today.
As Christians, we need to 1) learn to discern the difference between those who are indeed “working” as ministers of God and deserve our support just like any worker deserves; and 2) not neglect those who are truly deserving as we sadly see today with so many missionaries and truly sacrificial ministries going ignored and unsupported financially, despite their faithful service day after day.
- 1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
Didn’t you know that even though all the runners compete, only one wins? Of you know that. So what is Paul teaching us? Is he saying that only one person is going to be saved? Why is he making sure we think about this concept?
Paul is saying that as a Christian, our level of effort, sincerity, devotion and exertion should be comparable to what we would put out in order to be THE winner of a race. Think about it. If you were a serious athlete, you wouldn’t compete in a race with a ho-hum attitude, just cruising along in your comfort zone satisfied with whatever place you finished. NO! As a serious competitor, you would be putting forth the very finest and serious effort you possibly could. You would train, improve, work out and discipline yourself.
At race time, you would have the utmost concentration, focus and only one goal: WIN! That is the mentality we are to have in our Christian walk. We are to consider ourselves spiritual athletes of the highest caliber, engaged in Heavenly Olympics, all seeking to be THE WINNER of the prize of our high calling in Jesus Christ! The next time you feel lazy, disinterested, bored, discouraged or weary… just remember that we are in the middle of a race for eternity, and there is no time or place for anything accept running this race to WIN!
- 2 Cor 13:5 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.
This verse is PACKED with good stuff. There’s four or five lengthy lessons in one sentence. Examine yourselves. Look at your life. Evaluate your walk in Christ. Why? To make sure you really are saved. This flies in the face of our casual, easy-believe-ism of today. Oh, it doesn’t mean you can earn heaven but it does mean that salvation is not cheap or casual.
Test yourself. Prove it to yourself that your faith is real. How? Read 1st John. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless you are disqualified…. disqualified? What does that mean? It means “disapproved”; it means a fake Christianity, the absence of genuine saving faith.
In these verses, Paul is specifically talking about those who are accusing him. After giving his rock solid defense, he turns the table, and in love tells them, “hey, you better take a look at yourself. Based on your behavior, there’s a real question about whether or not you are really Christians”. This was not done with animosity but with a genuine concern. Again, read 1st John to start with where you will find many “tests”. You can then see whether or not your life demonstrates genuine Christianity.
- James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
James isn’t talking about sexual immorality here. He is using the metaphor of adultery to compare what worldliness is to God. Being a Christian and being worldly is like a spouse who is unfaithful. We are “married” to Christ, and when we choose the way of the world, it’s like committing adultery spiritually. What is this worldliness he speaks of?
Worldliness is an innate and deep longing to have, participate in and enjoy the things that the rest of the world (non-Believers) enjoy. The world is the domain of the enemies of God. To enjoy it, long for and seek it is to seek the same thing that those who hate God seek. It’s a matter of loyalty and family.
Sometimes, either unspoken or subconsciously, we have this idea that we have “one shot” at life and so we better make our money, get our big house, experience all we can… while there is still time. How foolish! This life is but a blink and vapor in time (James 4:14). We will have all eternity in a new heavens and earth (Rev 21:1) to experience the fulness of life in such a way that it is unimaginable to us now.
Does that mean we are not supposed to enjoy life now? Heavens, no! (no pun intended) Everything we have that is good is a blessing from God (James 1:17) and He takes pleasure in giving us the goodness of this life. What James is saying is that seeking out and obtaining what the world offers is wrong when we do it as if God didn’t exist, as if we only have one chance, as if it were the most important thing and in such a way that declares our love for materialistic things over God. We can enjoy what God gives us but we should be seeking God, not the things around us.
I hope when you see “do you not know” in Scripture, it will scream out to you, “STOP! you should know this!“.
Lord God, Help us to know Your whole Word but where You have specifically pointed out something we should know, that we will make a special effort to pay attention. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: As sinful humans, we often act as if we don’t know something that we either should know, or that we know and aren’t paying attention to. When the Bible stops and asks “do you not know?” it is in essence saying, “you better know this, and you better start getting in line with it”. I know that’s not the nice King James way of saying it. When you see in the Bible “do you not know?” then pay attention because you can bet it is something you need to be aware of.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?