Scripture reading for August 6th: 2nd Corinthians 7
God had made amazing promises to His people! He promised to be a Father to them and to adopt them as His own sons and daughters. He would be their God and they would be His people! “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.” (2nd Corinthians 7:1)
Paul pleaded with the church in Corinth to allow the promises of God to motivate them in pursuit of holiness. They were to break off unholy alliances with unbelievers and pursue everything that would please the Lord. They were to take the Word of God seriously. Sin contaminates body and spirit and hinders our relationship with God our Father. We must respect and honor Him enough to leave sin behind and pursue holiness.
Paul wrote to them to help them see areas that needed work. “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. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2nd Corinthians 7:8-10) When the Holy Spirit is at work through God’s Word, it produces sorrow for disobedience in the believer. This sorrow should produce repentance, a change of mind and action, that leads to holiness and life! Paul was now happy that the church members had responded properly. Have you experienced this ‘godly sorrow’ and truly repented?
Scripture reading for September 4th: 2nd Corinthians 7:8-16
According to Proverbs, the wise man loves discipline and receives knowledge from being corrected. Whoever hates discipline is just plain ‘stupid’. (Proverbs 12:1) In reality, most people don’t enjoy discipline and many don’t enjoy correcting others because it causes strife and conflict between people. Preachers have the task of correction and of teaching and preaching ‘truth’ from God’s word. This ‘truth’ is often not well received and brings sorrow to those who need the correction in their lives.
“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 be came sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2nd Corinthians 7:8-10) Paul’s letter to these Corinthians had brought correction in many matters. As a preacher, Paul felt bad that he made those who heard sorrowful about their actions and attitudes. He ended up happy because their sorrow led to repentance.
Repentance is the desire of God for His people. Paul had directed the Church at Corinth to put the immoral man out and turn him over to Satan. (1st Corinthians 5:3-5) His goal was that man’s salvation and the church’s purity. This instruction was hard and caused sorrow for many in that church, including Paul. However, this man was made sorry and brought to repentance. (2nd Corinthians 2:6-11) His repentance led to salvation and restoration back into the body! True repentance produces an eagerness to do what is right before God. This brings joy and encouragement to the whole church.
The church now was to take this person back into the body and restore him. They had done this and Paul was encouraged that they had listened to his wise counsel. (2nd Corinthians 7:12-13) Working through our problems by facing them God’s way is not always easy, but when we do it yields beautiful fruit.
Is there correction that God has given you that you need to respond to? Do you know a person who has responded by repentance that needs to be restored? Pray for God’s grace to obey!