Thursday, February 07, 2019

2019.02.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11

Questions for Littles: Whom does the apostle call as witness against his soul (2 Corinthians 1:23)? Why had he stopped coming to Corinth? What did the apostle NOT have (2 Corinthians 1:24a)? With whom did they work? For what? By what did they stand (2 Corinthians 1:24b)? What had the apostle determined within himself (2 Corinthians 2:1)? What did he not want to do to them (2 Corinthians 2:2)? What was he hoping they would do for him? What did he not want to happen when he came (2 Corinthians 2:3)? What ought he have had from them? How did he expect them to respond to his own joy? Out of what had he written to them (2 Corinthians 2:4a)? With what? And what quantity of affliction and anguish? And what quantity of tears? But what was not the purpose of this? And what was the purpose of the writing? Who really was the cause of the grief (2 Corinthians 2:5)? What did the majority do (2 Corinthians 2:6)? What does the apostle tell them to do now in 2 Corinthians 2:7? Why? What does he urge them to do in 2 Corinthians 2:8? What had been another purpose of his previous letter (2 Corinthians 2:9)? And since they had obeyed, what does he say that they he will do if they have done it (2 Corinthians 2:10)? Why—who would like for them not to have forgiven? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, we see more of the misunderstanding that had occurred in the Corinthian church, what was the source of it, and what were the dangers of it.

Evidently, there were some who claimed that Paul not having come, but had written a grievous letter instead, was some kind of nastiness on Paul’s part. So, the apostle bares his heart a bit to them—expressing his longing for their joy and how he had hoped (as now has apparently been accomplished) that they would respond to the letter by obedience, so that when they again met in light of the repentance that had come about, this meeting would be one of great joy!

In fact, Paul says that the problem isn’t so much that the letter grieved them or the original offender. The problem is that the sin and rebellion of the offender threatened everyone with the necessary grief of the letter and the even greater possible grief of what would happen if the letter had not been obeyed.

But grief is not in and of itself desirable, and this one had now served its purpose. The congregation had punished the offender, and there had been repentance (cf. chapter 7). Now there is a new danger that threatens their joy: half-hearted reconciliation.

So the apostle is commanding forgiveness and comfort to keep the repentant offender from being over-sorrowful. And there is a command to demonstrate affection so that they not be left open to attacks of Satan, who trades in distancing believers from one another (cf. 1 Peter 5). May the Lord grant us good grief as necessary, and yet restoration of affection and prevention of distancing ourselves from one another, lest Satan successfully attack us!
What measures do you take to make sure that you maintain as close a love and as genuine a joy as possible between you and the other members of the church? Have you ever received a hard letter from or had a hard conversation with someone in spiritual authority over you? Did you obey? Why is it important to obey quickly? Why is it important, when there is repentance and obedience, to reconcile quickly?
Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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