Sunday, June 4th, 2023
Contending for the Faith Contending for the Faith
Contending for the Faith reproduced by permission of Contending for the Faith Publications, 4216 Abigale Drive, Yukon, OK 73099. All other rights reserved.
Contending for the Faith reproduced by permission of Contending for the Faith Publications, 4216 Abigale Drive, Yukon, OK 73099. All other rights reserved.
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ ctf/ 2-corinthians-7.html. 1993-2022.
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/
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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.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved: In the two previous verses, Paul relates specifically and possibly the greatest promises from God that can be made to a believer; however, these promises are undoubtedly conditional. After telling the Corinthian Christians that if they will "come out from among" the unbelievers and if they will "separate" from them, not only will the Lord "receive" them but that God will be "a Father" to them and they "shall be (His) sons and daughters." Paul shows heartfelt affection as he addresses the Corinthians as his "dearly beloved" when he reassures them of these promises.
let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit: Paul’s affectionate reassurance is emphasized by his including himself in these mandatory conditional actions when he emphasizes "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." To receive the promises of God, all believers must make a complete break from all sins and worldliness. The significance of Paul’s including himself is astounding when one thinks about the shameful and dishonorable way in which they have treated him; yet he reaffirms both his love for them and the unity that he seeks with them.
Including himself, Paul pleads with all Christians to "cleanse" (katharizo) ourselves, that is, to purify ourselves thoroughly and "purge" (Strong 2511) all filthiness (molusmos) of the flesh, referring to all "immorality" (Strong 3436) and other forms of defilements. The "flesh and spirit" used in this context are not referring to the body and the spirit individually. Instead, in this context, Paul uses both terms to refer to the body. Therefore, the filthiness of the "flesh and spirit" is not contrasting sin and righteousness as these two words might seem. In this context, filthiness of the "flesh and spirit" makes reference to every possible kind of sin regardless of whether they are public or private. To please God and receive His promises, Christians must "cleanse the body and spirit from "everything that pollutes" (Bratcher 73).
perfecting holiness in the fear of God: The flesh and spirit are cleansed to perfect holiness. The word "perfecting" (epiteleo) means to "accomplish" (Strong 2005) and "holiness" (hagiosune) means "sacredness" (Strong 42); therefore, Christians are not only not to be instruments of sin, but they are to be instruments of righteousness unto God; that is, to live lives that are governed by God’s command and that are dedicated to God. Paul presents the same message to the Christians in Rome:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:12-13).
Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
Beginning with this verse, Paul continues his specific thoughts that he veered away from in chapter six, verse 13, where he is encouraging wayward Christians to be open to him and his teaching, that is, to accept his message as being inspired from God. Notice that he pleads with them:
O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open…Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open (2 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:13 NKJV).
Paul is encouraging these Christians to imitate him by accepting him and the gospel he preaches. Beginning with chapter six, verse 14, Paul changes his thoughts a little in order to emphasize the importance of not being unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Now, here in verse 2 of this chapter, he returns to his encouragement to the disobedient Christians to open their hearts to his message about Jesus. For Paul to gain the confidence of these Corinthian Christians, it is essential for them to accept him; therefore, he begins by saying, "Receive us."
Receive us: The word "Receive" (choreo) means to "come" (Strong 5562) to him (referring to his teaching). As Paul loves and accepts these Christians, he is now imploring them to do likewise and open their hearts to him, as indicated in the translation of the New King James Version.
we have wronged no man: Not only does Paul plead with the Corinthians to open their hearts to him, he also emphasizes that he does not treat them as he has been treated by them:
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings (6:3-5 NKJV).
Paul actually gives three valid reasons for them to change their actions toward him. First, "we have wronged no man." The word "wronged" (adikeo) means "to be unjust…morally, socially or physically" (Strong 91) to any man.
we have corrupted no man: The second reason for accepting Paul is that "we have corrupted no man." The word "corrupted" (phtheiro) affirms that Paul has done nothing "to ruin (or) destroy" (Strong 5351) any person. On the other hand, in 1 Corinthians Paul refers to many examples where some of the Corinthian Christians have ruined the lives of other Christians. For instance, a man was guilty of incest in marrying his father’s wife (5:1); other Christians were guilty of taking their brothers before the courts of the land (6:1), thus ruining their lives. In another instance, they wronged other Christians when they corrupted the communion by not waiting for all Christians to come together; therefore, Paul commands them "…when you come together to eat, wait for one another" (11:33). Paul declares, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (11:30). Even though many of Paul’s readers are guilty of these and other wrongful actions, he loves them and never retaliates by wronging them.
we have defrauded no man: Paul’s third reason for these Christians to accept him is that he has "defrauded no man." "Defrauded" (pleonekteo) means he has never taken "advantage" (Strong 4122) of any of those who wronged him, even though he had opportunities to do so. He could have easily benefited himself in several ways:
I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? (12:15- 18).
I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
I speak not this to condemn you: Paul’s rebuke in this letter is not an action taken from personal bitterness toward them. It is not his intention to degrade these impenitent Christians, but instead he is determined to reestablish the previous love and relationship he had with them when the church was first established.
for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you: No words could be emphasized more clearly to explain Paul’s love for these Christians than the intent of this phrase. By these words, Paul expresses his true affection for them by letting them know his love for them cannot be destroyed by death nor weakened by the changing circumstances of life. Not only is Paul expressing his love for them, but he emphasizes the greatest of his love by saying, "ye are in our hearts to die and live with you." Bratcher correctly explains:
Not only does he declare that they are in his heart, but that they are in his heart "to die together and live together"—so far as he is concerned, they will be one in true love, one in death as well as in life (261).
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.
Great is my boldness of speech toward you: By the expression "boldness of speech" (parrhesia), Paul refers to the "frankness (and) bluntness" (Strong 3954) of his letters. He is specifically referring to the constancy of his love for the Corinthians, as he previously mentioned, saying, "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged" (6:11).
great is my glorying of you: Paul’s love for these Christians is recognized, not only by the Corinthians, but also by Christians of other congregations where he would be found "glorying" (kauchesis) or "boasting" about them. His boasting of the Christians in Corinth is indicative of his ultimate confidence in them.
I am filled with comfort: When Paul talks to other Christians, he brags about the Christians in Corinth because he is "filled with comfort" regarding them; that is, he respects the Corinthians and expects them to return and be faithful to God.
I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation: Paul speaks of his love for the Corinthians who have repented and returned to Jesus. He is "exceeding joyful" even in the midst of all the "tribulation" (thlipsis), meaning in all the "afflictions" (Thayer 291-1-2347) that he tolerates.
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.
Beginning with verse 5, Paul continues to give further details about his personal emotions before writing this letter. Specifically, he emphasizes his love for the Corinthians and, thus, explains that he has been really concerned about whether or not they had accepted his previous letter and repented of their sins. He does not express his love to them in word only. Instead, his love is demonstrated when he leaves Ephesus to go to Troas in hopes of meeting Titus to receive a report about the Corinthians’ actions; however, upon reaching Troas and finding that Titus is not there, he continues his travels to Macedonia. He has knowledge that Titus would be going through there upon his return from Corinth. Paul clearly states that his going from one place to another is because of his concern for the Corinthians’ spiritual welfare:
When I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia (2:12-13).
Paul’s actions, because of his love for them, show his eagerness to learn about their acceptance or rejection of his previous letter.
For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest: It appears that Titus is not in Macedonia when Paul first arrives; and while meeting Titus was his primary objective, he also has become very much concerned for some of the Christians in Macedonia, who evidently are facing contentions themselves.
Paul’s anxieties, then, are not immediately cured. Now he has concerns about Christians in two areas (Corinth and Macedonia). He expresses his emotions by saying, "our flesh had no rest." By the word "flesh" (sarx), Paul refers to his "body as opposed to the soul (or spirit)" (Strong 4561); however, sometimes he uses the words "flesh" and "spirit" synonymously to refer to his body. Previously, for example, as he enters Troas, he says, "I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother…." He obviously has reference to his physical body. Likewise, as he enters Macedonia, he refers to his "flesh," that is, his body lacked "rest" (anesis) or "relaxation" (Strong 425). He needs rest from his travels as well as mental rest from his concerns about his Corinthian brethren.
but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears: Paul is here describing his concern for the sins of the Corinthians. These actions prove his tremendous love for them. Instead of bodily rest, his body is "troubled" (thlibo), that is, his body "suffer(s) tribulation" (Strong 2346) on every side— inside and outside. Without are "fightings" (mache), meaning "striving" (Strong 3163) and within are "fears" (phobos) or "terror" (Strong 5401).
Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
Paul often mentions the comfort he receives from God. In the introduction of this letter, he says:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (1:3-5).
Paul, obviously, is not complaining about the troubles that he is facing while in Troas and Macedonia, for he knows the God of all comfort will bring comfort to him. Thus, Paul says that this God of all comfort "comforted us by the coming of Titus." God comforts Paul by having Titus reach Macedonia and give him the great report that most of the Corinthians have repented and returned to Jesus. Again, Paul’s actions and his anxiety and concerns having been replaced by comfort and joy show the degree of his love for the Corinthians.
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.
And not by his coming only: Paul ensures that the Corinthians will not misunderstand his reference to his personal comfort and joy by clearly stating his joy is not simply because he finally is able to reunite with Titus. His comfort comes precisely because of Titus’ report about the Christians in Corinth repenting of their sins.
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: Paul’s comfort is created for several reasons, and they all have to do with the Corinthians’ actions. First, he says his comfort comes "by the consolation wherewith he (Titus) is comforted in you." Paul willingly accepts Titus’ report of good news because he knows that Titus has personally visited with the Christians in Corinth. Titus reports to Paul that when he left them, he personally was comforted by them. He was an eyewitness of the good produced when the Christians read Paul’s letter.
The second reason Paul gives for his personal comfort is that Titus has told him about the Corinthians’ actions, which obviously were verbally stated by them to Titus. Paul says he is comforted "when he (Titus) told us your earnest desire." The words "earnest desire" (epipotliesis) mean "a longing" (Strong 1972). The Corinthians’ longing appears to denote their desire to see Paul again in order to rebuild the harmony that once existed between them. They apparently want to see Paul so they can restore the confidence that he once had in them.
The third reason for his present comfort is that the Corinthians are "mourning." The word "mourning" (odurmos) indicates Titus tells him that they deeply regret and are honestly remorseful about the way they have abandoned Paul’s teachings. They also mourn for things they have done or have said about Paul that caused him grief; as well, they mourn for having condoned the sins of others.
The fourth reason Paul states for his improved comfort is Titus’ report of the Corinthians’ "fervent mind" (zelos) toward him, that is, their "zeal" (Strong 2205) toward him. Their zeal toward Paul displayed the genuineness of their repentance and their determination not to continue in their sinful ways. This evidence of true repentance pleases Paul to the point that he says, "I rejoiced the more." While Paul is pleased with the Corinthians’ desire to see him and with their sorrow for having sinned against him, the most important thing to Paul, that caused him to "rejoice the more," is the proof of the Corinthians’ repentance.
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.
Earlier in this letter Paul explains that the purpose of his previous letter, which at times was harsh, was not for the specific purpose of making these Christians "sorry" (lupeo); his previous letters were not written simply to cause them "distress (or to) to be sad" (Strong 3076). In fact, all of Paul’s letters are written out of genuine love for his readers, and he experienced great sadness personally when he felt it necessary to give out such hard rebukes. He states clearly:
Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you (2:4).
As Paul has previously explained, he loves these Christians in Corinth and treats them as a father would treat his children to help them avoid dangers (see 2 Corinthians 6:13). To avoid dangers a loving father will rebuke his children; likewise, Paul, in showing love for these wayward Christians, has proved his love to them; he has spoken those words of rebuke because their sins had put them in spiritual danger.
Genuine love cannot remain silent when it recognizes that those we love are in danger because of their sinful actions. Instead of saying nothing, Paul has issued urgent harsh warnings with a prayerful hope that the rebukes may cause them to change and repent. Paul, however, recognizes that even though he did not intentionally write his letter to make the Christians sad, his letter did, in fact, make them sad. Paul references this fact, saying: "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent." The question, therefore, is Why? Why did Paul not repent when his letter made them sorry? Paul answers this question, saying: I did not repent… "for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season." In other words, Paul does not repent of his message to these Christians, even though they were harsh at times and caused them sadness because their sadness was but for a "season" (hora)—their sadness lasted only a "short time’ (Strong 5610), and then they repented, thus bringing spiritual happiness.
I do not repent, though I did repent: It appears almost as if Paul is contradicting himself, saying that he did not repent and that he did repent; however, he has reference to two separate things. He does not repent of the message he wrote in this letter because his message was divinely inspired; however, he does regret the occasion that necessitated his writing such a rebuking letter.
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.
While in one sense Paul does regret the necessity of the harshness of his letter to the Corinthians, because of the sadness that he knew it brought to them, his regret eventually causes him to "rejoice" (chairo). The results of his letter cause him to be "glad" (Strong 5463) that he wrote it, even though it did make them sorrowful.
In this verse, to avoid their possible misunderstandings, Paul explains in no uncertain terms why he is rejoicing. He does not rejoice because his letter made them sorrowful, but instead, as Paul says, "I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance." The word "repentance" (metanoia), as used in this context, implies a "reversal of (a) decision" (Strong 3341). Paul rejoices that his letter has caused the majority of the Corinthian Christians to give up their sinful ways.
The sorrow they experienced was "after a godly manner," meaning that it produced a sorrow that pleases God. Paul does not repent of his letter causing the Corinthians to be sorrowful because, in the end, his letter accomplishes its intended purpose— to bring them back to Jesus; therefore, Paul says, "that ye might receive damage by us in nothing." Nothing Paul has said "damaged" (zemioo) the Corinthians, that is, nothing that he wrote caused them to "experience detriment" (Strong 2210). His letter only guided them back to the truth of the gospel.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Paul cautions here that there are two types of "sorrow," and both types accomplish something. Therefore, we must be careful which type of sorrow we have. The first type of sorrow is called "godly sorrow" (theos lupe), which is having the sorrow that pleases God because it "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." The second type of sorrow is called "the sorrow of the world." This type of "sorrow" does not please God because it does not work toward repentance to salvation; but, instead, Paul says the sorrow of the world "worketh death." The word "worketh" (katergazomai) in both places means "accomplish" (Strong 2716); "therefore, "godly sorrow" accomplishes "repentance to salvation not to be repented of" contrary to "the sorrow of the world" that only accomplishes "death," meaning that this type of sorrow is "deadly" (Strong 2288), signifying spiritual death. "Death" is spoken of here in a way similar to the way Paul uses it in writing to the Christians in Rome as well as to the Hebrew Christians:
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful (Romans 7:11-13).
"The sorrow of the world" is deceptive because even though sorrow is, in fact, recognized in the person’s life, it does not produce "salvation" (soteria), referring to spiritual "health" (Strong 4991). The sorrow of the world demonstrates itself in self- pity rather than in repentance. An example of the "sorrow of the world" is seen in the life of Esau, as mentioned by Paul:
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Hebrews 12:16-17).
Writing about the fact that godly sorrow brings salvation, Paul also states it is "not to be repented of" (ametameletos), meaning this type of sorrow is "irrevocable" (Strong 278). In other words, godly sorrow produces true sorrow for past actions; therefore, it is binding and unchangeable. A sinner may not simply say the words, "I am sorry," without sincerity. Rather, he must truly: (1) admit error; (2) express true sorrow for sins committed; and (3) make a commitment that he will not return to this sin in the future.
For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort: Paul begins this verse with the word "behold" (idou) as an exclamation to emphasize his jubilation concerning the report given to him by Titus regarding the Corinthians’ response to his previous letters. The "selfsame thing" mentioned here refers specifically to the godly sorrow of the Corinthian Christians. Paul now encourages them to observe the wonderful change in their lives that he sees, that is, the change in their attitude brought forth by their sorrow. Bratcher translates: "See how your sadness made you change" (78).
what carefulness it wrought in you: In this and the next several expressions of changes seen in the Corinthians’ lives, Paul begins with the word "yea what" (posos), meaning "how great" (Strong 4214), indicating his exalted pleasure in the news Titus has brought. The word "carefulness" (spoude) means "diligence (or) haste" (Strong 4710), and "wrought" (katergazomai) means "to accomplish" (Strong 2716). Paul is drawing to their attention how quickly that godly sorrow has caused them to lose their previous indifference and restore them back to their original determination to be obedient to Jesus by accepting the message preached and written by Paul. Thus, Paul’s work among the Corinthians has brought forth the fruit that he intended. Fruit (positive actions) will always be seen in the lives of a person who genuinely repents as Matthew suggests, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance" (3:8).
yea, what clearing of yourselves: The expression, "clearing of yourselves" (apologia) means "apology" (Strong 627), indicating the Corinthians have acknowledged their sins and apologized for them. Even though they have repented and have been forgiven of their past sins, they are still so remorseful for those sins that they want to do everything possible to ensure they will no longer be blamed for them. True godly sorrow causes a Christian, not only to say "I am sorry"—not only to "make a confession,"—but to have such a genuine and eager desire to correct their errors and change their actions so that they will be pleasing to God.
yea, what indignation: The remorse of these Corinthian Christians was so great that they felt "indignation" (aganaktesis) or "outrage" (Strong 24), not toward others, but toward themselves by having committed the sins to begin with and for tolerating them as long as they did. An example of their tolerance is recorded by Paul when he says:
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you…Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (1 Corinthians 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:6).
yea, what fear: The word "fear" (phobos) in this phrase signifies the "alarm" (Strong 5401) of these Christians who had left the teachings of Paul about Jesus. Even though they have repented of their sins, they are understandably still concerned about the damage their past sins have created for Christianity and the church. This fear likely also included their fear about what Paul will do to them when he returns to Corinth. His future actions, of course, are dependent upon what the Corinthians do before his return. He has warned them in a previous letter, asking them, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" (1 Corinthians 4:21). If they had not repented, he promised to punish them; however, with true repentance he promised to come with gentleness and humbleness.
yea, what vehement desire: The words "vehement desire" (epipothesis) mean "a longing for" (Strong 1972). Likely, they are remembering the time they were with Paul when he lived in Corinth; now that they have corrected their errors, they are longing to see him again and be reconciled to him. Furthermore, while they dreaded any form of punishment that could have come from him, they now look forward to his return to ensure them that they have made a full restoration. In other words, they want to make sure that nothing else still needs to be corrected.
yea, what zeal: These repentant Christians had a "zeal" (zelos), that is, a "fervent mind" (Strong 2205) to do what was right and to show their dedication, not only to Jesus but also to the Apostle Paul. Their zeal is to make up, as much as possible, for the indifference they created between themselves and Paul.
yea, what revenge: Their desire to correct their own sinful actions also causes them to want "revenge" (ekdikesis) or "vindication (that is) retribution" (Strong 1557) from the false teachers who led them into wrong doings. They are not attempting to excuse themselves for their sinful actions or from being misled; however, they know that many of those who led them astray through false teachings are still active; therefore, they want these false teachers stopped!
In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter: Paul now comforts these repentant Christians and explains that, upon the report he has received from Titus, they have done what is necessary to correct their sinful actions; therefore, now they are "approved" (sunistao), meaning they are "clear (hagnos) in this matter." Since they are now free of blame, they are now considered to be "innocent" (Strong 53). Paul has no hard feeling toward them: he is simply thankful for their return to Jesus.
Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
There are different opinions regarding who the person is who has "done the wrong" as well as to who the person is who "suffered wrong." Most believe Paul is referring to the incestuous man spoken of in chapter five as being the one who "had done the wrong"; therefore, the one who has "suffered wrong" would have been the father. Another popular view is that the one who has "done the wrong" is the wayward Corinthian Christians and the one who has "suffered wrong" would have been the Apostle Paul himself.
Contextually, it appears that this last view, referring to the wayward Christians and Paul himself, is most likely the one intended. This writer takes this view because basically all the previous verses in this chapter, beginning with verse 1, refer to Paul and the Corinthian Christians. For example, in verse 1, Paul uses the pronoun "us" to refer to himself and the Corinthians. In verse 2, he pleads with them "to open your hearts to us (himself included). In verse 3, he refers to the wayward Christians being "in our (Paul) hearts." In verse 4, he refers to himself and the wayward Christians, saying, "great is my boasting on your behalf." In verse 6, he speaks of the fact that God has "comforted us by the coming of Titus" (Titus has given Paul the good report of the Corinthians’ repentance after receiving Paul’s previous letters). In verse 7, Paul mentions the fact that Titus "told us of your (Corinthians) earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me (Paul)." In verse 8, he mentions that his letter "made you (Corinthians) sorry with my (Paul’s) letter." In verse 9, he says, "I (Paul) rejoice, not that you (Corinthians) were made sorry…." In verses 10 and 11, he refers to "godly sorrow (that) produces repentance leading to salvation," which is what made Paul rejoice after Titus’ report (verse 7). Regardless, however, of who the people are who did the wrong or who suffered the wrong, Paul’s emphasis is not on either one of them, but on God as is noted when Paul says, "our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you."
Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong: Paul refers to the harsh-toned letter that he references earlier in this chapter saying:
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 (7:8).
He, now, explains that this letter was not written because of the Christian "that had done the wrong" (adikeo), that is, the one who is the "unjust offender" (Strong 91) spoken of earlier in this letter:
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him (2:6-8).
nor for his cause that suffered wrong: On the other hand, the harsh letter was also not written because of the person who had been wronged, that is, it was not written because these wayward Christians had wronged Paul himself.
but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you: The emphasis in this verse is about the purpose behind Paul’s writing this letter. Here, he clearly states that it was written specifically so that all the Corinthian Christians would understand the "care" (spoude), that is, the love that Paul has for them and that he knows they have for him. More importantly it was written because their spiritual change has been made "in the sight of God" (enopion), that is, their change has been made "in the presence of" (Strong 1799) God. Paul is more concerned for these Christians to be right "in the sight of God" than to be right in the sight of any man, including himself. "It was nothing less than their spiritual integrity which was at stake" (Hughes 276).
Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: Paul has been comforted because these wayward Christians have received, accepted, and obeyed the instructions in his letter.
yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all: Paul’s joy was greatly improved as the result of Titus’ joy and his encouragement while he was with the Corinthians. If the Corinthians had not accepted the instructions of Paul’s letter, he would have been depressed by his visit; however, since they had a positive response to the letter, Titus’ "spirit" (pneuma) that is, his "mind" (Strong 4151), was refreshed or put at "ease" (Strong 373) by them. No doubt, Titus had heard about the divisions among the Corinthians—about their self-glorying, the false teaching, their acts of taking one another to court, and many other sins; therefore, it appears he must have had some misgivings as to what kind of reception he would receive from the Corinthians. He was overjoyed, however, because of their response to Paul’s letters and the restoration seen in their obedience to the letters, as is made abundantly clear in verse 15 when Paul speaks of "the obedience of you all."
For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
The word "boasted" (kauchaomai) means "to vaunt…glory" (Strong 2744) in someone or something. Paul implies, here, that before Titus’ trip to Corinth he bragged to him about them. It appears he must have told Titus how these Christians were when he lived there and when he moved away from them. No doubt, after Titus left Paul and headed to Corinth, there was much apprehension in his mind as to how much change Titus would find in the lives of these Christians that he loves so much. Upon receiving Paul’s letters, however, they repented; therefore, Paul is having the honor of relating his earlier apprehension. More importantly, though, he is able to relate that their actions allow him not to be "ashamed" (kataischuno), that is, not to be "disgraced" (Strong 2617) by the descriptions that he gave to Titus. Instead, Paul says, "we spake all things to you in truth." In other words, everything Paul said about these Christians proves to be true.
And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
Titus’ "inward affection" (splagchnon) or his "tender mercy" (Strong 4698) for these Christians increased as he has witnessed their transformation from their departure from God’s word to their restoration to God’s word. Paul also makes sure that he tells the Corinthians that Titus reported to him "how with fear and trembling (they) received him." In other words, they showed total respect for Titus, whom they knew had come as a representative of Paul himself. They knew that he was there to report his findings back to Paul.
I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
Paul’s confidence in the Corinthian Christians has now been completely restored because of the report he receives from Titus. His confidence in the Corinthians is not only in the fact that they have repented and turned back to Jesus; but, his confidence in them confirms his belief that they will remain faithful in the future.