Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.
Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that
we have not failed the test.
2 Cor. 13:5-6
Paul, at times, seems to have a love-hate relationship with the church at Corinth. He was mightily used of God to establish this church, and he continued to have a fatherly relationship with them through the years. He reminds them in his letters of how great their salvation is and how he longs to be with them. At the same time, he also corrects their squabbling, backbiting and unloving use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the last section of his 2nd letter to Corinth, he begins a scathing rebuke of this church that has begun to follow so-called ‘Super Apostles’ who were all show and little substance. Many of the people began to question the validity of Paul’s ministry because he wasn’t wowing them with miraculous signs and wonders. They had basically put him on trial and asked him to defend himself to them.
In chapter 13, Paul turns the tables on the Corinthians and says that they need to examine themselves first. He gives them the real litmus test. Were they really in the faith? Was Jesus not only someone they knew about, but also the one who was in them by the power of the Holy Spirit? You see, that was the evidence that really mattered, Christ in them the hope of glory.
In the process of taking this self-exam, it should become clear to those who were truly converted, that God used Paul’s ministry to perform the greatest miracle of all; the preaching of the Gospel. That preaching, when anointed by the Holy Spirit, convicts mankind of sin and causes him to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That, my friends, is what’s going to count for all eternity.
Paul finishes his letter in such a fatherly manner and this is my prayer for you: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.