2 Corinthians 1
-Paul begins this second letter to the church in Corinth and all the saints in Achaia that has been preserved by antiquity after sending Timothy to check their response to 1 Corinthians (Acts 19:22, 1 Corinthians 16:10-11), receiving discouraging news, visiting them with a painful visit, and writing another letter to them, which has been lost in antiquity. This was a tearful letter with apparently very severe language warning the church of God’s judgment if they did not repent (2 Corinthians 2:3-4; 7:8-16). To Paul’s great joy most of them did repent, which Paul found out about through Titus in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 7:5-7). Thus the stage is set for this se cond letter and its myriad of themes and issues that still needed addressing in this local body with significance to all of the church age.
-Paul begins the letter by defending and asserting his apostleship of Christ Jesus by the will of God (2 Corinthians 1:1). He blesses them with the usual words of grace and peace before going into an extended section of gratitude and thanksgiving to God for His mercies and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-11). The Lord is the One who comforts in all our affliction for the purpose of encouraging us to comfort others in their affliction. While there is abundant suffering, there is the contrast of abundant comfort through the agency of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:5). Paul even says his affliction is for the people’s comfort and ultimately their salvation as they endure (2 Corinthians 1:6). There is a commonality and partaking in this suffering they are experiencing, which produces a hope firmly grounded in the bond of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:7). There is a communication of suffering to make his readers aware of this tribulation that burdened them to the point of despair, even of life, and their strength in themselves was totally gone (2 Corinthians 1:8). This happened so that they would not trust in themselves, but in God who can raise even the dead (1 Corinthians 15, canonical tie, 2 Corinthians 1:9). God is our hope for deliverance and it is applied to this situation as far as their physical well-being (2 Corinthians 1:10). Paul finishes this first section with a call for intercession through a commendation of these Corinthian believers (2 Corinthians 1:11). *Application* We are reminded in this passage that painful and arduous times are part of the Christian walk. When these events occur remember to depend on God, your personal deliverer and salvation. We cannot walk in our own strength and the Lord has very real ways of reminding us of that.
-Paul begins a new section defending his integrity as he communicates having a holy, simple, and sincere conscience not based on fleshly wisdom, but he wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-4:21, 2 Corinthians 1:12). Paul, as always keeps a view of the end (in the day of our Lord Jesus) as he wants them to fully understand the importance of their enduring faith. Paul is sure in his convictions and God’s call. He is not vacillating because his Lord is faithful in His Word, which makes us sure and steadfast without wavering (2 Corinthians 1:17-22). The promises of God are yes and yes. It is God who establishes and anoints us together (unity) in (agent) Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-26, 2 Corinthians 1:21). God has sealed the believer (past tense- completed action) evidenced because He has given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge (legal term for down payment, His fullness is our joy and hope) in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22). Therefore, it is our faith in His work that establishes and makes firm (this is present and ongoing) His promises as we labor, not in pride or arrogance, but in unity and joy (2 Corinthians 1:23-24). *Application* We, as the ancient Corinthians, need to understand the great theological implications of Paul’s words here. God’s Spirit in us is the guarantee of salvation. We need not operate in fear any longer when we realize that He continually is related to us and has sealed us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). When we are filled with His Spirit we are freed to live a life of worship and fullness of joy no matter what the situation or circumstance that surrounds us. Abound in His grace (2 Corinthians 9:8)!
Verses to Memorize- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4