Much of the Corinthian correspondence was spent answering the accusations of Paul’s detractors. These opposers casted shade and doubt on the credentials of Paul’s Apostleship. As this undermined the ministry of the gospel, Paul had little choice but to devote much effort to prove his credentials.
However, while the Corinthians were clamouring for Paul to prove that Christ was speaking through him, they should have also examined themselves and proved that Christ was similarly working through them. Were they truly servants of Christ? If so, had they been faithful to the vocation which God had called them to?
Interestingly, the terms “examine” and “prove” are both words of testing. They speak about how an object is put under serious examination to prove its authenticity. Thus, the Apostle Paul called the Corinthians to prove the genuineness of their faith: “whether ye be in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5). A genuine faith should be a living faith whereby the fruit of the Spirit should be visible. Thus, James declared in his epistle, “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20). Paul similarly exhorted in Philippians 2:12 that Christians should “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
The term “reprobate” in these verses can also be rendered “unapproved.” Paul was assured that when his ministry was put under honest scrutiny, it would stand approved before God and man. The Corinthian Christians should also be diligent to ensure that their conduct and service before the Lord was also approved (2 Cor 13:7). When they proved themselves spiritually strong, Paul would also be more than happy to desist from any show of strong authority (2 Cor 13:9). He would rather not wield the rod but to rejoice in the presence of the Corinthians.
It is every Christian’s responsibility to prove himself before the Lord. How about you?
THOUGHT: Is my conduct approved before the Lord?
PRAYER: Father, keep me true to Thee by Thy grace.