There has been a whole lot of talk about strength in the Corinthian correspondence this past month. Strong leaders, strong reasoning and speaking skills, a strong tolerance for sin (though too strong for Paul’s liking), a strong sense of grace (again, too strong), strong pocketbooks, strong charisma and gifting, strong leaders, strong egos, and strong boasts. Corinth was a culture of strength, and so was this church.
We have already seen Paul say there are other strengths to have that are far more important. They need a strong sense of unity that bridges the many divides they have allowed to form in their church. They need a strong love towards each other shown through character, not spiritual gifts. They need a strong spirit of generosity so as to help those who have real need in the world. Today, Paul ends these two volumes with one more kind of true strength the Corinthians should be sure to have in a culture that seems hyper-focused on strength. They would do well to be strong in doing the right thing.
Test yourselves to see if you really are in the faith! Put yourselves through the examination. Or don’t you realize that Jesus the Messiah is in you? — unless, that is, you’ve failed the test. I hope you will discover that we didn’t fail the test. But we pray to God that you will never, ever do anything wrong; not so that we can be shown up as having passed the test, but so that you will do what is right. (13:7)