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2 Corinthians 7

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Understanding True Repentance

Second Corinthians Seven

God has made wonderful promises to His people. He said, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." ( 2Co_6:17-18 ) God made these promises to us also. We must stay away from everything that keeps our bodies and spirits from being clean. "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." ( 2Co_7:1 ) This appeal of God is simply an appeal for spiritual purity and godliness among Christians everywhere.

In this chapter Paul returned to talk about his search for Titus, the joy he had when he was found and of his thankfulness for how the Corinthians had received and treated Titus and of their reaction to his letter. He said, "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." ( 2Co_7:6-7 )

Paul's earlier letter had caused much sorrow at Corinth. However, it was a good kind of sorrow in that it brought about repentance. Out of deep concern for them Paul wrote that first letter knowing that, "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." ( 2Co_7:10 ) At Corinth Titus observed how the brethren obeyed God with fear and trembling. Paul had much confidence that the obedience of these brethren would continue.

Verses 1-3

Perfect holiness in the fear of God 2Co_7:1-3 : Since God has given us His great promises we should stay away from everything that contaminates and defiles either our body or our spirit. Peter wrote, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." ( 2Pe_1:4 ) We should honor God in reverential fear. Our goal should be to be completely like Him. The possibility of God's blessings in our life should motivate us to purity of life in Christ. Our bodies are made in the image of God and we must likewise be in His image form the standpoint of godliness. Any "defilement" must be left behind because it is unChrist-like! Paul said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." ( Rom_12:1-2 )

Paul asked the Corinthians to open their hearts again to him and his fellow workers. He had given these brethren severe rebukes. He did not do this in any way to mistreat them, wrong them or cheat them. He rebuked their sins because he cared about them. He said nothing to condemn these brethren. Whether he lived or died he wanted them to know that they were in his heart and that he cared about their eternal welfare. He trusted them completely and was very proud of them. In all his trouble he was still very happy.

Verses 5-8

God comforted Paul by sending Titus 2Co_7:5-8 : When Paul and his companions came to Macedonia they were faced with all kinds of problems. They had no opportunity to rest. They were troubled by enemies and troubled by fears. There were real, visible enemies to be dealt with in Macedonia and there was also deep concern over the situation with the church in Corinth. God uses many ways to cheer and bless his faithful people. He sent Titus to bless and encourage Paul. It was good for Paul to know that Titus was safe and it was especially good for him to hear the good news from Corinth. The brethren had responded in a wonderful way to Paul's first letter. Titus delivered the message concerning how sorry the brethren at Corinth were over the mess that they had made in the church. He also let Paul know how concerned they were about him personally.

Paul had rebuked these brethren sharply and it had made both him and they feel bad. His letter hurt them for a while but it caused them to be genuinely sorry for their sins. Paul felt bad writing the letter like a parent regrets having to discipline a child.

Verses 9-11

Godly sorrow works repentance 2Co_7:9-11 : Paul rejoiced because their sorrow and hurt feelings caused them to turn back to God. He had no desire to harm or damage them in any way. He only wanted to help. His hard letter had benefited the church at Corinth. These people were sorry for their sins because they had offended God. This led to true repentance. Godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to spiritual life. Worldly sorrow only brings physical and spiritual death.

Godly sorrow caused the brethren to be concerned about their duty to God. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." ( 2Co_7:10 ) When they did their duty before God then they could speak in their own defense. They felt indig-nation when they faced the guilt of tolerating the fornicating brother in their fellowship. These brethren became pure when they practiced the discipline required by God. Once that was done they were no longer guilty.

Verses 12-16

Paul's joy and confidence in the Corinthians 2Co_7:12-16 : Paul did not write to Corinth to hurt or take up for anyone. He wrote so that they could understand how much God cared about the church there. The entire church was hurting because of the fornication that was being practiced. The church must do its duty when situations like that arise in order to preserve the church and to save the sinning brother. Paul rejoiced because (1) Titus was safe, happy and refreshed, and (2) The brethren at Corinth did what was right before God.

Paul had spoken encouraging words to Titus about the church at Corinth. Now what he had said had proven to be true. Therefore he had no regrets for the praise he had given them. He said, the brethren were friendly toward Titus for having brought the message and they were obedient in their duty toward God. Paul gained strength and joy from the fact that he could depend upon the Corinthians. "I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things." ( 2Co_7:16 ) Can God depend on you?

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/2-corinthians-7.html. 2014.
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