Paul’s Authority

Q. Re: 2 Corinthians 13:1-10. I hope all is well and could you please explain what Paul meant by “I will not spare them– since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me.”…. and…. “that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.”

What exactly was Paul able to do in his authority? And do we also have this authority in Christ as Paul did? And how severe could he be with this authority? I realize that in part it has to do with the people sinning, but it appears that Paul has reached the boiling point of “no more grace for you, now it’s the power of God time”. This passage for some odd reason reminds me of Clark Kent turning into Superman!

A. The Corinthian church had been attacked by teachers of gnosticism who had seriously undermined Paul’s work there (2 Cor. 11:4 & 13-15). Many who were not really believers had been influenced by this teaching and were bringing the ways of the world back into the body. Paul was warning them to examine themselves, because his discernment would not fail in determining who were the Lord’s and who were not. He could expose those who were following the lie, but he would much prefer to use his spiritual gifts to build the body up than to tear it down.

Some have been given gifts similar to Paul’s and can immediately discern false teaching from the truth, and even impure motives from pure. But unlike those of Paul’s day, all of us have God’s printed word, and can easily compare what we hear with what we can read. We should not be so easily led astray like they were.

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