Updated 4 Oct 2019
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2 Corinthians 2
This chapter reminds us of the challenges that Paul faced in his relationship with the Corinthian Christians. Paul has addressed some difficult issues, but not everyone has understood what he is saying and why he is saying it. He handles the issue of forgiveness and encourages the Christians to exemplify the character of Christ in the midst of very difficult circumstances.
Paul knew that he had to confront serious matters, but wants God's people to know that he shed many tears and spoke the words that he did: not to cause pain, but because of his great love for them. He does have joy in doing what was right, but the delivery of his message was a hard thing for him to do.
Dealing with the Offender
It is likely that the problem to which Paul is referring is the incident of sexual sin, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5. Having stated that the incident was sinful and that the punishment to exclude the person from the church for a season was appropriate and necessary, he now wants to move on. If there has been repentance, there should now be forgiveness and a willingness to restore that person into fellowship.
God's forgiveness is remarkable and generous to those who truly repent. We must be also willing to forgive, in the same way that the Lord has forgiven us.
The Schemes of Satan
Paul helps us to understand that our enemy, Satan, is thorough, strategic and deceitful in all his ways. He loves to lead us into sin and to trap us in the consequences of our disobedience. However, Satan also wants God's people to be arrogant, proud and self-righteous. These attitudes can be as destructive as the sins they condemn. Therefore, we must walk very carefully with humble hearts, being alert to the enemy's agenda!
Discovering God's Will
Paul sought the Lord to be in the right place to preach the Gospel. He valued his partners and friends in the ministry and he particularly mentions Titus. The way that Paul valued his colleagues is very significant. Like us, he needed their support and their love.
In verse 14, Paul is referring to the way that a Roman army, returning from a victory, would march into the city. There would be a great welcome as the army arrived and captives and trophies from their victory would be displayed. Paul is picturing the victory that Christ has won over sin and death. Christ marched into heaven in triumph and we, freed from our sins, follow Him into that place where there is no sin, sorrow or death! We are on display, not in shame but as trophies of His grace and goodness to us.
The Aroma of Christ
Where there is death and suffering, there can often be very unpleasant smells that greatly disturb those who experience them. However, there is also the sweet smell that comes out of a good and healthy situation. Those of us who believe in Christ, are able to have a strong influence, which can deeply affect those around us. We are the fragrance of Christ, which is life and health to those who believe in Him, but for those who reject Christ, it is the smell of their death and eternal separation from God!
Motives for Preaching the Gospel
Paul concludes this chapter declaring that the purpose of his ministry is not for personal gain or profit. Paul is conscious that his ministry is always done in the sight and presence of God and, therefore, he knows that he has been sent by God and must speak with sincerity and integrity.
Points to Consider:
- How do we respond when we have to confront sin in the Church? Are we able to bring careful correction without fear or favour?
- How willing are we to forgive those who have brought dishonour to the body of Christ?
- Are we alert to the schemes of Satan and how do we avoid falling into the traps that he sets?
- Do we truly value those whom God has given to work alongside us?
- How aware are we of the great victory that Christ has won for us and the effect that this has upon those around us?
- Do we share a strong testimony of Christ to others and are we careful to watch our motives for sharing the Gospel?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 2
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