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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 7

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Verse 1

2 Corinthians 7:1


I. That part of the exhortation which requires the destruction of evil: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." By filthiness is meant moral pollution of any kind. It denotes not exclusively or especially any particular sin, but sin as such everything which renders the character loathsome in God's sight. (2) The words "flesh and spirit" we understand as denoting the seat of the sin. Filthiness of the flesh we take to be sin in its outward manifestation; filthiness of the spirit, sin in its internal emotions. (3) The cleansing required extends to both. (4) The extent of the cleansing required is shown by the use of the word all. He who would taste Christianity's joys and reap her rewards must have no favourite sins. He must cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. (5) The exhortation of the text shows us that, while God is the sanctifier of His people, there is an important sense in which we must sanctify ourselves.

II. That part of the exhortation which enjoins the cultivation of perfect holiness. Trusting in Christ for sanctification no less than for forgiveness is our first duty; for until we trust in Him and are united to Him by a living faith, no effort we may make in order to sanctify ourselves will be of any avail. The danger against which we need to be on our guard is that, instead of resting in Christ for sanctification, we should be persuading ourselves that we are sanctified, when it is only too manifest that we are resting, not in Christ, but in our own fancies about Christ resting not for but without sanctification, and thereby jeopardising our own souls.

W. Landels, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 328.

References: 2 Corinthians 7:1 . R. W. Dale, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxv., p. 81; F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Corinthians, p. 360. 2 Corinthians 7:2-8 . Ibid., p. 365. 2 Corinthians 7:4 . Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 265. 2 Corinthians 7:6 . S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Sermons, vol. iii., p. 213; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 51. 2 Corinthians 7:9 , 2 Corinthians 7:10 . F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Corinthians, p. 372; Ibid., Sermons, 3rd series, p. 104.

Verse 10

2 Corinthians 7:10


I. Godly sorrow: its nature and origin. (1) The nature of godly sorrow. In the immediate context it is directly contrasted with a commoner truth, the sorrow of the world. The sorrow of the world, though it seem a thick homogeneous covering over all human life, is yet made up of as many kinds as that carpet of green which covers the earth. Godly sorrow is like the rest, inasmuch as it is sorrow; it is unlike the rest, inasmuch as it springs, not out of the sufferer's connection with earth and time, but out of his connection with God and eternity. The expression clearly intimates that the attitude of the soul must be changed ere it can be sensible of this sorrow. Away from the world, with its hopes and fears, the man must turn, and open his inmost being towards God. Godly sorrow is an affection which the carnal mind never knew. (2) Consider the cause of this sorrow: "The goodness of God leadeth to repentance." The sorrow for sin was not felt until God's goodness aroused it; and that sorrow once aroused, instantly manifests true repentance in an eager effort to put sin away.

II. The repentance which godly sorrow produces. It is a change of mind which imparts a new direction to the whole life, as the turning of the helm changes the course of the ship. Two things are said in the text about this turning: (1) it is unto salvation; and (2) it is not to be repented of. The repentance which led unto salvation is the only repentance which the saved see in the memory of the past, and that repentance they will never repent.

W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits, p. 300.

References: 2 Corinthians 7:10 . A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, vol. ii., p. 113; C. C. Bartholomew, Sermons Chiefly Practical, p. 65; H. . Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 331; Ibid., Sermons, vol. ii., p. 31; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 287; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 122.

Verse 11

2 Corinthians 7:11

Marks of Godly Sorrow.

No sham work will suffice in religion. Heart work must be God's work. He who made the heart alone can change it from its natural hardness and stubbornness into one that is broken and contrite.

I. Godly sorrow is such a sorrow as God approves of, because it brings us to see the hatefulness of sin; because it has touched the heart and brought the offender back, in penitence, to his forgiving Father. Many a wounded and agonised conscience is like a sheet of ice shivered on the pavement, and which lies there stiff and cold; but let the sun burst forth in his might, and the frozen mass is melted. So, too, true godly sorrow is accompanied by the softening influences of the Holy Spirit, and brings forth fruit meet for repentance.

II. If we have really experienced this godly sorrow, it will assuredly have wrought in us great carefulness to seek an amendment of life: we shall feel ashamed and indignant with ourselves for our past misdoings; we shall cherish a wholesome fear of relapsing into evil ways; a vehement desire for pardon and sanctifying grace; a zeal for the honour of God and for the advancement of His kingdom; and a revenge, as it were, against the sinful lusts that once caused us to offend. While Sir Christopher Wren was engaged in demolishing the ruins of old St. Paul's, London, in order to make room for the new and grander cathedral, he used a battering-ram, with which thirty men continued to beat upon a part of the wall for a whole day. Our prayers and repentances may seem like puny agencies for overturning the strongholds of sin within us, but God can and will render them effectual in the end.

J. N. Norton, Every Sunday, p. 143.

References: 2 Corinthians 7:11-16 . F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Corinthians, p. 379. 2 Corinthians 7:16 . A. Maclaren, Christ in the Heart, p. 229. 2 Corinthians 8:1-12 . F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Corinthians, p. 387. 2 Corinthians 8:4 . Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 249. 2 Corinthians 8:5 . T. J. Crawford, The Preaching of the Cross, p. 299; Outline Sermons to Children, p. 234.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/2-corinthians-7.html.
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