When addressing the Church in Corinth during a time when their observance of Passover had become lax, the Apostle Paul admonished them to examine themselves [to test, try, to be approved]. They were to consider deeply in order to make the necessary changes to be ready to take the Passover in a reverent manner.
Today we accept the admonition as personal encouragement to prepare to take the Passover meaningfully. As Paul went on to say, another way of viewing this is to judge ourselves. It involves introspection and spiritual adjustment. Of course, this should not be a once-a-year event but provides a strong reminder of an important aspect of our godly lives.
This reveals to us one of God’s great attributes.
Passover is the memorial of Christ’s death. And through His death, we receive forgiveness of sin. God extended His favor to us by sending His Son to die in our stead. When we were called, what did we have to do in order to come into a reconciled relationship with the Father? We had to repent. “… Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins …” (Acts 2:38). Repentance precedes the remission of sins. “… and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached …” (Luke 24:47).
This is the New Testament version of the role of the prophets. They were sent by God with a message and warning for Israel to repent. And with each prophet’s message, God allowed time for the people to respond and bring forth the fruit of repentance.
God’s mercy toward us humans means that He always allows time for repentance.
“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40).
If we have a genuine desire to search out and examine our ways for any leaven that may have accumulated over the past year, God will help us see what we need to see. The Holy Spirit will help us in our weaknesses. God searches our hearts, and the Spirit will help us see what He sees. (2 Corinthians 13:5).
We examine ourselves in order to prepare our minds for renewing the covenant we made at baptism. Part of that covenant was our commitment to overcoming and putting sin out of our lives. It is a vital process in our relationship with the Father. “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:4).
God has granted us time to repent. Are we using God’s mercy and the time He has given us?