November 3, 2019, 2 Corinthians 13:1-11 – Post 2

What is Paul’s overarching concern as he gives these closing words to the church at Corinth?

He does mention his authority as an apostle. If you skim back over previous remarks in the letter you will see that has been under attack. But to my reading while that is still on his mind, it is not his primary worry.

Let me share some things I notice.

Paul writes –

Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?
We pray to God that you may not do anything wrong.
This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect.
Put things in order,

Being “in Christ” is phrase encountered a number of times in Paul’s letters. And if they are “in Christ” and “Jesus Christ is in you,” then he pleads with them to see the path they are on.

Is isn’t just to do a few things “right.” It is to “become perfect,” and “to put things in order.” To live as we are called to live as one who belongs in the family of Jesus, as a disciple of Jesus, as one brought to the Kingdom of God.

That word, “perfect.” Too much? I don’t think Paul is setting up a standard that is impossible for us. I think he is calling us toward being all we can be “in Christ.” I recall Jesus calling us to “perfection” Does it help to hear it as a call to maturity. A call to living more and more as a citizen of the Kingdom of God? And does it help to know you are not alone. You are “in Christ.”


agree with one another, live in peace

I suspect Paul is not simply telling us, “get along with each other.” I suspect he is reminding us we live in community with one another. Just as we are “in Christ,” we are also “in community” with one another. We are there to stand with each other and support each other on the walk to maturity.


Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves.

And he asks us to take his warnings, his instruction, his encouragement not just as words to be heard and forgotten, but as a means to “examine” ourselves and notice the places we are already on the path to maturity and the places we need to correct steps that are not on the path to maturity.

Have I been fair with the words of Paul? How do you read him?

We’ll talk more later.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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