This is the third time I am coming to visit you. As the Scriptures say, "The facts of every case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." a2
I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that this next time I will not spare them.
I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak in his dealings with you; he is a mighty power among you.
Although he died on the cross in weakness, he now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in him and have God's power -- the power we use in dealing with you.
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, b it means you have failed the test.
I hope you recognize that we have passed the test and are approved by God.
We pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. We pray this, not to show that our ministry to you has been successful, but because we want you to do right even if we ourselves seem to have failed.
Our responsibility is never to oppose the truth, but to stand for the truth at all times.
We are glad to be weak, if you are really strong. What we pray for is your restoration to maturity.
I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won't need to deal harshly with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to build you up, not to tear you down.
Dear brothers and sisters, c I close my letter with these last words: Rejoice. Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet each other in Christian love. d All the Christians here send you their greetings.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. e14
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Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)