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Further Warning


This is the third time I am coming to you. “Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” 2I warned those who sinned previously and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again, I will not be lenient— 3since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! 6I hope you will find out that we have not failed. 7But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect. 10So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

Final Greetings and Benediction

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

3. Since ye seek a proof A twofold meaning may be drawn from these words. The first is, “Since you wish to try me, whether I speak of myself, or whether Christ speaks by me;and in this way Chrysostom, and Ambrose, explain it. I am rather inclined, however, to understand him as declaring, that it does not so much concern himself as Christ, when his authority is detracted from — that when his admonitions are despised, Christ’s patience is tried. “It is Christ that speaks by me; when therefore, you bring my doctrine under your lash, it is not so much to me as to him that you do injury.”

Some one, however, will object thus: “What! Will a man’s doctrine, then, be exempted from all investigation, so soon as he makes it his boast, that he has Christ as his authority? And what false prophet will not make this his boast? What distinction, then, will there be between truth and falsehood, and what will, in that case, become of that injunction:

Try the spirits, whether they are of God.” (1 John 4:1.)

Every objection of this nature Paul anticipates, when he says that Christ has wrought efficaciously in them by his ministry. For these two clauses, Christ speaking in me, and, who is mighty in you, not weak, must be read in connection, in this sense: “Christ, by exercising his power towards you in my doctrine, has declared that he spoke by my mouth, so that you have no excuse on the ground of ignorance.”

We see, that he does not merely boast in words, but proves in reality that Christ speaks in him, and he convinces the Corinthians, before requiring them to give him credit. Whoever, then, will speak in the Church, whatever be the title that he claims for himself, it will be allowable to inquire as to his doctrine, until Christ has manifested himself in him, and thus it will not be of Christ that judgment will be formed, but of the man. When, however, it is apparent, that it is the word of God that is advanced, what Paul says holds good — that it is God himself who is not believed 947947     Que si on ne la recoit, cest oster a Dieu son authorite;” — “That if this is not received, that is to take from God the authority, which belongs to him.” Moses spake with the same confidence. (Numbers 16:11.)

What are we — I and Aaron? You are tempting God.

In like manner, Isaiah:

Is it too small a thing that you grieve men,
unless you grieve my God also? (Isaiah 7:13.)

For there is no more room for shuffling, when it has been made apparent, that it is a minister of God that speaks, and that he discharges his office faithfully. I return to Paul. As the confirmation of his ministry had been so decided among the Corinthians, inasmuch as the Lord had shown himself openly, it is not to be wondered, if he takes it so much amiss, that he meets with resistance. On good grounds, truly, 948948     Tant y a qu’il auoit bonne occasion et droict;” — “To such an extent had he good occasion and right.” might he throw back upon them, as he does, the reproach, that they were rebels against Christ.

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