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Chapter VII

The Effect of Paul's First Letter at Corinth

SummaryPaul's Freedom of Speech to the Corinthians. His Anxiety Until Titus Came. The Consolation of the News from Corinth. His Letter Produced Sorrow; Then Repentance. His Severe Words not Due to Ill-Will for the Offender, nor for Them, but to Lead Them to Clearing Themselves.

1. Having therefore these promises. Those named in the 17th and 18th verses of the preceding chapter. This verse is properly in that connection, and should not have been separated by the chapter division. Let us cleanse ourselves. See 6:17 above. From all filthiness of the flesh. All sensual sins, such as those to which the Corinthians were addicted. And of the spirit. The spirit of a man is defiled by such sins as those named in Gal. 5:19–21. Perfecting holiness. Every Christian in purifying himself should strive for greater holiness and constantly seek to attain to the ideal of which Christ is the example.

2–4. Receive us. Make room in your hearts for us and our admonitions. Compare 6:11–13. We wronged no man. In the severe charges of his first letter. We corrupted no man. Probably this is an answer to the vile insinuations of his adversaries at Corinth. 3. I say not this to condemn you. I do not accuse you of making these charges against me. Yet he knew well that they had been made by Judaizers and others at Corinth. I have said before. See 6:11, 12. What follows is an expression of undying affection. 4. Great is my boldness of speech, etc. This verse declares that he is overflowing with joyful feeling. The next section explains its cause. 146

5–7. For when we were come into Macedonia. He first came from Ephesus to Troas (2:12), and expected to meet Titus there with word from Corinth concerning the effect of his first letter. Not meeting him, he went on to Macedonia in great distress of mind. Our flesh had no rest. Compare with this 2:13. Without were fightings. Conflicts with enemies of Christ. Within were fears. Lest the church at Corinth might make shipwreck. 6. Nevertheless God … comforted us by the coming of Titus. Titus brought to him the joyful news of repentance and reformation at Corinth. This news turned his affliction to joy. 7. Not by his coming only. He rejoiced to meet again a well-beloved fellow laborer, but rejoiced still more over the news which he brought. Your earnest desire. To cleanse themselves from fault. Your mourning. Over the reproof of their sins. Your fervent mind toward me. Affection for and zeal to please me.

8–11. I do not repent. “Regret,” as in the Revision. The Greek word rendered repent in this verse, is not the one rendered repentance in verses 9 and 10. The Revision preserves the distinction throughout. His first letter made them sorry, and at one time he regretted sending it, because he feared it would not work the result he wished, but since it had, he did not regret that he sent it. 9. Now I rejoice. Not because they were made sorry, but that their sorrow brought repentance. Observe, (1) that regret is not repentance; (2) that sorrow is not repentance; (3) that godly sorrow (verse 10) works repentance, or, in other words, repentance results from godly sorrow, or sorrowing in a way pleasing to God. 10. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of. The steps are (1) godly sorrow; (2) repentance as a result of godly sorrow; (3) salvation secured by repentance; (4) this effect of repentance is never regretted. See Revision. The difference of repentance from sorrow and regret is seen when we bear in mind that it means the change of mind and heart wrought by godly sorrow for sin. The state implied by repentance always leads to a change of life. The Common Version here and elsewhere has made confusion by translating two Greek words which mean different things by the same English term. One, rendered by the Revision “regret,” is found in Matt. 27:3, 5; the other, properly rendered “repent,” is found in Acts 2:38. The sorrow of the world. Not godly sorrow, but remorse. The sorrow of Judas was remorse. In the case of many besides Judas, it has resulted in despair, which has led to destruction of life, or to eternal death. 11. For behold this self-same thing. Here is proof that they “sorrowed after a godly sort.” They repented and brought forth the fruits of repentance. What earnest care. No indifference 147any longer. What clearing of yourselves. From all responsibility for the sins of the incestuous person (1 Cor. 5:1, 2; 2 Cor. 2:6–8). What indignation. Against the deed that disgraced the church. What revenge. What punishment of the offense committed.

12–16. Though I wrote unto you, etc. The language that follows in this verse has caused some confusion. Paul evidently means to say that he did not write his stern charge, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, so much on account of the wrong doer, the incestuous person, nor on account of the person he had injured (his father), as to manifest his earnest care for the welfare of the church. 13. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort. He still pours forth his joy over the happy change in the church, a joy due to his great affection for it. 14. For if I have boasted anything to him of you. If he had done so, their prompt repentance showed that his boasting was well founded. 15. And his inward affection, etc. He had not been received with distrust or coldness or stubborn disobedience, but in a humble and repentant Christian spirit, which had greatly increased his affection. 16. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you. Rather, that I am greatly encouraged concerning you. 147

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