2Co 13:4-7 “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.”
In verse three of this chapter, Paul mentioned that the Corinthian brethren were looking for proof that Christ was speaking in Paul. Still pointing to Christ, Paul says that He (Jesus) was crucified through weakness. This was not about any weakness of character or weakness of His faith in the Father. Being truly man, the flesh of Jesus was subject to the same harm from depravation and injury as any other man.
Because the body was weak, Jesus was able to be crucified on the cross. However, He lives by the mighty power of God. Being truly God, He could speak with authority (even while in a body of flesh) that He would lay His life down and He would take it up again. Before His body died on the cross, He commended His spirit (life) into the hands of the Father and proved the power of that life when He walked out of the tomb on the third day.
Paul told Timothy that to reign with Christ, it is necessary to suffer with Christ. Paul echoes that sentiment here with the church at Corinth. Paul points out that flesh is still weak, and we suffer the effects of that every day. However, by the same power by which Christ lives, we also live. The life we live is not just for ourselves. We live as servants of God and of Christ as a manifestation of God toward the church.
Paul’s admonishment continues with an edict we would all do well to heed: “examine yourselves.” It is all too easy for us to look at our neighbor and call out all the things they are doing wrong. Often, trying to keep house for our neighbor is a mechanism we use to keep from focusing on what’s lacking in our house. Our lives would be well spent in looking to our own lives; our own faith; our own walk before God.
Paul then tells us that, unless we have become worthless, that we should know that Jesus is in us. Being reprobate does not necessarily imply that we are not the children of God. Part of the definition of the word translated as reprobate is to be “castaway.” Paul himself said on one occasion that he was concerned that even though he had preached the gospel that he might become a castaway or reprobate (1 Corinthians 9:27). The same Greek root is used for “castaway” in First Corinthians as is used here for “reprobate.”
Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians that if they are not reprobates then they should also know that Paul and his companions were not reprobates either. When we examine ourselves and prove ourselves, we become more attuned to the walk of Christ in our brothers and sisters. We have a desire, as did Paul, that the saints of God do no evil (not engage in worthless pursuits). That desire has nothing to do with how we want others to think of us and everything to do with the peace and edification of the church.
May God give us the courage to be considered worthless as long as His children are encouraged in their walk with Him!