Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Word for Thursday, June 24

Second Corinthians, chapter 2:
But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful? And this is the very thing I wrote you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.

But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree -- in order not to say too much -- to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, lest somehow such a one be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord, I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.

But thanks be to God, who also leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.
This chapter seems to mostly concern a church discipline matter that Paul first addressed in his previous letter (1 Corinthians 5). In that chapter, Paul lays down that the church is responsible to rebuke immorality within itself, excluding the strayed believer from all fellowship if need be, although the church is also explicitly told not to concern itself with immorality among unbelievers. (Contrast that with the church today.) Then, in the chapter above, Paul teaches that love and forgiveness are to limit discipline, and that the church is to work to bring discipline to its ideal conclusion: reconciliation. I don't suppose it always happens, but it is always to be the goal.

The last paragraph: poetry, on which I have no comment worthy to be made. Who, indeed, is adequate for these things? Not me. Not this year, at least.

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