The test of true discipleship
1Now that I am coming to you for the third time, “at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be established.” (Deut xix. 15) 2I tell you beforehand, and although still absent, I tell you as plainly as I would have told you had I come that second time, as I at first intended but spared you — 3I tell those who then sinned and the others as well that I will not again spare you. You seek, it seems, some proof and ground in me for the presence of the spiritual Christ and his word. He indeed is mighty towards you, and not weak. Though I be weak, yet is he not weak, but is mighty in your midst. 4For though he were crucified in weakness, yet in the might and power of God he lives, and though I have been weak in his weakness, yet shall I too live with him in the might of God, and show forth that might to you. Therefore, O my brethren, see to it whether ye be in the faith or no! 5Examine yourselves on that point, and be thoroughly persuaded in your own minds that Jesus Christ is in you. Or else beware lest your discipleship be found at last unproved, empty, hollow. 6I believe that you all know that my own discipleship has not been of that kind, that you all will know it shortly when I come to you with deeds, not words. 7Yet I pray God that I may do nothing harsh to any of you, but that you yourselves may do what is good, and I continue, if necessary, to incur the charge of being without any proofs of my apostleship. 8For all that I do, I can but do because it is the truth, and the action of truth. If it were not, we should have no power. 9Therefore so long as you are healthy and sound, so long as your perfection approaches, and your power stands, I care not, Corinthians, if I be weak, if I be considered reprobate. 10Therefore I write this beforehand, that you may take action yourselves before I come, that I may not need to use a cutting and a cleaving sword towards those wrongs when I come, but may use the authority which the Lord has given me, for building up, and not for pulling down.
11Farewell, brethren, work for your perfection, be of a good courage, have one mind amongst you, be at peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
12Greet one another with a kiss of peace. 13All the saints greet you.
14The grace which comes on each several one of you from the Christ, and the infinite love of God which embraces all, and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with you.