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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.

5. Try yourselves. He confirms, what he had stated previously — that Christ’s power showed itself openly in his ministry. For he makes them the judges of this matter, provided they descend, as it were, into themselves, and acknowledge what they had received from him. In the first place, as there is but one Christ, it must be of necessity, that the same Christ must dwell alike in minister and people. Now, dwelling in the people, how will he deny himself in the minister. 955955     En la personne du Ministre;” — “In the person of the Minister.” Farther, he had shown his power in Paul’s preaching, in such a manner that it could be no longer doubtful or obscure to the Corinthians, if they were not altogether stupid. 956956     “Du tout stupides et abbrutis;” — “Altogether stupid and besotted.” For, whence had they faith? whence had they Christ? whence, in fine, had they every thing? It is with good reason, therefore, that they are called to look into themselves, that they may discover there, what they despise as a thing unknown. Then only has a minister a true and well grounded assurance for the approbation of his doctrine, when he can appeal to the consciences of those whom he has taught, that, if they have any thing of Christ, and of sincere piety, they may be constrained to acknowledge his fidelity. We are now in possession of Paul’s object.

This passage, however, is deserving of particular observation on two accounts. For, in the first place, it shows the relation, 957957     La relation et correspondance mutuelle;” — “The relation and mutual correspondence.” which subsists between the faith of the people, and the preaching of the minister — that the one is the mother, that produces and brings forth, and the other is the daughter, that ought not to forget her origin. 958958     Que ne doit point oublier le lieu d’ou elle a prins la naissance;” — “Which ought not to forget the place, from which she has taken her birth.” In the second place, it serves to prove the assurance of faith, as to which the Sorbonnic sophists have made us stagger, nay more, have altogether rooted out from the minds of men. They charge with rashness all that are persuaded that they are the members of Christ, and have Him remaining in them, for they bid us be satisfied with a “moral conjecture,” 959959     See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 112. as they call it — that is, with a mere opinion 960960     D’vne opinion et vn cuider;” — “With an opinion and an imagination.” — The Rhemish Translators, when commenting on this very passage, take occasion to oppose the idea of the attainableness of assurance of faith. “The Heretiques,” say they, “argue hereupon, that every one may know himself certainly to be in grace; where the Apostle speaketh expressly and onely of faith, the act whereof a man may know and feele to be in himself, because it is an act of understanding, though he cannot be assured that he hath his sinnes remitted, and that he is in all pointes in a state of grace and salvation; because euery man that is of the Catholike faith is not alwaies of good life and agreeable thereunto, nor the acts of our will so subject to understanding, that we can knowe certainely whether we be good or euill.” Dr. Fulke, in his Refutation of the errors of the Rhemish Doctors, (Loud. 1601,) p. 584, after furnishing suitable replies to the arguments thus advanced, concludes by remarking, that “our certeintie dependeth not upon our will or workes, but upon the promise of God through faith, that Christ is in us, and we in him, therefore we shall not misse of the performance of his promises.” — Ed. so that our consciences remain constantly in suspense, and in a state of perplexity. But what does Paul say here? He declares, that all are reprobates, who doubt whether they profess Christ and are a part of His body. Let us, therefore, reckon that alone to be right faith, which leads us to repose in safety in the favor of God, with no wavering opinion, but with a firm and steadfast assurance.

Unless by any means you are reprobates. He gives them in a manner their choice, whether they would rather be reprobates, than give due testimony to his ministry; for he leaves them no alternative, but either to show respect to his Apostleship, or to allow that they are reprobates. For, unquestionably, their faith had been founded upon his doctrine, and they had no other Christ, than they had received from him, and no other gospel than what they had embraced, as delivered to them by him, so that it were vain for them to attempt to separate any part of their salvation from his praise.

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