Paul Reveals His Heart to the Corinthian Believers
2 Corinthians 7:1-9 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. KJV
Paul has made his plea to these believers to open up to him and he continues to exhort them to repentance and also includes himself in the need for cleansing from the filthiness of our flesh and spirit. The Greek word Paul uses for the English phrase “let us cleanse” is katharizo which means to cleanse from physical stains and dirt or in the moral sense to free from defilement of sin and from faults, to purify oneself from wickedness and the guilt of sin. Paul never exhorted or compelled anyone to repentance without including himself with the same need. Paul declares that it was the Corinthian believers responsibility to seek or desire to live in holiness before our Lord Jesus Christ because it was for this very purpose that our Lord Jesus Christ called us to Himself that we would be made just like Him as Paul has already declared to them earlier in this letter with these words, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Paul opens up to these Corinthian believers imploring them to make room for him in their hearts declaring that he has never wronged or adikeo any of them meaning to do some wrong or sin in some respect; to wrong someone, act wickedly towards him; to hurt, damage, harm someone. Paul also declares that he has not corrupted or phtheiro any of them meaning in an ethical sense to corrupt or deprave; it has the idea of leading away a Christian from that state of knowledge and holiness in which one ought to remain or stay in. Lastly, Paul declares that he has never defrauded or pleonekteo any of them meaning to be covetous or to take advantage of another in the sense overreaching, outsmarting, outfoxing, or outwitting them to gain an advantage over them. Paul wanted them to know how much he cared for them and how it was not his intent at all to condemn or sentence them in judgment but rather he wanted them to understand his loving concern and care for them and to receive him. Paul’s heart for them was so filled with love that he wanted to spend as much time with them as he could and we get the confirmation of this by how often Paul wrote to them expressing his desire and will to come to them despite all of the obstacles he faced.
Paul declares to them that despite all of the troubles or battles being waged against him from enemies and also internal fears, yet he was still filled with comfort by our Lord Jesus Christ and His grace made him continuously joyful in every trouble. Paul’s heart was strengthened by our Lord Jesus Christ when he received word from Brother Titus of how these believers in Corinth longed for Paul to return and be among them again. Paul writes of their earnest desire or epipothesis meaning an intense craving, a longing for, a vehement desire. These Corinthian believers did not only want Paul to come to them again but they yearned for his appearance to the point of lamenting or being sorrowful and grieving over Paul’s absence. Paul was so moved by the news from Titus that he greatly rejoiced because he was afraid that the false apostles had turned their hearts against him and for Paul to know of their longing to see him caused his heart great comfort.
Paul knew that his first letter had caused many of the believers much sorrow or lupeo meaning to distress; to affect with sadness, to throw into sorrow; to grieve and offend; to make one uneasy. However, Paul knew that every word written by him to them was God’s Will and he did not regret one word although he did not rejoice in making them grieve, but his rejoicing did come from the results that his letter produced in their hearts. The fact that true repentance (changing the mind and turning from sin back to Christ) caused them no damage or injury, nor did they suffer any loss, but instead their repentance returned to them the joy of their salvation as we all were warned by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself with these words, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26).
“The first thing, then, that every Christian has is a cleansing which accompanies forgiveness, and however his garment may have been ‘spotted by the flesh,’ it is ‘washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.’ Strange cleansing by which black stains melt out of garments plunged in red blood! With the cleansing of forgiveness and justification comes, wherever they come, the gift of the Holy Spirit—a new life springing up within the old life, and untouched by any contact with its evils. These gifts belong universally to the initial stage of the Christian life and require for their possession only the receptiveness of faith. They admit of no co-operation of human effort, and to possess them men have only to ‘take the things that are freely given to them of God.’ But of the subsequent stages of the Christian life, the laborious and constant effort to develop and apply that free gift is as essential as, in the earliest stage, it is worse than useless. The gift received has to be wrought into the very substance of the soul, and to be wrought out in all the endless varieties of life and conduct. Christians are cleansed to begin with, but they have still daily to cleanse themselves: the leaven is hid in the three measures of meal, but ‘‘tis a life-long task till the lump be leavened,’ and no man, even though he has the life that was in Jesus within him, will grow up ‘into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ unless, by patient and persistent effort, he is ever pressing on to ‘the things that are before’ and daily striving to draw nearer to the prize of his high calling. We are cleansed, but we have still to cleanse ourselves.”
“Paul did not rejoice in the many lines of rebuke he was required to write to these Corinthian believers in his first letter, but that sadness of his turned quickly and immediately to joy when he was made aware that the Holy Spirit had brought them to true repentance of all their sin against God the Father.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…