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 praying that he and his colleagues will be humbled by seeing the Corinthians so well behaved that he will not need to rebuke them.
Christians are often accused by those outside the Church that we are hypocrites, because we are still sinners. Our Lord never promised that we would stop sinning. As long as we bear this flesh we will continue to sin. Our Lord Jesus promised that He would remove the sting of death from us by His own death and give to us the rewards that He won—forgiveness, life, and salvation. However, even though our sins are not credited to us, that does not give us a license to do whatever our evil wills desire.
The joy referred to here by St. Paul will come when the Corinthians mend their ways and stop living as they did before they came to the faith. At that point it will be possible for them to mature in faith. Faith is increased as we come through trials, temptations, and tribulations. But even before we mend our ways and mature in faith, there will be the consolation of the promises expressed in the Gospel, enabling us to abandon the pleasures of the present life in favor of hope for world to come.
We pray: Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please Thee; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.