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We are Encouraged

We are Encouraged

Words of Faith 11-3-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 7

   [8] 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-- [9] 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 not on account of the one who did the wrong or 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.

 

       Paul's harsh letter had hurt the Corinthians. It had hurt Paul too. Hard communications work like that sometimes. Paul had not relished his role as a disciplinarian, and in fact he apparently had wished he had not sent it with Titus. Yet, because of the results, his regret was softened. In sorrow, the Corinthians acknowledged their failure and redressed the wrong.

       They had come to repentance, a change of mind involving action in accord with God's will. This was a godly sorrow like Peter's remorse after his denial of Christ. This was not a worldly sorrow which brings death like Judas' "sorrow" after he betrayed the Lord.

     The Corinthians' genuine sorrow produced many positive changes. In all this they proved they were innocent by virtue of their repentance. They had sinned not so much by doing wrong but by failing to do right and of this they had repented.

       Paul's primary motive in writing the letter was to benefit the Corinthians. Uppermost in his mind was their well-being which Paul realized was bound up with their acceptance of his message and of him as an apostle.

       The Corinthians' positive response to Paul and his letter had been a great encouragement to him. Added to this was Titus' elation at the reception he received. Despite Paul's affirmed confidence in the Corinthians, Titus might have been understandably hesitant to undertake this mission. But any trepidation Titus may have felt proved groundless.

       Actually, the Corinthians responded to him with deference, receiving him with fear and trembling. They zealously sought to carry out Paul's directives. As a result, Titus had great affection, splanchna or "inner emotion" for the Corinthians.

       Paul knew that all this was God's doing, but like a good pastor he commended the Corinthians and expressed his confidence in them after their positive response. He could only hope that the subjects he was about to discuss in chapters 8-13 would meet with the same spirit.

       Isn't it really great to see God work things out? God can do that. He can work out the most difficult of situations and conflicts, misunderstanding and struggles. If only we will let Him, God can heal things and create community that is part of the New Creation. By all this, we are encouraged.

 

       Father God, I rejoice in knowing that You can work things out between believers. I am grateful that You are ready and willing to enter into situations that are far beyond us to fix. You are the great healer. You are the great reconciler. Help us to trust You more. In Jesus' Name.