Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians
Spiritual Self-Examination is Necessary
2 Corinthians 13:5 – 14
04 December 2016
Paul did not give up on the Corinthians. Even though the church as a whole had repented, he was not naive to think they had all turned to God. Concerned ultimately for their salvation, Paul urges them to examine their spiritual health.
Genuine Christianity is challenged (v. 5 - 6). Paul asks the Corinthians to "see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" This is a call for the believer to seek evidence if they are saved, not a call to judge others' salvation. Saving faith is not merely intellectual assent (Jas. 2:19), but a turning around of the whole person. To this end, he reminds the Corinthians of his example to them, and asks them to see if they have been transformed also.
Genuine salvation should be our prayer and goal (v. 7 - 10). Paul was not focused on earthly goals such as finances or a career, but the centre of his life was to "do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth." He also prays for the Corinthians to be made strong in Christ, so that the next time he visits, he might be joyful seeing their growth instead of having to discipline them. The truth of Christ must never be restrained in our lives, for it is the truth that sets us free (Jn. 8:32).
Genuine love for one another will be displayed (v. 11 - 13). Paul commands them to "rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of peace will be with you." As a church, they were to live in true unity, loving one another, and living out Jesus Christ. This also is a command for us today.
How did the Corinthians respond to Paul's letter? The Bible doesn't tell us. Nevertheless, the question for us is, 'how will we respond?'