1This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established 2by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
3I warned 4those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that 5if I come again I will not spare them--
since you seek proof that Christ 6is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but 7is powerful among you.
For 8he was crucified in weakness, but 9lives by the power of God. For 10we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you 11we will live with him by the power of God.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. 12Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that 13Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
But we pray to God that you may not do wrong--not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.
For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
For we are glad when 14we are weak and you are strong. Your 15restoration is what we pray for.
For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come 16I may not have to be 17severe in my use of 18the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.