2 Corinthians, 13
I will visit you again soon
1: This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2: I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 3: Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4: For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth 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. 5: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6: But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 7: Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 8: For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9: For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. 10: Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
Farewell & Blessing
11: Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12: Greet one another with an holy kiss. 13: All the saints salute you. 14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
Lastly Paul says that when he comes to Corinth again this will be the third time that he will have come to them. He also says that everything he says will be confirmed by two or three witnesses. (In the Law every word had to be conformed by two or better three witnesses. This is why Christ sent the Apostles out in pairs and this is why Paul went out with a partner in the gospel.) He says l have mentioned this before and now l tell you this before l arrive, as if l were already with you. He says, l am writing to those who have sinned and to everyone else that if he comes to Corinth in a Spirit of judgment then he will be unsparing in his apostolic authority. He says because you have sought proof of ministry in the name of Christ, which you think is weak in me, yet is will be powerful toward you. When Christ died he died in weakness but in resurrection life he demonstrates the almighty power of God. And we are weak in Christ, but we shall demonstrate the power of God toward you. So examine yourselves carefully as to whether you are in the faith. Prove your standing before God to yourselves. Don’t you know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you have already turned away from Christ having failed the test of holiness. My prayer to God is that you no nothing that is evil. Not just to be seen by men but seen as honest before God. We do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. We are glad when we are weak and you are strong and we want you to go on to ‘perfection’ i.e. complete salvation in Christ. (This in part is the same message as the Letter to the Hebrews, where the writer addresses those who attend the ministry of the Word but who are not saved yet, which the writer calls ‘perfection’) It is for this reason that l have written this letter to you, because if l were present l might use sharpness in my ministry to you. This would be according to the power of the Lord which he has given me both to strengthen you believers in the faith and not the destruction of the ungodly in judgment. (The Apostles especially when dealing with the Jews used apostolic miracles, (which were Messianic signs to Israel,) of power to heal and to make sick or even to die those who hear the Gospel. This was in accord with the Old Covenant which promised life and health to those who feared God but cursed those who rejected God with sickness and death. Paul didn’t want to come to Corinth to decimate the congregation in the Power of the Lord) Lastly he says, I bid you to fare well. Be complete, Be cheered in the Lord, Be united in heart, Live in peace with one another and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other with a kiss of holiness. All the saints here send their respects. May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all – Amen.