TUESDAY, APRIL 3
SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 7
When the chapter opens, Paul is actually completing some of what he was saying at the end of chapter 6. He reminds us that God has great, unimaginable, ultimately uncontainable promises for us. Some of those are given to us without any effort on our part (like salvation). Others of those blessings come as a result of our deciding to be obedient to the Word of God (like fellowship).
In the first verse, Paul mentions two problems. One was sins of the body and the other was sins of the spirit. This refers to things that we do and the attitudes that we have. If you think about the story of the Prodigal Son, you will see the difference. The younger son was guilty of sins of the flesh – the things that he did that were wrong. The older one was guilty of sins of the spirit – his attitude was so horrible he couldn’t even get along with his dad.
In verses 2-9, Paul does a masterful job of explaining a pastor’s heart in relationship to the people he shepherds. For example in verses 2-4, false accusations are often levied at a pastor. But a pastor always keeps his church in his heart. He is never very far from it, not necessarily physically but emotionally and intellectually.
As you get to verse 5, you see where there are few things that bring more joy and more encouragement to a pastor than to hear good things from and about the church he leads. As a pastor, Paul didn’t want to write the harsh letter that he did. But sometimes it is a pastor’s responsibility to correct the church. But Paul was overjoyed that the church in Corinth had received the correction well, repented of their failings, and got a fresh start.
When you get to verse 10, Paul is teaching us some very important stuff. He wants us to know the difference between godly grief and worldly grief. Both are the result of messing up. Both come from making a moral mistake or committing some other kind of sin. But the results couldn’t be more different.
Godly grief leads to repentance which leads to a restoration of the relationship and a great desire not to do that again. Worldly grief is the result of being upset that you got caught. It leads to death – more often than not the death of our relationships.
A good example of these two kinds of grief would have to be Judas and Peter. Both men failed Jesus. Both men rejected Jesus publicly. Judas went out sorrowful for what he had done and killed himself. Peter went out sorrowful for what he had done, repented, and became a leader of the early New Testament Church and an early standard bearer for Christians.