The great burden of God’s faithful representatives is that the Gospel they preach may be honored, however their persons may be vilified. Their heavenly commission is verified through the lives of those in whom Christ is living with power, having believed in Christ through their ministry. Let us examine ourselves whether we be in the faith.
II Corinthians 13
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.
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.
¶ The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.
II Corinthians 13:1-7 – J. Vernon McGee
II Corinthians 13:8-14 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Corinthians 13:1-6 – “Prove Your Own Selves”
Once more Paul refers to the charge that his ministry was characterized by weakness. This deeply wounded him. He admitted that in his personal appearance and speech he might be all that his enemies averred, but he contended that weakness did not count when married to the divine. Was not Christ weak when He was crucified? yet through that cross He has exerted His mighty saving power upon myriads! Through the weakness of death He passed to the right hand of power and bestowed the Pentecostal gift. Suppose, then, that the servant shared the weakness of his Lord, might not the divine power work through his poor, weak nature as through the Lord Himself? Let us not always be dwelling on our weakness and limitations; did not the divine fire tremble around the poor shrub of the wilderness?
Paul goes on to urge the Corinthians to prove—that is, to test—themselves by reminding them that unless they are reprobate, the Lord Jesus is truly and literally dwelling within them. This is the fundamental fact in a holy life. When we open our hearts, He enters, and becomes in us the Life of His life and the Light of all our seeing. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Corinthians 13:7-14 – How to Be Built Up
None can really injure the truth or stop its victorious progress. As well try to stop the sunrise. We often help others most in our weakness, because then we rely most on the Spirit of God. It is the noblest end of life to build up others through our own expenditure, even to the draining of our strength and resources. The world is apt at destruction; and indeed not much art is required for pulling down. But the divine work is to build; we have God’s authority for that.
The valedictory address is very touching. Be perfect, II Corinthians 13:11. God desires to set us as a skilful surgeon sets a dislocated limb. Let Him do it; let the Comforter comfort; let love and peace enter with the Holy Dove; and see that the inner atmosphere does not hinder the gracious healing work of the Spirit of God.
Note the threefold benediction, which maintains the doctrine of the Trinity, II Corinthians 13:14. The love of the Father is the fountain of all; the grace of the Lord Jesus is the channel for all; while the communion of the Holy Spirit brings us into partnership with the aims and resources of God. The salutation of the saints and the divine benediction are the worthy close of this noble letter. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Corinthians 13:14—The Communion of the Holy Ghost.
How often these words are uttered without any real appreciation of their depth of meaning! The word communion signifies having in common. It is used of our fellowship with one another (I Corinthians 10:16) and with God (I John 1:3). The bond of such fellowship is always through the Holy Spirit. As the ocean unites all lands, and is the medium through which they are able to exchange commodities, so does the blessed Spirit unite the Persons of the Blessed Trinity to each other, and us to them, and secures that oneness for which our Savior prayed.
How wonderful it is to have the privilege of this Divine fellowship! That we need never be alone again; that we can at any moment turn to Him for advice and direction; that we may draw on his resources for the supply of every need; that it is impossible to exhaust or even tax his willingness to counsel and succour; that there is no kind of service or suffering into which He is not prepared to enter with us! Surely, if we would but give ourselves time to realize this marvellous fact, there would be no room for the despondency which at times threatens to deprive us of heart and hope.
Of course, we must be very careful of the tender sensibilities and holy disposition of our divine Confederate. We cannot ruthlessly grieve Him by our harshness or impurity at one moment, and turn to Him for his succor and direction at the next. Such divine union as lies within our reach certainly demands on our part watchfulness, a tender conscience, a yielded and pliant will, a heart which has no other love, no affection nor idol inconsistent with the Spirit’s fellowship. —Our Daily Homily