Key Verse: “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
—II John 8
AS WE CONSIDER THE words of our Key Verse, they bring to mind how careful we must be in our narrow way journey. Looking at the Scriptures, we have many reminders of the need to examine ourselves. Paul says, “Let a man examine himself,” and “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” (I Cor. 11:28; II Cor. 13:5) The need to closely examine ourselves is based on the fact that, by nature, we fall under the condition described in the Word of God—“There is none righteous, no, not one.”—Rom. 3:10
We have also been assured, however, that “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:18) Having such sincere sorrow for sin, and placing our faith in the precious blood of Jesus, allows us to stand whole before God. With joy we claim the words, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Isa. 61:10) God thus covers our unwilling, Adamic imperfections by means of Christ’s “robe of righteousness.”
As we consider this provision of God’s grace, we are to remember that our continuation in this standing is not of our own strength, but in that which God supplies through the precious promises of his Word, and through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit in our life. Indeed, the moment that we may begin to feel self-confident is a dangerous one. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”—I Cor. 10:12
As footstep followers of the Lord, we are to examine our hearts daily to see that everything in our life is centered on doing the will of God. When we examine and judge our heart condition, we are specifically to be looking at our motives, will, and intentions. Our goal should be that which the psalmist wrote, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14) Nothing short of heart purity is acceptable to God.
In our lesson, the thought is expressed that there is a possibility of falling away from God’s grace. (II John 8,9) We should be aware of those who “abideth not in the doctrine of Christ,” including ourselves. Such soberness of mind and heart is emphasized in these words from Paul: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1) Our greatest safety is in the vivid realization of our own helplessness and dependence upon God’s mercy and favor.
Jesus tells us, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” He also said concerning himself, “I do nothing of myself.” (John 15:5; 8:28) Therefore, let us rely on the assistance of God and his son, Jesus, at all times, and remember the words, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them.” (I Tim. 4:16) If we do these things faithfully “unto death,” we will hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”—Rev. 2:10; Matt. 25:21