Basic Bible Studies
Know the Difference 2 Cor 13:5
His Sheep Am I (Psalm 23)
Attitude is Everything
Why Study The Bible?
Basic Rule for Bible study
Small Group Bible Study
It's Time To Grow Up
The Seven I am's
Wrestling with God
Prayer Changes Things Pt 1
Prayer Changes Things Part 2
2 Timothy 3:16
Know the Difference 2 Cor 13:5
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Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? II Corinthians 13:5
This verse commands us to compare the characteristics of our lives with the characteristics of the Christian life to see if we are "in the faith" or not.

II Corinthians 13 does not explain what the test is. What is the test?

"But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. "Hebrews 6:9

Aren't the "things that accompany salvation" the characteristics which indicate salvation, the characteristics by which one may examine one's life to test salvation.

Everyone should have the opportunity to examine, for themselves; from the word of God, "the things that accompany salvation". Have you had the opportunity to examine for yourself from Scripture the differences between a believer and an unbeliever?

I want to present a biblical outline of six categorical differences between a believer and an unbeliever. Before I do may I ask you a question? How many church members (in your opinion) could tell you three clear differences, with scripture, between a believer and an unbeliever? Please think before you answer because this is an important question. In your opinion would a majority or a minority of church members be able to clearly state, from scripture, three definite, categorical, definable differences between a believer and an unbeliever? Can you?

If a Christian cannot, should they be able to? If they should, then I believe this study will meet a need.

"If we are commanded to "test ourselves" then scripture must explain how to fulfill the command. Scripture gives about six definite, categorical differences between a believer and a nonbeliever.

God desires to write His signature across our world with the indelible ink of changed lives. It is wonderful to examine our lives by Scripture and rejoice over what God has done in us. Every believer should know what "the things that accompany salvation" are. This study can be completed in less than an hour. At the end of this study you will know the differences, from the Word of God, between a believer and an unbeliever.

Please refer to Romans 8:5-16 (Printed for you from the New American Standard Bible on page 4 of this study)
1. Please read Romans 8:5-16 several times.
2. Circle the words "flesh" and "spirit" every time they are used in this passage. God divides all of humanity into two classes. What are the names used in this passage for the two classes God divides all of humanity into? If you don't know please read the passage again and underline every use of the words "according to".1
3. To understand why we are different when we are born again examine verse 9. What is the key element believers have and unbelievers don't? (Especially see the use of the word "if" in this verse.)
Believers have the
______________________, unbelievers do not.2

Difference #1:
A different mind.

4. Draw a box around every use of the word "mind" in verses 5-8.
The difference here is the mind. How would you expect a "mind according to the flesh" to be different from one "according to the spirit"? How would you use this to test your faith? How would you use this to identify the "things that accompany salvation"?
What would you expect a "mind set on the flesh" to approve of, or enjoy watching on TV? How would a "mind set on the Spirit" do things differently? Record your answers on the chart on page five.

Difference #2:
A different will.

What is the attitude (in verse 7) of the unbeliever toward God's law? See I John 5:1-3; what is the attitude of the believer toward God's law?
Record your answers on the chart on page five and describe behaviors that would indicate God's laws being burdensome, and some that would indicate God's laws not being burdensome.

Difference #3:
A different power over sin.

4. Underline the words "for if" and "but if" in verse 13. Verse thirteen tells of a different relationship with sin.
A. What would you expect a person "living according to the flesh" to live like?
B. What would you expect to observe in a person's life who "was putting to death the deeds of the body"? Record your answers on the chart on page five.
C. Notice the source of power to "put to death the deeds of the body". What answer do you have for the church member who claims, "I am unable to turn away from homosexuality." or "I can't quit ..."? Is the life and death of verse thirlteen different from the life and death in verse six? In what way?
Differences 4, 5, 6
5. From verse fourteen, what does the believer receive from God that the unbeliever does not? God does lead through the conscience He put within us all but in what way does He lead believers that he does not lead unbelievers?

Difference #4: A different relationship with Scripture

I Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
6. From I Corinthians 2:14 above what is meant by a "natural man"? How would a "natural man" tend to feel about the truths of the Bible?
I Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God,
7. From I Corinthians 2:12 above, how may a believer understand God's word? Based on these verses would you expect a believer to enjoy reading the Word of God? Where are you now in your Bible reading? Do you read the Bible daily or are there days (or weeks) when your Bible stays closed? Record your answers on the chart on page six.

Difference #5
A different discipline

8. Hebrews 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
A. What does the author mean by "illegitimate children"? This verse indicates that a believer cannot sin and not be disciplined by God.
How would you expect a believer to feel when he/she sins?
Read I Corinthians 5:1-5. What was the sin being committed? From verse five, if this person were to die would they go to heaven? If you say no, what does it mean for their spirit to be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Also notice I Corinthians 11:30-32 what is the purpose of this discipline according to verse 32? Notice the words "in order that".

Difference #6
A different relationship with God

9. Verse 16 seems to indicate that we know that we know God. Verse 15 describes our relationship with God like that of a child that cries "Daddy" in confidence, knowing "Daddy" will respond. If you were to die tonight, are you absolutely certain you would go to heaven?
Use the chart on pages five and six to record the different behaviors of the two groups. Results don't have to be precise, just record what you might expect.

I sat with a member of my Sunday school in his living room. We had briefly examined, from the Bible, these differences.

I shared with him that his answers seemed to indicate either immature Christianity or unbelief. I told him honestly I couldn't tell which.

I suggested to him that his need was to commit his life whole heartedly to Jesus Christ. At that, this long term church member moved from his chair to his knees. From then on we enjoyed a closer friendship. I believe he became a believer that night.

I wonder how many more in our churches could be won to Christ in this way? I wonder how many of our problem people need a compassionate guided tour of the differences between believers and unbelievers, and then exhorted to evidence Christian behavior.

This is also a wonderful study to share with another person, informally, one on one; right from scripture. Pick someone "warm" toward Christ to share it with the first time. Then you'll be better prepared to share it with someone who "really needs it".

Romans 8:5-16 NASB
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

I enjoy the opportunity to share this study with others, churches, home studies, etc.

I covet your prayers for me and God's anointing on my labors; especially in the equipping of saints into believer to believer ministry.

Let me know what you think of this study and how I can pray for you.

Mike Walker
515 Loblolly Dr.
Anderson, SC 29625