Paul makes his authority clear in this chapter as he
indicates that he will judge the Corinthians’ sin when he comes to visit them
again. He references the need for two or three witnesses required by Jewish law
(Deuteronomy 17:6). The sin in the Corinthian church was serious and Paul was
going to handle it with the formal gravity it required.(v.1)
The Corinthians have been calling Paul’s authority into
question, and so he is responding by preparing to judge with the authority of
Christ, adding that he “will not spare anyone”.(v.2)
Paul was being accused of being weak and inconsistent in his
teaching. God is often accused of being unable or uncaring when it comes to the
sin and injustice in the world. But these accusations should not be voiced
without careful consideration. Just like Paul’s third visit, God has appointed
a time to judge all evil and injustice. If we wish to criticize God for not
wiping out evil, we should ask ourselves if we’re prepared for him to begin at
our doorstep. The Corinthians did not ask this question of themselves and were
in danger of judgment as a result.(v.3)
Paul compared his weak appearance to Christ, who appeared
very weak in his death, but demonstrated his true power in his
resurrection.(v.4) Looking at Paul’s life, we can see that following Christ is
not a glamorous journey. But in the final analysis it is what we were genuinely
made for and where we will find ultimate fulfillment. A life for Christ is
lived in a kind of weakness that results in eternal security and strength.
Paul asks those in the Corinthian church to examine
themselves to see if they are “in the faith”.(v.5) In other words, did they
really believe in the message of the Gospel and were they living their lives in
response and conformity to that truth?
Christ is in those who genuinely believe and are letting
their lives be transformed in response to the truth. Paul wanted the
Corinthians to correct their harmful thinking and behavior before he came, and
to see that Christ was genuinely in him and his teaching. (v.5-6)
Paul did not want to have to discipline anyone. So he
pleaded with them to evaluate themselves. In the same way, we should regularly
evaluate our ideas, priorities and actions so that we can correct our course
and avoid the discipline that God does not want to have to give.
Next Week- Finishing Up 2nd Corinthians!
Coffee House Question- What qualities have you seen in Paul
in this letter that you have admired?