2 Corinthians 7

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Read 2 Corinthians 7

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Paul’s Joy Over the Church’s Repentance

Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.

In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.

Go Deeper

In this chapter, we get more background on Paul’s back-and-forths with the Corinthians since his last letter to them. We know that Paul wrote them another strongly-worded letter (that’s now lost) after a really painful visit to the church at Corinth, and he waited anxiously for a report from his associate, Titus, on how the letter was received. But, good news! The Corinthians were not only grieved over their sinfulness, but they also repented and turned away from their sin. This left Paul overjoyed to know his letter had been well received.

There are a couple of things we can learn from Paul and the Corinthians from this chapter. First, sometimes as believers we need to play the role of Paul, boldly pointing out sin and calling others to repentance. For some reading this, that sounds terrifying. For others, that’s just a normal Tuesday to you. Either way, we should feel a burden for our brothers and sisters in Christ when we know they’re walking down a dangerous path. If we really love them, we will have to speak boldly to call them to repent and turn from their sin. 

Other times, we’ll have to model the same humility we see from the church at Corinth. No one likes being told they’re in the wrong. It’s human nature to get defensive. With as many back-and-forths as Paul had with them up until this point, one could assume the Corinthians didn’t receive rebuke well. But this time was different. Paul tells them that “your sorrow led you to repentance.” Clearly God had done a work in their hearts, and it led them to a genuine brokenness. God often uses other believers to call out the sinful parts of our lives.

This is why community is essential to the follower of Jesus. When people know us (and our ditches), they can help prevent us from falling into harmful patterns of sin and guide us back into a right relationship with God.

  1. All throughout this passage, Paul uses really emotive language. Which emotions stuck out to you as you read through it? What do these emotions tell you about Paul and the Corinthians?

  2. Is calling out sin in other believers something that is easy or difficult for you to do? Have you done this before? What did you learn from that experience?

  3. When was the last time you had your own sin called out? What was your response? How can you have a posture of humility when receiving rebuke?

Did You Know?

It took Paul a while to reconnect with Titus, causing him a great deal of anguish. He mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2 that he wasn’t in Troas (where he expected to find him), so he then headed towards Macedonia. Combine that with his concern over how the letter was going to be received and you can imagine the emotional toll that the whole situation had taken on Paul.

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8 thoughts on “2 Corinthians 7”

  1. Reading this reminds me of how we will gossip about someone who has gone astray from their faith or maybe acting out in such a painful hurt that now they fall away. How loving kind to not be afraid and to lovingly face to face share how much we love someone and see their pain being acted out in hopes and motivated all in the person coming back to God in repentance

  2. Lisa, as Christ-followers I believe God not only asks us to humbly confront but also walk beside those we’ve called out on their journey to healing.

  3. Paul reminds us in this ever shifting world where discord and conflict abound, God’s promises are trustworthy and unshakable. This should stir up reverence, gratitude and holiness in our hearts. As we see someone of faith go down a wrong path we are to intentionally step into the mess to restore them. How we do it matters—with humility & caution and always to help them, never in a prideful, condescending way. The following method was noted in my copy of scripture that Paul specified and followed:
    •be firm and bold
    •affirm all you see that is good
    •be accurate and honest
    •know the facts
    •follow up after confrontation
    •be gentle after being firm
    •speak words that reflect Christ’s ideas, not your own

  4. Humility as a Christ-follower is crucial. We should be an example to the unsaved as well as other Christians. The Corinthians can be that example for us of repentance and the change that makes in each of us.

    Culturally speaking, we are a bit all over the place – we gossip, overindulge, seek happiness outside of God’s love in the wrong places, obsess over social media and tell ourselves we have to be like the influencers we follow, etc. I choose to focus on verse 1 as it instructs us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit”, which most of our worldly desires fall within. I think Paul knew we’d need this reminder just as the Corinthians did.

  5. I am sorry. Those words are usually just placating words. The person saying them, does not mean them (generally). JP offers better words, that to me mean more and that is “will you please forgive me for…”. How you express yourself and the TONE in which you say those words, make the difference. There is a heart issue involved here as well. Do you really want to change, forgive or be told you are doing things incorrectly and be forgiven for those things? Here comes the prayerful part. Praying for that person, yourself or whomever is going to be doing some instruction. Softened hearts for both parties, listening ears to hear God’s correction and repentance for what needs to change. There can be no restoration without the genuine repentance. The Holy Spirit has been doing a work if that person is truly a Christ follower. “Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.” Oswald Chambers
    We go to church with all its programs and gather information but do we do the Word of God with practical application and action?

    God please let me have ears to hear when I need to be instructed. Thank You that I can take heed of those words, come to a place of restoration with man and with You with true repentance. Let me not be afraid. Decrease my pride, decrease this labor of self-love that is in me. God continue to place within me and help me with a humble heart to cease to care what men think. In me is nothing but through and in God is all things. Thank You that I do not just gather information but I learn and use that information to glorify, edify and honor You God in all in Jesus name amen

  6. Diane Frances Rogers

    God’s Word will not return void. As we learn or are gifted with discernment, then we will be led to minister to others. Let us put on the armor of God and be sure that we are not just being sin police. (guilty of this in my past) I am thankful God has molded me to be able to hear instruction and abide in Him. To God be all glory!

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