Notes of Reading: 2 Corinthians 2

2 Corinthians 2  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
When we come to what is human in Paul (ver. 4), it is refreshing to see the character of it. It has such a color and freshness from what is divine. It is love that would not put up with a spot. Whatever it was that produced heaviness in v. 1, there was a deeper sorrow in his heart here. Love that is in heaviness and exercise about the cause of the sorrow, is able to guide to the grace that leads to restoration. In chap. i. we find the heart following the perfect One in the path of suffering. In chap. ii. it is going out after the erring one in love and sorrow.
Ver. 10. " To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also," &c. Love that acted individually in previous verses delights in fellowship here. Ver. 2. How serious a false step! Satan is in close proximity to seize an advantage. All this, in chap 2, is but the flowing out of that stream of grace that we saw in chap. 1. The Corinthians had been reluctant to put away. Now there was the fresh danger lest they should be slow to restore.
Ver. 14. The only man God can lead about in triumph is the man that keeps the sentence of death upon himself, lest Satan should triumph. The whole epistle gives us Paul led about in circumstances of humiliation, in weakness, and apparent defeat, to swell the triumph of Christ. The servant-witness is nowhere-Christ is everything; everything sacrificed for Him. What brightens up the scene is a man upon earth, if there be but one in whom God can delight -be it a Moses, or Elijah, or major or minor prophet. Chapter 1 is the pathway to the car of triumph of chap. 2:14. It is the only path of such a triumphal progress for Christ.
Ver. 15. " We are unto God a sweet savor of Christ " -that is, where one passes away from the mere revival element. God may use it, but no one could think it a sweet savor to God. Properly the gospel leaves nothing but these two extremes-saved or perishing. Christendom has brought in the intermediate. It is very important, as to the gospel, to think that the preaching of Christ should be unto death, but in any case a sweet savor of Christ unto God.
Ver. 17. The moral sense again. The word for "corrupt" brings in the thought of hire. Filthy lucre was already doing its work. The moment the flesh has reference to a man preaching, it can only get what man can give. It is very sad the influence it has. If we see the flesh in a servant of God unjudged, we should go on our knees, and not open a path to please him. " In the person of Christ" (v. 10), everything that is not brought to the point of the person gives Satan an advantage. He says you play into my hand, and have lost an opportunity for Christ. Either Christ or Satan gets the advantage. I go to the grace of God as the source of what is good. Approval is a most dangerous thing. In love we should be very slow to express it. So Paul goes right away in this epistle to "not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." Gift in the Church is a wonderful pedestal, if a man makes it so-a new opportunity for a fall. The rule of my action is, I do this "in the sight of God." God can take up such a man and use him for the glory of Christ.
Paul hides his authority here, acting in the name of Christ, because of moral correspondence of heart. There is the meekness and gentleness of Christ, yet the love that would not bear a spot. He wins them by what there was in Christ-His personal grace. Thus we have the exercises and activities of grace, when external and apostolic power and authority are gone. It is a wonderful inlet to Paul's heart and feelings. It is humbling to think of what one does not judge, what one covers up. It is never any good to cover up.