Big idea: Our salvation is secure, not through our weakness, but Christ's power.
Throughout this letter, Paul has been defending his apostleship. He has offered two basic arguments for his cause: his own suffering for Christ's sake and the lives of the Corinthians as evidence of his ministry. As he concludes the letter, he announces the third visit to Corinth, where he will be firm to those who doubted his authority because they misunderstood his weakness. Once again, he reminds them of Christ's voluntary weakness on the cross, overcome by the power of His resurrection. Those who are in Christ know how to be weak and how to be strong. With this, he returns to the other argument. Since he had planted their church, doubting his ministry was really doubting themselves.
He challenges them: "Examine yourselves! See whether you are truly in the faith." Clearly, he assumes they are (although there is no guarantee that everyone who claims to know Christ does). But even this argument circles back to the paradox of weakness which has held this entire letter together. If you are in the faith, it is not your power which has kept you there, but the strength of Christ who lives in you. If you look at your heart and your life and see the evidence of salvation, that is not something which you drummed up by good looks and charm. No, it is the gift of God! You have it because Jesus made Himself weak so you could be strong. Look at yourself, Paul chides them. If you see who you are and why then you will recognize there is no room for pride.
His words carry through directly to us. When we are confronted by the authority of God against sins of commission and omission in our lives, we realize how weak we are. We can never sustain our own walk with God. Rather, our salvation is secure because Christ is in us. That is the message of 2 Corinthians.
Discussion idea: What do you think Paul means when he tells us to examine whether we are in the faith? Would it be possible to do that if we could not know for sure we are saved?
Prayer focus: Thank you, Lord, for coming to die for me, rising again for me, saving me, and keeping me. Let your power live through me to lead others to You.