This will be my third visit to you.1 "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses."a22
I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent:3 On my return I will not spare4 those who sinned earlier5 or any of the others,
since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me.6 He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness,7 yet he lives by God's power.8 Likewise, we are weak9 in him, yet by God's power we will live with him10 to serve you.
Examine yourselves11 to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.12 Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you13--unless, of course, you fail the test?
And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.
For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
We are glad whenever we are weak14 but you are strong;15 and our prayer is for your perfection.1610
This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh17 in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.18