This week we reach the end of the book of 2nd Corinthians. After seeing God at work in Paul through his infirmity, Paul now endeavours to prepare his ‘children in the faith’, those who he led to the Lord, to receive him more as a loving father than a disciplining apostle.
As we read earlier in 2nd Corinthians, Paul worked to earn enough to support himself well in Corinth so as not to be a burden on them financially, nor to add to the accusation of being there to fleece the flock. He reminds them in 2 Corinthians 12:14 that his reason for coming to them a third time isn’t for financial support, but for their own benefit spiritually. We see how much Paul deeply cares for them as a church body and in their own spiritual walk (2 Corinthians 12:20-21), so much so that he’s willing to take off his parenting hat and put on his pastors hat (2 Corinthians 13:2) and demonstrate his love through discipline. This is so important for us to understand – a healthy church is one which is well disciplined. And discipline is an act of love, not hate or pride. This is so often misunderstood, as Paul knows well. In 2 Corinthians 12:15 he tells us the more abundantly he loves the Corinthians, the less he is loved. Paul uses the end of this epistle to prepare them for his coming by using his love and also Godly fear to prepare their hearts and minds and to be united as the body of Christ.