For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 2 Corinthians 13:8

Authority to build up, not tear down.

The exposition of new covenant ministry closes with a warning Paul has appealed and not ordered.  But he does speak with authority!  The Corinthians have demanded “proof that Christ is speaking” through Paul.  If the members of this church refuse to respond and continue sinning, they will not be spared when Paul returns.

But what can Paul do?  What he has always done.  In this as in other aspects of his ministry, Paul will not rely on the sanctions or the manipulations used by worldly leaders to force conformity.  No, Paul explains that Christ “is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you” (3).  Paul possesses truth through him.  Therefore, the Lord himself, “powerful among you,” will vindicate Paul’s spiritual authority and act to discipline those who refuse to respond!  Just as Paul relies on Christ in the heart to motivate obedience, so also Paul relies on Christ in the heart to disciple his own people.

3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.

Paul’s farewells are brief.  “Aim at perfection,” he urges.  “Listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you” (11).

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *