2 Corinthians 13

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.

It seems as if the people in the Corinthian church were making all sorts of accusations against each other, and Paul wanted them to verify things instead of just assuming that whatever people said was true.

2 I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest {as well,} that if I come again I will not spare {anyone,}

3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.

It seems as if the people in the Corinthian church were resisting Paul’s authority, and considering their relationship with Christ as strong as Paul’s. Paul wanted them to understand that he would not tolerate unrepentant sinners in the church.

4 For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God {directed} toward you.

Jesus was crucified because of our sin. God raised Him from the dead because Jesus didn’t sin even once.

5 Test yourselves {to see} if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?

6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.

Paul is talking to those who were believers at one point in time. After all, it is pointless to ask people who never believed at all to test themselves to see if they are in the faith. Therefore, these people must have put their faith in Christ at one point in time.

There is no need to test for something if you already know the result. There is also no need to test for something if you know that the test cannot fail. Now if it was not possible for the Corinthian believers to stop being believers then it would be pointless for Paul to ask them to test themselves to see if they are in the faith. Therefore, it must be possible for a believer to stop being saved.

Further, if continued faith was irrelevant to salvation then there is no point in asking someone to test himself to see if he is still in the faith. Therefore, continued faith must be necessary for salvation.

Finally, if it was God’s responsibility to keep a believer in faith then there would be no need to test a known believer to see if he was still in the faith. To do so would be to cast doubt on the integrity of God. Therefore, we can also conclude that God is not responsible for keeping a person in faith.

Each of us must test ourselves periodically, and examine ourselves, to see whether we are in the faith.

7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved.

8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but {only} for the truth.

Paul prayed that they would do no wrong, not because he wanted to look good, but that they may be blessed in doing what is right.

9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.

Paul wanted them to understand that he always had their best in mind. Even if Paul was lacking in things, he wanted them to not lack anything and be complete.

10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I {need} not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

Paul explains the purpose of his letter – to get them to fix things before he arrives so that when he is with them he won’t have to be tough on them in person.

11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Paul gives them some final exhortations.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

13 All the saints greet you.

Paul and his team greets them.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Paul ends his letter wishing them the grace of God and His love, and His fellowship.


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