Paul’s Warning to Examine Yourselves
Verse 1 – This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.
This quote is from Deuteronomy 19:15 – the testimony of two or three witnesses established a pattern for verifying the truth of accusation. Jesus reaffirmed this in Matthew 18:16 as a principle for church discipline. If the Corinthians sinners did not repent before Paul got there, he would expose the evildoers.
Verse 2 – I have told you before, and foretold as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare –
Verse 3 – since you seek a proof of Christ speaking to me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.
The Corinthians had called in question Paul’s authority. Paul was about to show them by whose authority if they did not repent before he got there.
Verse 4 – 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.
Verse 5 – Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.
Should we not examine ourselves – spiritual check-up, to see if we truly are who we say we are? Are we taking steps to grow closer to God? You have to be a true believer yourself in order to know an impostor.
Verse 6 – But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.
Verse 7 – Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.
Profession of faith and possession of faith are two different matters. There is assurance of those who are in Christ: (1) believing the truth about Jesus Christ, (2) living according to Christ’s commands, (3) and the love test – love for God and all those in God’s family. We will show this love in how we treat others.
Verse 8 – For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
Verse 9 – For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.
Verse 10 – Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.
Paul’s intention was to build up the body of believers, not tear them down.
Verse 11 – Finally, brethren farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Verse 12 – Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Verse 13 – All the saints greet you.
Verse 14 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Love means that sometimes we have to confront those we care about. Paul cared deeply for the Corinthians, enough to correct them. Too often, people don’t want to confront because they know how the other person is going to react. Why can’t people just admit when they have wronged another? Christians should do so without having to be told by another to do so. We are to confront in love, wanting to restore, not destroy!