Today Paul tells the Corinthians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers – “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Paul says since we are the temple of the living God, we should “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
The closer we draw to the Lord, the more grievous our sins become to us. Charles Spurgeon once said – “I suppose that, the nearer we get to heaven, the more conscious we shall be of our imperfections. The more light we get, the more we discover our own darkness. That which is scarcely accounted sin by some men, will be a grievous defilement to a tender conscience. It is not that we are greater sinners as we grow older, but that we have a finer sensibility of sin, and see that to be sin which we winked at in the days of our ignorance.”
Paul goes on to say that his heart is open to the Corinthians and he shares truth with them because of his love for them. He says although he did not enjoy previously writing them a harsh letter of rebuke, he is not sorry because it led them to godly repentance – “For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Worldly sorrow is simply being sorry because you got caught and have to suffer the consequences, but it does not result in a real change and turning from sinful behaviors which lead to death. However, godly sorrow leads one to true repentance for sinning against the Lord, resulting in a genuine change in a person’s life.
Paul continues to ask the Corinthians to complete the collection they started for the needy in Jerusalem. He tells them how the churches of Macedonia, even in their affliction, gave abundantly by grace – “And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” Then Paul encourages the Corinthians to give generously and joyfully with great anticipation that the Lord will use it to accomplish His awesome purposes – “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
We end today’s reading with Paul explaining that his authority and boldness as an apostle comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through his flesh. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Tomorrow we conclude the reading of 2 Corinthians. Keep reading. (2 Corinthians 6:14-10:18)