Every child who has taken a long trip in the family car knows the fear of hearing a parent say, “Don’t make me come back there!” In the closing chapter of this book, the apostle issues a similar warning to the Corinthians. He planned to visit Corinth again to hold the church accountable for its behavior. The apostle signaled the sober nature of this visit by using the language of Deuteronomy 19:15, which required that two witnesses verify any accusation of wrongdoing. This may be figurative, implying that Paul’s two previous visits were enough to make the church culpable for its behavior. However, it is clear that Paul intended to discipline those who ignored his reproof (v. 2). His use of the future tense suggests that the apostle planned to bring accusations and lay out the evidence against his opponents.
Paul’s warning about Christ’s power was not an exaggeration. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he spoke of handing one of the church’s erring members “over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (1 Cor. 5:5). The apostle also revealed that God had disciplined the church through illness and death for observing the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:27–32).
By urging the Corinthians to test themselves to see if they are “in the faith,” Paul implied that the so-called super-apostles who have been attempting to turn the church against him were not true Christians (2 Cor. 13:5). This warning sheds light on what it means to be a Christian. When you come to Christ in faith, Christ is also “in you.” But there is more involved here than an experience. There is also allegiance. A key element of the test of faith is adherence to the truth (v. 8).
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Thank You, hallowed Father, for making us the children of God, the siblings of Christ, and the temples of the Holy Spirit. We glorify You for Your mercy, power, and holiness. Make us ever more like You.