2 Corinthians 7 v 5 - 16

Again, let us remind ourselves that this is a letter from a founder of a church to the church fellowship and it is always vital, but perhaps especially in passages like these, to know the context of the writing. The connection of this section goes back to chapter 2 v 12, 13 where Paul is speaking of getting no rest because he didn't know what the response from the Corinthian church had been. Things had gone wrong in Corinth and in an attempt to mend them, Paul had travelled for a flying visit to see the believers, which had made things worse. Then he had despatched Titus with a letter of stern content and he had been so impatient to hear the response of the church to that letter that he had travelled to meet Titus as he had made his journey back. He had been overjoyed when he had heard that everything was well again and there was unity between the Corinthian believers and Paul once again. So, this tells us certain things about Paul's method and outlook on rebuke, one of the most difficult areas for any church leader: 1. He is clear that there is a time when rebuke is necessary. Trouble is like disease; if it is dealt with at the right time it can easily be eradicated; but if not it festers and spreads and becomes uncontainable. 2. It was the last thing Paul wanted to do. The rebuke which is given with a certain relish is never as effective as the rebuke which has clearly cost the rebuker a lot to come out with. 3. Paul's sole object in giving rebuke was to enable others to be what they ought to be: he sought to bless and grow others in the Christian life, not to stymie them. It was not done just to eradicate evil or to discourage, but to build up, to encourage, to lift his hearers up. Alongside, the pain of Paul's rebukes there is the joy: 1. The joy of reconciliation. 2. The joy of seeing someone whom you believe in justifying that belief. Titus had proved perfect in this situation. 3. The joy of seeing someone one loves being treated in the way you would want them treated. Titus was received with great kindness. Paul writes that the distinction between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow is that godly sorrow produces true repentance, whereas worldly sorrow is not sorrow so much for the sin or for the hurt it caused others, but resentment at being found out!


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