Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is a letter of teaching and correction. While his words may be regarded as harsh, they are written because of Paul’s love for these people, and his desire to see them flourish as a Church Body for the Glory of God. At the close of his letter, Paul reveals his hopes for the Church in Corinth.
He desires that the people grow in their faith. The Corinthians should not remain stagnant in their faith, but constantly be at work practicing it. It is important for us to live this way too. Until either Jesus returns to us or calls us home to be with Him, there is no point at which we can say of our faith, “I’ve arrived, I’m perfect now, I know enough about God.” Even the most mature Christians have a lot to learn and can be drawn even nearer to God than they have ever been before. In any close relationship we share with someone, we are always able to grow even closer to that person. The same is true in our relationship with God.
Paul also wants the Church to remember his teachings to them. Remember, his second letter to the Corinthians in particular is written to correct the Church. Sometimes, these types of teachings are not easy to listen to or to implement. Many times, it is easier to be offended by such teachings. But they are so important to our spiritual development and, when given by a trusted source and in-line with the Bible, should be carefully considered. We benefit much from teachings of encouragement, but most times even more so from teachings of correction. Teachings of correction strengthen us and refine us in our faith.
Lastly, Paul desires that the Church is united, of the same mind. He has written to the Church as a whole in order that they would learn and grow together as a Body, not just as individuals. In fact, while Paul’s hopes for the Church’s maturity and strengthening can be applied to the individuals within the Church, they are such only because the spiritual maturity that each person experiences affects the Church Body as a whole. The Church is grown by the Truth of Christ, and also must be united by Him. Spiritually healthy Christians are equipped to worship and glorify God and love one another as One Church.
How does our faith measure up to what Paul encourages among the believers in Corinth? Are we taking opportunities to grow in our faith through learning and practice? Do we spend time with God in prayer and worship? Do we allow ourselves to be challenged with difficult teachings or correction? Is our spiritual growth evident in the relationships we have with others, especially fellow believers? May the Spirit use these questions to reveal to us where we are flourishing and where we must tend to for the Glory of God.