Scripture Study: 2 Corinthians 7

2 Corinthians 7  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Verse 1. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The promises referred to here are quoted in chapter 6:16-18, applying Leviticus 26:1212And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. (Leviticus 26:12) to us, though first written for Israel; and Isaiah 52:1111Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. (Isaiah 52:11) is also. Holiness becomes God’s house forever (Psa. 93:55Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever. (Psalm 93:5)), to be suitable for His presence, and that is where we are brought to. We must “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh,” that is, in our outward life and circumstances: and of “the spirit,” and that is in our thoughts and mind, occupying ourselves with good, and this is necessary if we are to have the Spirit dwelling, in us ungrieved, and that we might be in communion by the Spirit with God as our Father.
It is while here in this evil world we need to learn to fill our place for Christ and be in spirit out of it.
The words used are plain and emphatic, “Come out,” “be ye separate,” “touch not the unclean thing.” And it is surely worthwhile with this promise, “I will be to you for a Father, and ye shall be to me for sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
What encouragement this is to walk in simple obedience to His Word and in dependence on Him who is Almighty. It is to us, as to Abraham of old, “I am the Almighty God: walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” (Gen. 17:11And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1)). He will not fail any of those who put their trust in Him.
Verses 2-7. Having gone over what ministry is in its reality, he now returns to his own relationship with the Corinthians, that the bond of love in the truth might be strengthened which had been formed between them by the power of the Holy Spirit. He had been true to them. He had not wronged, nor corrupted, nor made gain of any one. It was in his heart still to die and live with them. He wanted them to know what satisfaction he had in their repentance. He was filled with comfort, and was joyful in his tribulation. Before he knew of their repentance, he had no rest; he was troubled for their souls; without were fightings, within were fears, but God who comforteth those that are cast down, comforted him by the coming of Titus; not only to see him again, but to hear the story, how they had comforted him, when he saw their earnest desire; how they mourned over their sin, and how they were sorry to grieve the apostle so much, so that now it was rejoicing to him.
Verses 8-10. He had been so long in hearing the answer to his letter which he was sure would make them sorry, that he regretted sending it; but now he did not regret it, for he saw the fruit of it was good, and their sorrow was to repentance. Their sorrow was godly sorrow, and not to their hurt but for their blessing, for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be regretted; the sorrow of the world worketh death. His joy now went beyond his sorrow, for he saw reality in them in their judgment of their ways. Now he seeks to bind up the wounds he had felt it necessary to make, and it was written by the inspiration of God.
Verse 11 tells what mingled exercise of soul they had gone through, and in the end approved themselves clear in the matter.
Verses 12-14. He had written, not for his cause who had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that his care for them in the sight of God might be seen by them. He was comforted in their comfort, and he rejoiced in the joy of Titus, because they had refreshed his spirit also, and his boasting to Titus of their reality, proved to be true.
Verse 15. His inward affection is increased and deepened towards them, while he remembers their obedience to the truth, and how with fear and trembling they received him, and he rejoices that his confidence in them as an assembly is unabated. He knows that some individuals may not have fully judged themselves, as we see in chapter 12, but that did not hinder his joy in the many.
In our chapter we see how God fits His Word to our human mind. We see the difference between the individuality of the apostle, and what inspiration is. We had in 1 Corinthians 7, the distinction between what he said as the result of his experience, and what he wrote as the commandments of the Lord. The difference here is in the experience itself. He wrote an inspired Epistle, and in his anxiety for them, fearing they had rejected him, regretted that he had sent it; then when the glad news came of their repentance, he is rejoicing in the good that had reached them, and his own sorrow is forgotten. All this is recorded by inspiration for our edification, that we might, in our small measure, be able to help others.