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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.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

2 Corinthians 6





The chapter opens with Paul speaking of working together with God.  Paul saw his ministry as cooperating with God’s purpose and plan.  As a result, he had preached the Gospel in Corinth.  He had been a minister of reconciliation there.  And he had served as an ambassador of Christ in Corinth.  God used those efforts to save people.

One of Paul’s concerns, however, is that not everyone who made a “profession of faith” was actually saved.  That is still true today.  Not everyone who says he or she is a Christian is actually saved.  It may be, in fact, that many people who are somewhat connected with the church have never truly been saved.

So, in verse 2, Paul says to that group of people there is still time to be saved.  Specifically, he told them that today would be a great day to get saved.  There’s something important at work here.  Some people who are at least familiar with the Gospel sometimes have the wrong headed notion that they can get saved when they want to.  They somehow believe that they can wait until it is more convenient or until they have done some not so nice things and then they will get saved later.  The truth is no one gets saved apart from the drawing of the Holy Spirit.  Salvation is not our decision but God’s.  And the truth is that even if God is offering you salvation today, He is under no obligation to make that same offer tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.

Salvation is too precious and important to neglect.  Today is the day of salvation.  Now is the favorable time.

Because of space and time, I want to skip over to verse 14.  Here we find the statement that believers and unbelievers should not be unequally yoked.  Oftentimes this verse is quoted as a prohibition of a Christ follower marrying someone who is not a Christian.  There is certainly room for that understanding.  But it might be important to see this from a bigger perspective. 

We should be careful in all of our close dealings with others and in our closest relationships.  Those who don’t know the Lord often have a different set of morals that they live by.  And that is going to be a source of conflict.  Sometimes grievous conflict between two people.

In verse 17, Paul goes so far as to quote some Old Testament Scripture that we as God’s people are to separate ourselves from those who do not belong to God.  Obviously we have this notion of separation here but it is critically important that we understand that there is a huge difference between separation and isolation. 

When we are saved, we are separated from the world and separated to God.  But we are still in the world.  Indeed we have a responsibility to engage the world with the Gospel.  And anytime we try to isolate ourselves from the surrounding world, we violate some of the basic tenets of Scripture.  But even when we are engaging the world, we must remain separate from the world. 

As Christ followers our lives are to be different.  We should not take on the habits of the world around us.  We should be careful not to defile ourselves.  And we should be very careful not to live like we are part of both worlds.

Even as we navigate this world, even as we serve as ambassadors for Christ in this land that is not our home, our lives must necessarily be different.  We must live righteously and strive for holiness.  We must demonstrate love and mercy and grace and forgiveness.  And we must always show others about the grand difference Jesus makes in our lives.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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