Posts Tagged ‘2 Corinthians’

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 7:1-4 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

Purifying ourselves is a twofold action: turning away from sin, and turning toward God. “Perfecting holiness” means that the Corinthians were to have nothing to do with paganism. They were to make a clean break with their past and give themselves to God alone. In this phrase, Paul wasn’t suggesting that the Corinthians could become sinless in this life. Instead, he was prodding them to work at maturing in their faith. God had provided them with all the resources they needed, and Christ’s Spirit would empower them to become Christ like (Romans 8:2).

Paul insisted that the Corinthians should open their hearts for him. He knew how much those in the church need one another. If fellowship was necessary in Paul’s day, it is all the more crucial today, when time is more valuable than money. Each day holds barely enough time to care for personal and family needs, let alone to meet the needs of others. Yet the activities that occupy our time are not as important as the community described in these verses. Paul’s intention is not “coffee and donuts between church” fellowship. Believers need accountability that comes from lives intertwined by the cords of commitment and love.

Lets Bring it Home: If you are not in a small group Bible study, take the first steps. Offer hospitality to fellow believers; when others extend the hand of fellowship to you, grasp it enthusiastically.

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

6:11-13 “Opened wide our hearts to you” and “not withholding our affection from you” mean that Paul had told the Corinthian believers his true feelings for them, clearly revealing how much he loved them. The Corinthians were reacting coldly to Paul’s words, but Paul explained that his harsh words came from his love for them.

Lets Bring it Home: It is easy to react against those whom God has placed over us in leadership, rather than to accept their exhortations as a sign of their love for us. We need an open rather than a closed heart toward God’s messengers.

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 2:1-4 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the

Paul’s phrase “another painful visit” indicates that he had already made one difficult trip to Corinth (see the notes on 1:1; 1:15-17) since founding the church. Paul had gone there to deal with those in the church who had been attacking and undermining his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ, thus confusing other believers.

Paul’s last letter, referred to here, was not the book of 1 Corinthians, but a letter written between 1 and 2 Corinthians, just after his unplanned, painful visit (2:1). Paul refers to this letter again in 7:8.

Paul did not enjoy reprimanding his friends and fellow believers, but he cared enough about the Corinthians to confront them with their wrongdoing. Proverbs 27:6 says: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

Lets Bring it Home: Sometimes our friends make choices that we know are wrong. If we ignore their behavior and let them continue in it, we won’t be showing love to them. We show love by honestly sharing our concerns in order to help these friends do and be their very best for God. When we don’t make any move to help, we show that we are more concerned about being well liked than about what will happen to them.