2 Corinthians 7:10-12

In 2 Corinthians 7:10-12 Paul continues his explanation about why he did not regret sending his confrontational letter to the Corinthian church. He wanted repentance – a turning around and going the opposite way of sinful behavior. It sounds like a harsh word in the world we live in today. But it is an essential aspect of the Gospel – without it there can be no forgiveness of sin. “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” What was it that the Corinthian Christians had to repent of?  Take your pick!  It could have been any number of things, but no doubt it also included this: there were probably some “anti-Paul” people who criticized the absent apostle severely and unfairly, and the Corinthian Christians did not defend their godly spiritual father before these detractors.

Paul made the Corinthian Christians feel bad for their sin.  But he did it in a godly way.  He used the truth, not lies or exaggeration.  He was honest, not using hidden agendas and manipulation.  He simply told the truth in love. “For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.” Paul knew he could succeed in making them feel bad (sorrow).  But the relationship you have with that person will suffer loss.  You can win the “battle” yet lose the “war.”  Paul wanted to protect his relationship with the Corinthian Christians, so he would only make them sorry in a godly manner.

All the time he had repentance as the target outcome he was seeking. Repentance must never be thought of as something we must do before we can come back to God. Repentance describes what coming to God is.  You can’t turn towards God without turning from the things He is against. Spurgeon wrote “People seem to jump into faith very quickly nowadays.  I do not disapprove of that happy leap; but still, I hope my old friend repentance is not dead.  I am desperately in love with repentance; it seems to be to be the twin-sister to faith.” Paul was looking for the Corinthians to be set free from the impact of sin, and repentance is that path.

Paul again reminds them of his choice to write a letter rather than come in person. But the focus of his letter wasn’t to call out the ring leader in the church that was stirring people up against him. The purpose of the letter also wasn’t to make Paul and his team out to be victims. He wasn’t trying to take sides but rather to demonstrate his love and concern for the body of Christ. “So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God.” Clarke wrote “From all appearance there was never a Church less worthy of an apostle’s affections than this Church was at this time; and yet no one ever more beloved.”

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on The Searchlight.

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