II Corinthians 13

Verse 1 - This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

This is apparently the third epistle Paul writes to the Corinthian church. Many people will rebel at this thought because there is only first and second Corinthians. It must be remembered that the division of chapters and verses was made by the King James translators, and were not in the original texts, or the versions of the Bible before the 1611 King James Bible. I believe it is more important to let the Bible speak for itself rather than take the word of people who write about the Bible. Let us simply believe what the Bible states.

It looks like this third book was written by Paul because there was some rebellion against what Paul had written in the second book, and very possibly in the first book. People that are in rebellion against God will be in rebellion with the people of God, and especially the prophets and preachers of God. Rebellious people do not like to hear that they are rebellious, or that they are doing anything wrong.

Verse 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:

Paul is not backing off his previous statements, or the “threat” of telling these rebellious people to their face about their sin. Those that haven’t sinned have nothing to dread, but those that are in rebellion to God’s clear commandments have everything to fear.

It is good that Paul is taking this stand, but I am very much afraid there are those living in Corinth that are not taking a stand like Paul. The rebellious people are still in attendance at the church at Corinth. They are causing much confusion by their rebellion. There are, no doubt, those weak and trusting souls who will follow their rebellion to their own destruction. This is very bad. It would be much better if the membership of the church at Corinth would take their own stand for the truth, and let these rebellious people know they are going to follow God and will not back off the truth for anybody. It would cause some problems in the church, and some people will leave, but in the long run, the church will be much better off for it all. One of the major problems facing churches today is that the local people will not take a stand for the truth if they must stand against friends, family, or neighbors. There seems to be little regard for God if there is any opposition. If everybody goes along with a certain thing, then it is easy for the majority to agree. What is happening is that instead of the truth ruling, the majority is ruling. Therefore, truth is lowered to the lowest possible level, and the thinking of the majority has replaced truth.

Verse 3 - Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.

There were some at Corinth who didn’t believe that God was speaking through Paul. This is very understandable because the ones who didn’t believe Paul also didn’t believe God. This is nothing new, and nothing to panic because of. This happened to all the prophets, and to Christ. It should come as no surprise that it happened to Paul, or that it will happen to us, if we stand for God’s truth.

Paul states that his speech was not weak, even though there were some who considered his speech weak. His words was mighty in the Holy Ghost. But the person who rebels against God has already rebelled against the Holy Spirit and his leadership. They have refused already to read, much lest heed the written word of God in the Old Testament. They have no reason whatsoever for listening to a preacher!

It is very amazing to read Paul’s reply to this accusation in the next two verses!

Verse 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.

Paul is stating the proof of his apostle-ship and inspiration by comparing himself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is not stating that Christ was weak spiritually, but that he was weak because he carried with him the human nature. Christ must needs have a human nature, because he came to take the place of humans and to die for them. Paul also has a human nature, just like his readers. The words of Christ, and the words of Paul are not physical, or related to the human nature. They are spiritual words, and should be heard with the spiritual ear. Jesus said in John 6:63, It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. This is what Paul is saying. His words are spiritual, they are intended for spiritual food. The natural mind is at enmity to the spirituality of the Word of God, Romans 8:7. If people rebel against what Paul has written, they are in reality not rebelling against Paul, but against the Holy Spirit and His leadership.

Verse 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?

In light of the previous scriptures, there is no wonder that Paul wrote this verse. Each person must examine their own selves, whether or not they be reprobates. If they don’t accept the Word of God, they are reprobates.

It is very interesting that Paul didn’t tell any of the Corinthians church members to examine somebody else to see whether or not they were in the faith. Each person is to examine their own selves.

Verse 6 - But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

If a person honestly examines their own selves, and they find they do have a spiritual desire to understand the obey the word of God, they will come to the conclusion that they are not reprobate. This will lead them to the conclusion that Paul is not a reprobate, because he has told them the Word of God.

Sometimes the Word of God hurts us, and causes us to be grieved because of our sinfulness and rebellion against God. But the Word of God also causes us to fully understand the mind of God and how our mind is exactly the opposite of God’s mind. There ought to be grief because of our sinfulness, and not compromise, or overlooking of sins.

Verse 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.

Paul prays that the church at Corinth will continue without sin. He doesn’t want them to just agree with him. He wants to them to agree with God even if he is a reprobate.

Verse 8 - For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

The truth doesn’t change, regardless of who agrees with it or who disagrees with it. Paul is a very important man as far as the ministry of God on this earth is concerned, but if Paul disagrees with the truth, the truth isn’t changed. If Paul agrees with the truth, truth still isn’t changed. There could be, and probably is, people that aren’t important at all in the general scheme of things. But if that person agrees with the truth, this doesn’t change the truth. If this small person disagrees with the truth, the truth still isn’t changed. Truth never changes.

Verse 9 - For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.

This sounds like a very strange statement indeed. Most of the time, we are glad when we are strong and others are weak. Our philosophy is that we will be able to help others when they are weak and we are strong, besides that we will get the glory for helping them.

Paul’s philosophy is much more pure than ours, however. He doesn’t mind being weak, because he knows that God’s strength will overcome any weakness he has. Paul understands that his “…strength is made perfect in weakness…” II Cor. 12:9. Paul said in verse 10 of that same chapter, “…when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Paul doesn’t mind the people not depending on him, because then they will be depending on Christ. This is the desire of Paul’s heart. He doesn’t want the people at Corinth to remain babes in Christ, just barely being able to fend for themselves, and always needing somebody to feed them milk. He wants them to grow up in Christ, to be full grown Christian, able to defend the faith. Paul understands that he will soon die, or be in another field of service, and won’t be there to hand feed them everything. Paul prays continually for their maturity, and isn’t one bit jealous of them attaining that condition.

Verse 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.

The reason Paul writes as he does is because he is absent and not present. If he were present, he would speak the more harshly to them. He doesn’t desire than any be destroyed because of the truth, but rather that all be edified.

Verse 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.

Paul leaves the Corinthians with some good thoughts. His desire for them is to receive God’s blessings upon them. In order to receive God’s blessings they are obligated to perform the works of God.

Be perfect. The word perfect doesn’t mean to be without sin, as some people believe they must live without sin. Saved people retain the sinful nature. Paul declared that he had much trouble in the flesh, Romans chapter 6 and chapter 7. The word “perfect” means “to be complete” or “to restore”. The saved person will always have sin in their nature, but they can still be complete in Christ. The saved person will continually have problems in their natural bodies, but with their spirits, they can fully serve God. Paul admonishes the Corinthians to be “joined together” or “restored” to each other in Christian love and comfort.

Be of good comfort. The word “comfort” means to “draw near” or “to invoke”, or “to beseech”. The meaning is that saved people ought to draw near to God, and to one another, to invoke one another as God invokes them, to beseech one another as God beseeches them. When this is done, there will be a soothing in the time of affliction. When the saved person knows and understands that God, and saved friends are with them, there will be much easing of the spiritual, mental, and physical burden of troubles. There is solace from God and men in the time of grief or fear. There is help, not only spiritual help that only comes from God, there is physical and spiritual help that comes from saved friends.

Be of one mind. Saved people ought to believe and practice the same thing. There will be some variations, but these variations will be very small. All saved people read the same Bible and get their information from the same place. All saved people pray to the same God, who tells them all the same thing. There just shouldn’t be much variation in faith and practice. Paul isn’t saying that all saved people will be exactly the same because there will be variations because of personality and background, but mostly their thinking processes will be the same.

Live in peace. Saved people ought to live in peace with other saved people. They should also live in peace with those that are lost. They should also live in peace with their enemies. Living in peace is what the world yearns for, yet cannot obtain. When people who are in rebellion with God see the peace of God’s children, it is a witness to them that God is real and that there is a better life.

The God of love and peace shall be with you. The result of doing all of the above is to receive the blessings and peace of God. I should note that God is always with a saved person, but if that saved person doesn’t live the way God wants him to live, he will not receive the blessings of God. It should be remembered that God is with a saved person when they are being chastened! Many people want the blessings of God, but they do not do those things that allow them to receive the blessings of God. Many saved people play around with sin and sinful things, and wonder why God doesn’t give them His great blessings.

Verse 12 - Greet one another with an holy kiss.

To greet the saints of God with a kiss today would be considered by many as a sin. With as many homosexuals running around today, this could be viewed as a hindrance. But it is never a hindrance to greet fellow saints of God. In this day and age, a few man embrace when they meet, but most shake hands. I have been in some churches where people wouldn’t greet fellow church members when they entered the church building. Some of these people would simply enter the church building, sit themselves in their favorite pew and sit there until somebody came along to shake their hands. These people didn’t think it was necessary to greet anybody, but were often the first to get offended if somebody didn’t greet them.

Verse 13 - All the saints salute you.

Saved people are interested in other saved people. There is a mutual desire for the welfare of others. These people may live in different places, but their destiny is the same. Their shared interest is Christ, and He joins them together perfectly.

Verse 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.

Paul’s continual prayer for all the people of God is that they partake of the greatness of God’s blessings. Paul desired that all of God’s children have these things, that none be lacking.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God brings salvation to all the elect. Yet the grace of God doesn’t end there. Saved people must continually have the grace of God to live before Him in the right way. Saved people are unable to achieve Godliness without Him. We are saved without works on our part, and we live without works on our part. The saved will cast their crowns before God, declaring, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Everything the saved have that is good and honorable to God, He has freely given us to have. All glory belongs to God.

The love of God. There is a love that is natural to mankind, but the love of God is greater. There is a fellowship of believers that the world finds impossible to achieve. The love of God is higher, greater, bolder, truer, and lives longer that any other love.

The communion of the Holy Ghost. The communication of the Holy Ghost is in prayer and Bible reading. There was a time of transition when the Holy Spirit gave gifts to the apostles and others so they could testify of the transition from God working through the Jews to God working through his local churches, which at the beginning was composed of only Jews, then Jews and Gentiles, and now practically all Gentiles. The gifts given to the apostles ended when the apostles died, and the Bible was complete. There remains a special communication of the Holy Spirit as a saved person reads his Bible and prays to God. The Bible is God’s own holy Word, and the natural man, using his natural mind, cannot understand spiritual things. But the Holy Spirit of God is well able to give understanding to the simple. When the saved person reads God’s holy Word, he understands God’s Word, not through his own intelligence, but as the Holy Spirit gives him understanding. The natural man cannot pray to God and “get through”. Yet when this same saved man prays, the Holy Spirit of God takes the desire of his heart and presents those desires to God with yearnings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26,27 reads, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”