This will be the third time I’ve visited you. In law, the facts of every case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. As I gave you a warning during my second visit, I must now warn those people who did wrong, and everyone else, that I won’t spare them the next time. And this will serve as the proof you’ve been asking for – that Christ is speaking through me.
Christ doesn’t show weakness when he deals with you – you know very well that he works powerfully among you. He was crucified in weakness, it’s true, but now he lives by the power of God. We are weak, too, but when dealing with you, we also shall be made alive – with Christ – by the power of God.
Examine yourselves, therefore, to see if you’re in the faith. Take a good look at yourselves. Don’t you know that Jesus Christ is in you? If he isn’t, you’ve failed the test. And I trust that you will discover that we haven’t failed the test.
Now our prayer is that you won’t do what’s wrong – not because we want to seem successful, but because we want you to do what’s right – even though we may appear to have failed. For we can’t do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We’re glad when we’re weak but you’re strong, and it’s our prayer that you’ll grow more mature. That’s why I’m writing to you in advance, so I won’t have to deal severely with you on arrival. I want to use the authority the Lord’s given me to build you up, not to tear you down.
My dear brothers and sisters, I’d like to finish with a final thought: rejoice! Continue to grow in maturity, encourage one another, live in harmony and peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with the warmest affection. And all God’s people here send you their greetings, too.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen