September 26, 2011

Tuesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps.40, 1-16, 2 Sam. 17:15-23, 2 Cor. 6:11-7:1
Evening - Ps. 36:5, Ps. 47, Mt. 5:17-26

Commentary
2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1

Paul has taught the truth to the Corinthians. His mouth has been "open" unto them. But he gives not only his words to them; he gives his heart also. His heart is "enlarged." It is overflowing with compassion and feeling for the Corinthian people. His heart is as open to them as his mouth (6:11). If anything is holding them back from God, it is within themselves, not in him. Every true preacher of the Scriptures wants to be able to say he has taught the truth and opened his heart to the people in such a way as to place no obstacle in their way. If he has done this, any impediment to their peace with God lies in them. Note that Paul asks the Corinthians to open their hearts to him (6:13). Let the Church love and respect the ministers who love them enough to "set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments."

Unequally yoked (6:11-18) refers to following false teachers and false churches. Corinth was rife with men who claimed to be apostles, but were not sent from Christ and did not preach the truth. Revelation 2:2 shows false apostles were widespread and were troubling many churches. Paul says to follow them is to be like a calf joined with a strong, mature ox. This is a common way to train young oxen. The stronger ox takes the young one along with him by brute force, thus the young one learns to respond to commands and pull the load. This is a graphic picture of a soul learning the service of a false teacher.

In reality, being yoked to a false teacher is the same as being yoked to the devil (Belial in 6:15). As Christ has no peace or fellowship with the devil, a Christian can have no peace with the teaching of someone who does not believe or teach the truth. To attempt it is like light trying to fellowship with darkness, or righteousness trying to have fellowship with sin (6:14). It is like the Old Testament Jews placing idols in the Temple (1 Sam. 5:2, 2 Cor. 6:16).

Paul appeals to several Old Testament passages to show the Scriptural validity of this point. Notable among them is Isaiah 52:11, "go ye out from thence," which tells the Jews to leave the pagan city of ancient Babylon. "Wherefore, come ye out from among them and be ye separate" (6:17). The promises of verse 18 are for those who obey the will of Christ revealed in 14-17. This passage has tremendous application to the contemporary situation in which feelings rather than truth is the primary reason why people choose a church.

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