2 Corinthians 7
-Paul begins chapter seven with a causal statement. Because we have these (Christ’s Righteousness, the Holy Spirit, Reconciliation, Union, the New Covenant, etc.) promises, we should cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body (physical) and spirit (mind, heart, will). This is to bring holiness to completion (it is a process) in the FEAR (Reverence, Respect) of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Therefore, Paul is stressing holiness, sanctification, and purity in the life of the believer. He also stresses intercession (make room in your hearts, 2 Corinthians 7:2). *Application* Holiness and loving your fellow man are always important traits to be growing in as followers of Christ Jesus. How are you doing in these areas?
-Paul gives the Godly traits his demonstrated among them. He makes three important claims. He did not wrong anyone, he corrupted no one, and he took no advantage of anyone (2 Corinthians 7:2). He was not condemning them in any way; he was just making a statement about the union he had with them by the attitude of his heart. Thus he emphasized unity and togetherness to die and live in community through all situations and circumstances. He exhorted them by showing his great confidence in them by boasting of them in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:31; 5:6, 2 Corinthians 10:17). They had filled him with comfort; even in affliction he was overflowing with joy (2 Corinthians 7:4). The apostle recounts his visit to Macedonia where he had no rest (fighting without [external conflict] and fear within [self-doubt, uncertainty perhaps]). The great contrast comes when Paul teaches that it is God who comforts the downcast (2 Corinthians 7:6). God used, as is the case many times, a human instrument (Titus) to give His comfort. Titus encouraged them with the news of the Corinthians’ comfort to him and their longing, their mourning, and their zeal (2 Corinthians 7:7). Paul knew that his previous letter had caused suffering, but this was only temporal in nature because it turned them to Christ. Therefore, Paul had no regrets for this Godly confrontation. It produced the righteous results that the Lord wanted. There was rejoicing because the suffering lead to repentance. This is sorrow that is according to the will of God so that (result) they would not suffer loss in anything (2 Corinthians 7:8-9). “Godly grief (sorrow) produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief (saying sorry just because you’re in trouble or being punished) produces death (2 Corinthians 7:10).” This Godly sorrow has produced an earnestness (eagerness, enthusiasm, zeal, diligence), vindication (apologia, defense, apology, clearing of themselves), indignation (towards evil), fear (towards God), longing (for Godliness in Christ Jesus), zeal (excitement), and avenging of wrong (justice) (2 Corinthians 7:11). *Application* Here we see the awesome other side of confrontation in love and truth. There is tremendous rejoicing in true Christian repentance and fellowship when all that is good is restored. How we long for these times after conflict and distress has been experienced. Praise be to God when He brings us victoriously back together in unity and favor! What Satan means for destruction, God means for good; allow Him to bring reconciliation in every matter in your life (Genesis 50:20).
-God’s reconciliation with us and our working out of conflicts among ourselves brings great comfort (2 Corinthians 7:13). We must obey God and let love reign and rule in our lives in all circumstances. The Corinthians had proven true to their faith in obedience at this point, which was reason for great boasting in the Lord on their behalf by Paul and Titus. This reveals again the apostle’s great love for this body of believers. He has extreme confidence in them even though there had been some tough times. *Application* Let us not ever lose sight of the final-linear goal that is before us in Christ Jesus. In other words, keep the end in mind always. The giving of grace and mercy is bound up in the heart of God and should be exuded in our lives as well. Let your Light shine (Matthew 5:16)!
Verses to Memorize- 2 Corinthians 7:1, 6, 10