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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.

8. For we can do nothing: That is — “I do not seek, or desire any other power, than what the Lord has conferred upon me, that I may promote the truth. To false Apostles it is all one, provided they have power; and they feel no concern to make use of their power for the promotion of what is good.” In short, he defends and maintains the honor of his ministry, in so far as it is connected with the truth of God. “What does it matter to me? For unless I have in view to promote the truth, all the power that I shall claim will be false and groundless. If, however, I lay out, whatever I have, for the promotion of the truth, I, in that case, do not consult my own interest. Now, when the authority of doctrine is safe, and truth is uninjured, I have what I desire. In contending, therefore, so keenly, I am not influenced by any exclusive regard for myself personally.” By this consideration, however, he intimates, that the man, who fights and labors for the truth alone will not take it amiss, should occasion require it, to be regarded in the judgment of men as a reprobate, provided this does not interfere with the glory of God, the edification of the Church, and the authority of sound doctrine.

This passage must be carefully observed, because it limits the power, which the Pastors of the Church should have, and fixes its proper bounds — that they be ministers of the truth. Papists loudly tell us, that it is said,

He that heareth you, heareth me;
he that despiseth you, despiseth me, (Luke 10:16);

and likewise:

Obey them that are set over you, (Hebrews 13:17);

and under this pretext they take to themselves the utmost liberty, so as to usurp unbounded dominion, while they are, at the same time, the avowed and sworn enemies of the truth, and aim at its destruction by every means in their power. For exposing such impudence, this one statement of Paul will suffice — which declares, that they must themselves be in subjection to the truth. 962962     Qu’il faut que ceux qui ont le gouernement en l’Eglise, seruent la verite;” — “That it is necessary that those, who have the government of the Church, be subject to the truth.”

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