2 Corinthians 13:1–6 (NKJV)
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.” 2 I have told you before, and foretell 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—3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 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.2 Corinthians 13:1-6
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.
Paul offers a message of warning and correction to the church at Corinth in this passage. He speaks of his upcoming third visit to them and informs them that a hearing will take place. He intimates this by the instruction from the Pentateuch that all things must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. He states that he will not spare (feelings or individuals) when he comes, even though he had hoped not to bring grief to them at his next visit. Paul lets the offenders know that if they are looking for strength from Paul, they will experience strength at this next visit. Just as Jesus was crucified in weakness yet rose in power, Paul will live by the power of God when he comes to them the third time. This ominous pronouncement could seem as light as a threat or as serious as a war. Paul intends to stamp out the rebellion, lies, and division that exist in Corinth and restore order to this beloved church.
With this warning and these instructions, Paul also encourages them to stop and experience a pensive moment of reflection. He says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” He affirms–in no uncertain terms–that he and his companions are definitely in the faith and will not be disqualified. He longs for the Christians at Corinth to qualify as trues disciples of Christ as well, for their own good and the good of their eternal souls. Paul has laid down the gauntlet and challenged those who have committed offense in the church to make things right with God and men. They may still face the consequences of their unholy actions when Paul arrives, but at least their souls will be spared. His love for the church and his concern for their souls will not allow him to wink at their sinful ways, but he is giving them an opportunity to repent and act in accordance with his teachings and God’s word. If they turn from their wickedness, they will be saved. Turn your errant Christian brothers and sisters from their wicked ways and you will preserve their souls.
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