Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt
Today’s Passage: 2 Corinthians 13
This is it, crew. Last chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. While he closed out the last one with a few personal words mentioning several people by name, he finishes this one with more on the themes of power and weakness, and he advises the Corinthians to put themselves to the test. What does he mean by that? Let’s take a look.
Paul urges the Corinthians to do some serious soul-searching. He commands: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (5). The phrase “fail the test” here isn’t an active verb; the NASB notes that it’s literally “are unapproved.” In Paul’s original Greek, he uses the adjective ἀδόκιμος, “adokimos,” which has financial connotations. A coin, if forged of impure metals, shaved down to an unacceptable weight, or otherwise counterfeit, would be declared “adokimos” and unfit for commerce. On the other hand, a valid coin was considered “dokimos” if it passed the test of authenticity.
Paul desires for his friends in Corinth to have authentic faith. He encourages them to put themselves to the test, to ensure that Jesus Christ is at work within them and in their lives; counterfeit faith won’t cut it. He goes on: “But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved” (6-7). He expects that upon his arrival, those who might have doubts about Paul’s own authenticity will see that he’s no counterfeit. And even if he seems fake to some, he doesn’t particularly care. His aim is to get people authenticated in Christ, like counterfeit coins melted down to their base metals, purified and recast in a proper mold, able to be spent legitimately on good things. That’s the “doing what is right” that he talks about: putting the money of genuine faith to good use.
Paul’s last words remind us of the basis for faith. He tells his readers: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all” (14). If God didn’t offer us the gift of Jesus Christ, we would be stuck as unapproved counterfeits. Grace is the foundation for our trust in God; with it, we stand, and when we reject or abandon it, we fall.
That’s a wrap for 2 Corinthians. Tomorrow, we continue through All the Paul, opening up his letter to the church at Galatia. But before I conclude this post, I’d just like to note that the Endangered Species caramel chocolate is incredibly salty.