September 27, 2011

Wednesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 45, 2 Sm. 18:1-17, 2 Cor. 7:2-16
Evening - Ps. 62, 63, Mt. 5:27-37

Commentary
2 Corinthians 7:2-16

2 Corinthians 7:2 is part of a larger section of 2 Corinthians written to demonstrate the truth of Paul's claim in 2:17,

"For we are not as many who corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

The Corinthians had followed false apostles, and Paul is showing them that he and the other true Apostles are the ones who were called and commissioned by Christ. They are the ambassadors for Christ, who beseech the Church in Christ's stead (2 Cor. 6:20) and have taught the truth at great cost to themselves (2 Cor. 6:4-12). Therefore, or, "now for a recompence," this is what the Apostles desire from the Church; "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:13-14). Do not yoke yourselves with those who lead you astray and destroy your souls. "Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." It is difficult to find a clearer and more direct statement about how to deal with those who teach untruth in the name of God than 2 Cor. 6:14-17. It is also difficult to find a clearer and more direct statement about who is and who is not the true people of God than 2 Cor. 6:18. In a sense, 2 Cor. 6:14-18 is a conclusion drawn from the facts and statements found in 2 Cor. 2:17-6:12. That conclusion is; separate yourselves from the false apostles. 7:1 restates the conclusion in terms of cleansing yourselves of filthiness. We are to separate from the false teachers, and wash their teachings out of our minds as we would wash filth off our bodies. Strong language.

7:2 gives a second conclusion based on 2 Cor. 2:17-6:12; receive the true Apostles. This means more than simply loving or honouring them, it means to receive their teaching. It means to receive the Gospel that was taught to them by Christ, and preserved in their lives and work.

Verse 3 returns to demonstrating Paul's love and compassion for the Corinthians. He found no rest in his soul until hearing from Titus that things were going better in Corinth (7:5-6). Paul had heard of the strife in Corinth, and sent Titus to them with a letter from him. We know that letter as 1 Corinthians. This letter caused the Corinthians great sorrow (7:8) and it was very costly to return the church to the Apostles' doctrine. Yet Paul rejoices that they were made sorrowful because their sorrow led them to repent of sin and embrace the truth (7:9).

Verse 11 is somewhat difficult for some to understand because it commends the Corinthians for revenge. The verse does not mean that the church took personal revenge on others; only that they cleaned up the church and their own lives. They threw out the false teachers and their followers, they returned to the Biblical faith, and they returned to Biblical morality. Paul was greatly relieved when he received news of this from Titus. It was in the hope that they would do this that he wrote the 1 Corinthians. Now, being comforted by the news from Titus (7:13), he rejoices in confidence in the Corinthians (7:14-16).