Friday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:19—13:13 (NKJV)
12:19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. 20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.
13:1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives 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 as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you.
St Paul is quite adamant that the Corinthian congregation as the Bride of Christ begin to start reflecting the light of Jesus Christ in their lives.
Paul has received even more bad reports from Titus who had been sent to help with the collections of the gifts for the believers in Jerusalem. Their complacency has left them with hearts filled with contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, and tumults.
And so Paul challenges them saying, it’s time to test yourselves to see if you are in the faith or not…test yourselves. Praying that repentance takes place Paul is urging the Corinthians to seriously ask themselves as to whether they believe in God or not; that is to examine themselves according to the Ten Commandments, see if the mirror of the Law has their reflection in it as guilty; ask whether you believe that Christ is still in you? Paul writes these strong words in order that God’s Name might be glorified in having worked true repentance in the hearts of the Corinthians, that they might live the life of good works for which Christ had saved them.
Just as it is the will and the work of St Paul to be about preaching the law in all its sternness, and the Gospel in all its sweetness, so is the desire of every faithful Pastor still today to preach only with the same authority of God’s Word for Christ’s sake…never for destruction, but that the congregation might be ready for the Bridegroom to return as a chaste Virgin.