2 Corinthians 7

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Given that God has promised us eternal life, and make us His sons and daughters, we need to make sure that we don’t miss out on it. We can miss out on it if we don’t desire to cleanse ourselves from every sin. Our motive must be to please God, not to go to heaven or to have a reputation for being holy, or anything like that.

God’s promise to make us His sons and daughters is a promise of great value. No other creation has been given this opportunity. It is only available to man.

A good father provides for his children. Since God is your Father, and the best one there is, He will provide for you all the opportunities you need to become just like His Son Jesus. He has already provided a way to take away your sin problem in its entirety.

As your Father, God will ensure that everything works for your good. Nothing anyone can do can harm you. Even if someone tries to harm you, God will make it turn out for your good. What is better than that? Only you can harm yourself by doing something foolish or sinful.

As a child of God, you have grace and peace with God. You have the favor and blessing of God, and of all those who have made God their King. Since you are a prince, the subjects of God’s kingdom will treat you well.

2 Make room for us {in your hearts;} we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one.

Paul had an amazing testimony among these Corinthians – he (and his team) wronged no one, corrupted no one, and took advantage of no one. Today, it is rare to find leaders like that.

Given that Paul neither wronged, nor corrupted, nor took advantage of any of the Corinthians, he was puzzled as to why they had such a standoffish attitude towards him.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to make room for him and his team in their hearts. That is, he wanted them to listen to what he had to say, and to act upon it. Oftentimes, we want to help people, but they don’t have room for us in their hearts – they don’t think highly enough of us to give careful consideration to what we have to say.

3 I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.

This was a tough message to these believers, and Paul wanted them to understand that he wasn’t trying to condemn them but to help them.

4 Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.

5 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.

6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.

Paul felt confident that the Corinthian believers would listen to him. While in Macedonia he had a lot of things to take care of, and at the same time, he was waiting for Titus to give him an update on the status of the Corinthian church. God was kind enough to make it possible for Titus to reach there and give Paul a favorable report concerning the Corinthians.

8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it – {for} I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while –

9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to {the point of} repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to {the will of} God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.

10 For the sorrow that is according to {the will} {of} God produces a repentance without regret, {leading} to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul gave them some very tough messages, and was not sure how they would respond. He was glad that they took his words to heart and repented.

Sometimes, when disciplining us, God has to cause us to suffer loss, and we are sorrowful during those times. But that sorrow leads us to repentance. David said that affliction helped him to keep God’s word (Ps 119:67).

If your current situation is causing you sorrow, examine yourself and see if you are doing something to displease God. Repent from whatever is displeasing to God, and the sorrow will go away. Sometimes, you may be doing something to displease God and you may not even know that what you are doing is displeasing God. You can find out by studying God’s word as His word tells us what is displeasing to Him. Some people gossip and deceive and backbite and God makes their life sorrowful, but they don’t realize that their gossip and deceitfulness and backbiting is displeasing to God.

Paul gave them a tough message, and they repented. He therefore focused on repairing any damage to the relationship. This is an example of what James writes in Jas 3:17, where he says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. That is, a godly leader doesn’t lower his standard or reduce the purity of his message for anyone. If they refuse to accept the pure message then the fellowship is broken. However, if they repent, then the focus is on establishing peace and repairing the relationship.

11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Paul was very happy to see how well the Corinthians responded to his reproof. Today, it is difficult to find churches who are willing to endure such reproof.

12 So although I wrote to you, {it was} not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.

13 For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.

Nothing pleases a prophet more than seeing his audience respond to his message. Even in heaven, there is great rejoicing when even one sinner repents (Lk 15:7, 10). Think of it - our repentance makes heaven rejoice!

14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus proved to be {the} truth.

15 His affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.

16 I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you.

Titus was also very happy to see the repentance of the Corinthians. In the same way, the people of God on earth also rejoice when people turn away from that which destroys them to the ways of God.

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