William Burkitt Notes and Observations - 2 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:1

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William Burkitt Notes and Observations - 2 Corinthians 13:1 - 13:1


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The apostle having throughout both his epistles blamed the Corinthians for several gross enormities found amongst them, and hearing there were some who had not repented of them, he gives them plainly to understand, that he had a full purpose to come unto them with his rod of ecclesiastical discipline and church censures, and would not spare a man of them, but execute that power on the impenitent, which Christ had given him, by excluding such unreclaimable offenders from church communion.

Note here, With what wisdom and caution the holy apostle proceeds in the executing and inflicting the severe censures of the church; he uses admonition a first, a second, and third time, before he proceeds to the awful sentence of excommunication, I told you before, I foretell you now, and being absent, I write to you, that when I come I will not spare.

He tells them farther, that they had tempted him hereunto, in that they had required a proof from him whether Christ had owned him as an apostle or not, and would ratify his censures by judgments following them. He shows that Christ had owned him, and manifested his power in his ministry among them, by converting many of them to the Christian faith, by bestowing the gifts of his Spirit upon them, and by many signs and miracles which he enabled him to do in the midst of them.

When God calls his servants to the work of the ministry, he leaves not either himself or them without witness; he bears testimony to their sincerity, by giving them, in some degree, the seal of their ministry, in the conversion or edification of those they are sent unto: Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, to you ward he is not weak, but is mighty in and amongst you.

Next, the holy apostle draws a parallel, and makes a comparison between his blessed Lord and Master and himself. As Christ, in his state of humiliation, appeared to be a weak and frail man, by being crucified; but was evidenced to be the great and mighty God, by his rising from the dead: so the apostle, considered in himself, and in respect of his afflictions, appears a weak and contemptible man; but yet they had found, and should farther find, a resemblance of the power and strength of Christ in his life and ministry; and particularly, they should find him armed with authority from Christ, to execute censures upon the contumacious and impenitent.

Though the ministers of Christ, like their Master, when here on earth, are in a state of weakness, poverty, and contempt, yet they are clothed with divine power in the execution of their office, and their ministry is a living, powerful, and efficacious ministry, in the vigorous effects of it upon the hearts of their people; We are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.