Separation and Intimacy
in the Christian Community
Separation from Sources of Sin
7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved,
let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
7:2 Open your hearts to us.
We wronged no one.
We corrupted no one.
We took advantage of no one.
7:3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before,
that you are in our hearts to die together and live together.
CONFIDENCE IN THE DISCIPLES
7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you.
Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort.
I overflow with joy in all our affliction.
7:5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no
but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear
7:6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by
coming of Titus;
7:7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which
he was comforted in you,
while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for
so that I rejoiced still more.
Encouraged by Repentance
7:8 For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it,
I did regret it.
For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while.
7:9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were
made sorry to repentance.
For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss
by us in nothing.
7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no
But the sorrow of the world works death.
7:11 For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a
what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation,
fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance!
In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter.
7:12 So although I wrote to you, I wrote not for his cause that did
nor for his cause that suffered the wrong,
but that your earnest care for us might be revealed in you in the
Encouraged by Others Being Encouraged
7:13 Therefore we have been comforted.
In our comfort we rejoiced the more exceedingly for the joy of
because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him on your behalf, I was
But as we spoke all things to you in truth,
so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be
7:15 His affection is more abundantly toward you,
while he remembers all of your obedience, how with fear and
you received him.
7:16 I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage
vs 1 What promises is he referring to?
What kinds of things contaminate the body and what kinds of things
vs 2-3 What attitudes are necessary to develop intimacy with
God and God's people?
vs 4-7 Have you ever experienced an emotional connection
other Christians of the degree to which Paul had towards the
If not, why not?
vs 8-12 How did Paul show the Christians that he cared
Under what conditions is it best for the sake of developing maturity
to make other Christians feel bad?
What is the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow?
vs 13-16 What characteristics of the Corithinthians most
2Cor 7:1Since we
these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from
that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of
The promises he's referring to are mentioned at the end of chapter
(Lev 26:12) "I will live
with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they
be my people."
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
(Hos 1:10) "I
Father to you, and you will be my sons and
daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
While the quotes from Lev and Hos are unconditional, what are we to
of the quote from Isaiah 52? Is this teaching salvation by works?
if we go back to chapter 6 and review Paul's thinking that led up to
sharing these verses we notice that he's not alluding to salvation.
example in 2Cor 6:14,15 the
reason he gives as to why believers should not be yoked with
unbelievers is not in order to be saved. For he views the
as already saved. But rather his argument is that it's simply not
appropriate behavior Yet he speaks of the Corinthinas along with
himself as being the temple of God. "For we are the temple of the living
God" 2Cor 6:16b. It's not that the saints
purify themselves in order to be saved, but rather having been
the saints purify themselves, as that is the appropriate thing to do
given our reconciled relationship with God and given that we are the
temple of the living God.
This is important. For the gospel gives us significantly different
motivation than those under the Law. Those under the Law purify
themselves in order
to attain a righteous status. But those under the grace given us
faith in the gospel are given a righteous status as a gift from God,
and the regeneration by the Holy Spirit affects our attitude and
behavior. It's not that the saints need to purify themselves, but
rather that the saints do purifying themselves because it's the
thing to do.
2Cor 7:2Make room for us in your hearts. We
have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited
no one. That
is not arguing that they should take him and his team to
heart simply because of their status as messengers of the gospel,
people should not be gullible about whom they take to heart. For
demand allegiance without discernment, without scrutiny.
Paul hadn't sinned against them, or past one corrupt teachings, nor
exploited them by asking for money. In contrast there were other
teachers around among whom Peter characterizes, "In their greed these teachers will
exploit you with stories they have made up."2Peter 2:3 Though it's difficult
most preachers today to make a similar appeal to appear convincing.
Paul could say, "Unlike so
we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in
we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God." 2Cor 2:17 Getting paid for
calls into question one's motivation, even despite the purity of
Bottom line is that if we expect people to make room for us in heart
must earn that right by proving our pure doctrine through pure
and pure motivation by demanding nothing in return for our services.
2Cor 7:3,4 I do not say this to condemn you;
have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we
live or die with you. I have great confidence in you; I take great
pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy
Rare indeed are spiritual leaders today who could honestly say they
would live or die with those they're leading. Ministers must beware
depersonalizing ministry. One's allegiance and heart should not be
devoted to the institution. That is not the "church". The
is merely a tool. The church is composed of the individual
who have gathered together.
Furthermore notice that Paul doesn't treat the brethren as a bunch
stupid sheep incapable of doing anything but sitting quietly and
listening to him preach. Rather they were actively involved, and not
only so but at this time Paul avoided even visiting them so that he
would not appear to be micro-managing them. He trusts them to do the
right thing. "I am glad
can have complete confidence in you."2Cor 7:16But not only so, for he also
keeps aware of their activities.
So there are two extremes to avoid here. One is micro-management in
which no freedom or trust is given. The other is apathy in which the
minister takes no interest in the actual life of the believers.
2Cor 7:5-7For when we came into Macedonia,
body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—
on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast,
comforted us by the coming of Titus and not only by his coming but
by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing
your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was
greater than ever.
As noted earlier Paul was worried about the Corinthian church and
good reason, given what was written in 1Corinthians. In fact he was
bothered that he left a ministry opportuntity to seek for news of
Corinthians from Titus. "Now
I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the
had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I
not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and
Again we note the ministry isn't all about doctrine. It should
one's emotional state, and not just positively. If fellow Christians
are not doing well we should feel bad. Notice also that one's
state should be affected by others, just like that of a parent to
children's life, but also Paul expresses his emotions. This indeed
lesson not only to ministers but also to parents who reserve the
expression of their emotions unduly.
Now granted that it says, "A
has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart."Pr 18:2, and there are those
who make ministry solely about one's emotions or one's subjective
opinions, yet there should be some expression of one's heart.
Leads to Repentance
2Cor 7:8,9Even if I caused you sorrow by my
letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it— I see that my
letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy,
because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to
repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were
harmed in any way by us.
Now there's a phrase you'll seldom find used today in this feel
society, "Even if I caused you
sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it." In Christian
it's sometimes the right thing to do to write letters which cause
people feel sorrow, making people feel hurt. Hurting people is part
Christian ministry as much as a it is necessary for a surgeon to cut
open a patient with a knife.
Sometimes God intends for us to be sorrowful or calls us to make
people sorrowful. It's part of the ministry. Jesus made some people
feel so hurt, so humiliate that they crucified him. But how joyful
sorrow leads one to repentance.
2Cor 7:10,11 Godly sorrow brings repentance that
leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings
death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what
earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation,
alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice
At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this
Sorrow itself is not necessarly beneficial. Worldly sorrows
kills. Consider the seed among the thorns. The worries in life,
from faith, can crush, cause bitterness and lead to further sin. But
notice the effect of godly sorrow. An urgency to repent accompanies
godly sorrow. Worldly sorrow only leads to regrets and not
Those of a worldly sorrow simply regret the consequences of their
which is not the same as repenting from sin. But godly sorrow
leads to one being ready to see justice done. Remember the thief on
cross, "We are punished justly,
for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done
nothing wrong." Luke 23:41
That man went with Jesus to Paradise that very day. Rather than harm
the person godly sorrow brings life.
So the next time someone makes you feel bad, consider how you might
benefit from that.
2Cor 7:12So even though I wrote to you, it
not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured
but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how
us you are.
Certainly not to say that he was not concerned about the one who did
the wrong or the injured party, but rather that his primary motive
to test them - to see what kind of spirit they had as a church - one
compliance or rebelliousness. Remember earlier in chapter 2 he wrote
this same incident saying, "The
I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be
obedient in everything." 2Cor
But here in particular he wanted to show them their obedience. That
there are times where we need to be convinced of our own
Ever ask yourself as to whether you really believe? How do you know
whether you really believe, or whether you convictions are merely
wishful thinking. The distinction is found in one's reaction to
stressful circumstances, things that would challenge one's faith.
Obedience in the midst of opposition, whether it be the opposition
the flesh to possible humilation, sorrow, or stress, or that of the
persecution which comes from the world, or the afflictions of the
devil, the man who stands on one's convictions with a clear
in the midst of opposition shows his convictions to be true.
Conversely when Peter presumptuously publically announced his
allegiance to Jesus even to death (Mt
26:35), he failed to stand the test at the time. Likewise
are many today who pledge allegiance to Jesus. But you will
their true convictions by their fruits, by their actions, and not by
"Examine yourselves to see whether
are in the faith;
test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—
unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2Cor 13:5
2Cor 7:13-16By all this we are encouraged. In
addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to
how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all
you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed
But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting
you to Titus has proved to be true as well. And his affection for
is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient,
receiving him with fear and trembling. I am glad I can have
confidence in you.
John writes, "I have no
joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."3John 1:4 This is the case
parents whether they be physical or spiritual. There's refreshment
fellowshipping with obedient Christians. To Philemon Paul writes, "Your love has given me great joy
encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of
saints." Phm 1:7
beyond obedience, the Corinthians also showed they were reliable.
counted on them and they did not disappoint. Let us not be obedient
occasion. Ever been embarrassed by someone you learned was
Let us be those whom can be relied upon. Personally I find
to by one of the character qualities in a person I most highly
value it in both machines and in people. I'm glad when I can have
complete confidence in reliable people and reliable equipment.
Notice also the reference to fear and trembling. This is a
of the seriousness with which they receive Titus. Likewise Paul
of himself in bringing the message to the Corinthians, "I came to you in weakness and
and with much trembling."1Cor
American culture demands everything in life be about having
fun. And such a culture has infiltrated the church to varying
The gospel is serious business, so we should treat it with
dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence,
now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation
fear and trembling"Php