My previous warning, given on my second visit, still stands and, though absent, I repeat it now as though I were present—my coming will not mean leniency for those who had sinned before that visit and those who have sinned since. It will in fact be a proof that I speak by the power of Christ. The Christ you have to deal with is not a weak person outside you, but a tremendous power inside you. He was “weak” enough to be crucified, yes, but he lives now by the power of God. I am weak as he was weak, but I am strong enough to deal with you for I share his life by the power of God.
Well, this is my third visit coming up. Remember the Scripture that says, “A matter becomes clear after two or three witnesses give evidence”? On my second visit I warned that bunch that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways that when I came back I wouldn’t go easy on them. Now, preparing for the third, I’m saying it again from a distance. If you haven’t changed your ways by the time I get there, look out. You who have been demanding proof that Christ speaks through me will get more than you bargained for. You’ll get the full force of Christ, don’t think you won’t. He was sheer weakness and humiliation when he was killed on the cross, but oh, he’s alive now—in the mighty power of God! We weren’t much to look at, either, when we were humiliated among you, but when we deal with you this next time, we’ll be alive in Christ, strengthened by God.
Since you are demanding proof that the Anointed One is speaking through me, I will give you proof by exercising discipline among you. For just as I told you the last time I was there—and now, though absent, I say it again—that when I come I will not go easy on those whom I’ve already warned and those who continue to persist in their sin. Christ is not weak or feeble in his dealings with you but mighty and powerful within you.
You asked to see evidence that the power of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, is at work in me. Well, you will see it because He won’t be weak in dealing with you. Instead, He will do great things in you.
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