Enjoying a stroll in Sofia, Bulgaria Sorrow upon Sorrow I Corinthians 7, part three Paul had written a severe letter calling the Corinthians to repent and to remove the false teachers whom they had previously welcomed. Paul had great joy when he heard that the church had responded with repentance. Verse 9ff says, "I now rejoice, not that you were made more sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance, for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death." This is very interesting to me. There are two types of sorrows contrasted. One sorrow is according to God’s will. A sorrow that has God as its source. On the other hand, there is a sorrow of the world that doesn’t end well. One sorrow that produces repentance leading to life and another sorrow, a worldly sorrow, leads to death.
This is a view from the roof of Trump tower in Chicago where I attended a business dinner last week. He’s a Hot Mess 2 Corinthians 7, part two “Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one,” verse 2. This chapter is not readily familiar to most but it has a couple of piercing and compelling themes. Paul is going deeper into a topic he referred to in 2:13; the severe letter. As a reminder, Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians in between 1 and 2 Corinthians. It is a lost letter to us now but is often referred to as the "severe letter." I Corinthians was fairly severe in its own right with Paul confronting divisions, divorce, immorality, etc. But this one, ‘the severe letter,’ we surmise, was really severe.
My daughter Beri in their new city of residence, Sofia, Bulgaria. Grace or works? 2 Corinthians 7, part one Chapter 6 closes with Paul quoting some OT promises. "I will welcome you, and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty." These are words of grace, inheritance, intimacy, adoption and kinship. Then, immediately after these words, Paul writes, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 7:1. This brings up an interesting question. Is the Christian life the receiving of grace or the pursuit of holiness?
Unequally Yoked 2 Corinthians 6 "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial (ancient name of Satan meaning worthless one) or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols. For we are the temple of God..." This passage is fairly straightforward. However, I'm struggling this morning with fitting it into the context of this chapter. In other words, it seems to come out of nowhere without being easily connected with the previous verses. When this happens, I believe it is best to take it at its simplest meaning without forcing it too much into the context.