Paul, perhaps frustrated at having to write to defend his apostleship rather than being able to write about Jesus, commented on the fact that he would be visiting for a third time which surely indicated how much he loved the Christians in Corinth and was sincerely concerned for them. There were probably a hundred and one other things he could have been doing but he was willing to put them all aside to go to them - like a parent - not wanting their financial support, but desiring to see them right with God. He was following the Lord’s example as expressed in Proverbs 3:12 “the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in”.
He had invested a great deal of himself in this church and whole-heartedly hoped that they might be conducting themselves in a way befitting of a church with Christ at the centre. Understandably indignant at the false claims others had made of him asking if he had tricked them or cost them or exploited them (all of which he hadn’t done but the ‘super apostles’ were clearly guilty), he declares he would pour himself out for them even though their love for him seemed to be declining.
Paul’s obedience to God was first in his mind and therefore he would not have been able to turn a blind eye to the things that had been reported to him; he would have to speak out and discipline those guilty of the offences he lists so, he implored the church to examine itself so they may test for themselves if they lived for Christ and if Christ was in them. Psalm 139 may have been unfamiliar to these Greek Christians, but it should not be to us especially v. 23 - 24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Previously, Paul had been accused of being harsh in his letters but timid in person. Here he explains how his letters have often served their purpose to teach and correct so that when he visited in person, he didn’t have to be harsh thereby allowing him to use his visit as one of encouragement and support not reprimand.
Lord, show me the parts of my life that do not glorify You and help me to let You take the lead. Amen.