2 Corinthians 2

In this chapter, Paul discusses his relationship with the Corinthians, and how they should proceed forward, and what resulted from his not coming to Corinth.

1 But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again.

2 For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful?

3 This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be {the joy} of you all.

4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that they were very special to him. He didn’t really want to do anything to strain his relationship with them, but he had to tell them the truth and speak and write to them the words God wanted them to hear. He knew that if he said those things to them, he would be putting their relationship at risk, but he had to take that chance, for their benefit.

As we minister to those around us (including our spouse and children), we are faced with a similar situation. We become fond of the people we serve, and there is a bond of friendship and brotherly love – but our highest loyalty is always to God, and only to God. Sometimes, our rebuke can result in retaliation, and we have to endure that, and leave it up to God to repair things at the right time.

5 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree – in order not to say too much – to all of you.

6 Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which {was inflicted} by the majority,

7 so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort {him,} otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm {your} love for him.

In Paul’s first letter, he brought to the attention of the Corinthians that there was open sin in their church and that they were not dealing with it. He commanded them to deal with it and put the sinners out of the church. That letter must have created a lot of division and turmoil in that church, but in the end, they did what Paul said. But a lot of relationships were strained. The good thing was that the sinners repented. Paul now urges the Corinthians to now forgive that person, and let him return to fellowship with them.

As James says, the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable (Jas 3:17). That is, we cannot let sin in the church continue unchallenged, but once the sinner has repented, we return to being at peace with him.

9 For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

Paul wanted to see whether the Corinthians had a high enough opinion of him that they would listen to him when he gave them a tough assignment, and he was pleased that they did.

10 But one whom you forgive anything, I {forgive} also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, {I did it} for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

If a person sins against us, and we confront them, and they repent, then if we don’t forgive them but continue to treat them as a sinner, then Satan can use our lack of wisdom and mercy to destroy that relationship, to our loss, and the loss of the person who sinned. Paul reminds the Corinthians to not give Satan that opportunity.

12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord,

13 I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.

Instead of going to Corinth, Paul went to Troas, and God gave Paul a fruitful ministry at Troas. But Paul didn’t stay there too long because he felt strongly within his spirit to proceed on to Macedonia.

Paul had sent Titus to the Corinthians to evaluate the situation there, and to meet him in Troas. But Titus didn’t come to Troas. This caused Paul to wonder what was happening in Corinth to hold Titus back. As we read in Chapter 7, Titus meets Paul in Macedonia and gives a favorable report on the Corinthians, which comforts Paul.

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Paul was thankful that the misunderstanding with the Corinthians occurred, because they resulted in the gospel being preached to the people of Troas. He was amazed at how things worked out, and how, in the end, everything turned out for good. Wherever and whenever he spoke about Christ, it forced people to decide between spiritual life and death.

17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

God makes things happen in this way for Paul because his motive for preaching the gospel and serving God is not a selfish one, so that he may receive some benefit, but truly to bring glory to God.

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