Paul addressed problems in the Corinth church in 1 Corinthians, but many rejected his advice. He followed up with a painful visit and then sent them 2 Corinthians, a letter that assured them he forgave and loved them. After reading the letter, many church members repented and embraced the letter's message.
Essentially, it challenges believers to see life through the paradox of the cross. Because of the cross and God's Spirit, Jesus' followers receive power to live transformed lives. They become equipped to take up Jesus' cruciform life and make it their own.
Through the cross and resurrection, believers may live differently and model the values God desires, including generosity, humility, and weakness.
Despite a division between Paul and the Corinthian Christians, he offers forgiveness and desires an open and honest relationship, which he affirms in 2 Corinthians.
Corinthian Christians admire wealthy and eloquent leaders and ask Paul to prove his authority. He says they are his proof, as God's new covenant people.
Rather than seek wealth and status, Christians should embrace the paradox of the cross and the cruciform life that transforms them to love and serve.
The gospel transforms all believers into generous people who give freely out of their gratitude for the gift of salvation they received through Jesus.
Paul is weak and flawed, but he reminds the Corinthians that inadequacies reveal the love and grace of Jesus, whose power is perfected through weakness.