2 Corinthians 11-13
Throwing Down the Gauntlet
As with the days of the knights, Paul is taking off the gloves and throwing down the gauntlet. Within these final chapters (11-13), Paul directly confronted the major issues of the letter, false teaching, defending his authority and spiritual immaturity.
In chapter 11, Paul began by reemphasizing the need for believers to focus purely on God and to not be swayed by false doctrines and teachers. This was the idea of the “pure bride” (v.2-3). Ironically, in viewing our own time we are still confronted with this as recently as yesterday. A pastor persuaded many people to believe that May 21, 2011 at 6:00p.m., the rapture was to take place. There were many who spoke out against this prediction based on biblically truth. Matthew 24:26-44 is Jesus, “THE AUTHORITY”, telling the disciples the end of time is not for man to know but to be watchful and live accordingly. We must be as alert to false teachings, as Paul was back then. From (11:11-15) Paul made known that as Satan disguises himself, so shall his servants. So remain vigilant.
In continuing our reading, Paul begins to layout his credentials for his authority to preach. He laid out several factors that distinguished him from the rest, such as: diligent hard work, imprisonment, physical torture, a stoning, several shipwrecks and long journeys with constant endangerment. Paul informed the Corinthians that he was not boasting about his own efforts but rather how God had sustained him through these trials and his weaknesses. The apostle went further as he noted how God spoke to him is his moments of physical affliction. Paul informed the believers, that God made known that His grace is all we need and that His power works best in our weakness (v.12:8-10). What a glorious thing to hold on to day by day.
In concluding today’s reading, Paul desired for the Corinthians to understand that he passionately cared about them. He wanted them to know he was not weak in comparison to other speakers but diligently chased after them, because he was invested in their maturity towards following Christ. Paul warned them that on his next visit he would openly deal with those who did not heed his corrections. To end, Paul illustrated the behaviors we should display towards others who are falling into deception: stand strong in your faith, rely on God’s grace, be vigilant to deceivers and perform redirections firmly but with love. Paul made a key point in (v. 13:10), that we should remember. A mature believer would rather use God’s truth to build/strengthen fellow believers as opposed to tearing them down.