a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above


Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.


Paul’s Joy at the Church’s Repentance

2 Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction.

5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within. 6But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, 7and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly). 9Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. 11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter. 12So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God. 13In this we find comfort.

In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you. 14For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well. 15And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.


1. These promises, therefore. God, it is true, anticipates us in his promises by his pure favor; but when he has, of his own accord, conferred upon us his favor, he immediately afterwards requires from us gratitude in return. Thus what he said to Abraham, I am thy God, (Genesis 17:7,) was an offer of his undeserved goodness, yet he at the same time added what he required from him — Walk before me, and be thou perfect As, however, this second clause is not always expressed, Paul instructs us that in all the promises this condition is implied, 624624     “Ceste condition est tacitement attachee a toutes les promesses;” — “This condition is tacitly appended to all the promises.” that they must be incitements to us to promote the glory of God. For from what does he deduce an argument to stimulate us? It is from this, that God confers upon us such a distinguished honor. Such, then, is the nature of the promises, that they call us to sanctification, as if God had interposed by an implied agreement. We know, too, what the Scripture teaches in various passages in reference to the design of redemption, and the same thing must be viewed as applying to every token of his favor.

From all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Having already shown, that we are called to purity, 625625     “Appelez àpurete et sainctete;” — “Called to purity and holiness.” he now adds, that it ought to be seen in the body, as well as in the soul; for that the term flesh is taken here to mean the body, and the term spirit to mean the soul, is manifest from this, that if the term spirit meant the grace of regeneration, Paul’s statement in reference to the pollution of the spirit would be absurd. He would have us, therefore, pure from defilements, not merely inward, such as have God alone as their witness; but also outward, such as fall under the observation of men. “Let us not merely have chaste consciences in the sight of God. We must also consecrate to him our whole body and all its members, that no impurity may be seen in any part of us.” 626626     “Afin qu’il n’apparoisse en nul endroit de nous ancune macule ou souillure;” — “That there may not appear in any part of us any spot or filth.”

Now if we consider what is the point that he handles, we shall readily perceive, that those act with excessive impudence, 627627     “Combien sont impudens et deshontez;” — “How impudent they are and unabashed.” who excuse outward idolatry on I know not what pretexts. 628628     Calvin manifestly refers here, as in a variety of other instances, to the temporizing conduct of the Nicodemites. See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, pp. 286, 384. — Ed. For as inward impiety, and superstition, of whatever kind, is a defilement of the spirit, what will they understand by defilement of the flesh, but an outward profession of impiety, whether it be pretended, or uttered from the heart? They boast of a pure conscience; that, indeed, is on false grounds, but granting them what they falsely boast of, they have only the half of what Paul requires from believers. Hence they have no ground to think, that they have given satisfaction to God by that half; for let a person show any appearance of idolatry at all, or any indication of it, or take part in wicked or superstitious rites, even though he were — what he cannot be — perfectly upright in his own mind, he would, nevertheless, not be exempt from the guilt of polluting his body.

Perfecting holiness. As the verb ἐπιτελεῖν in Greek sometimes means, to perfect, and sometimes to perform sacred rites, 629629     It is employed by Herodotus in the sense of perfecting or completing, (see Herod. 1:51,) while in various instances it is made use of by him to mean — discharging a religious service — in connection with θρησκείας, (ceremonies,) εὐχωλας, (vows,) and θυσίας, (sacrifices.) See Herod. 2:37, 63, 4:26. — Ed. it is elegantly made use of here by Paul in the former signification, which is the more frequent one — in such a way, however, as to allude to sanctification, of which he is now treating. For while it denotes perfection, it seems to have been intentionally transferred to sacred offices, because there ought to be nothing defective in the service of God, but everything complete. Hence, in order that you may sanctify yourself to God aright, you must dedicate both body and soul entirely to him.

In the fear of God. For if the fear of God influences us, we will not be so much disposed to indulge ourselves, nor will there be a bursting forth of that audacity of wantonness, which showed itself among the Corinthians. For how does it happen, that many delight themselves so much in outward idolatry, and haughtily defend so gross a vice, unless it be, that they think that they mock God with impunity? If the fear of God had dominion over them, they would immediately, on the first moment, leave off all cavils, without requiring to be constrained to it by any disputations.

2 Corinthians 7:2-7

2. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

2. Capaces estote nostri: nemini fecimus iniuriam, neminem corrupimus, neminem fraudavimus.

3. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you

3. Non [hoc] ad condemnationem vestri dico: siquidem iam ante dixi vobis, quod in coribus nostris sitis ad commoriendum et convivendum.

4. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

4. Multa mihi fiducia erga vos, multa mihi gloriatio de vobis: impletus sum consolatione supra modum, exundo gaudio in omni tribulatione nostra.

5. For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

5. Etenim quum venissemus in Macedoniam, nullam relaxationem habuit caro nostra, sed in omnibus fuimus afflicti: foris pugnae, intus timores.

6. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

6. Sed qui consolatur humiles, consolatus est nos Deus in adventu Titi.

7. And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

7. Neque solum in adventu eius, sed in consolatione quam acceperat de vobis, annuntians nobis vestrum desiderium, vestras lacrimas, vestrum stadium pro me: ita ut magis gauderem.


2. Make room for us. Again he returns from a statement of doctrine to treat of what more especially concerns himself, but simply with this intention — that he may not lose his pains in admonishing the Corinthians. Nay more, he closes the preceding admonition with the same statement, which he had made use of by way of preface. For what is meant by the expressions Receive us, or Make room for us? It is equivalent to, Be ye enlarged, (2 Corinthians 6:13;) that is, “Do not allow corrupt affections, or unfavorable apprehensions, to prevent this doctrine from making its way into your minds, and obtaining a place within you. For as I lay myself out for your salvation with a fatherly zeal, it were unseemly that you should turn a deaf ear 630630     “Indignum esset me surdis fabulam canere;” — “It were unseemly that I should be like one that tells a story to the deaf.” A similar expression is made use of by Horace, (Ep. 2, 1, 200,) — “Scriptores autem narrare putaret asello fabellam surdo;” — “But he would think that the writers were telling a story to a deaf ass.” — Ed. upon me.” 631631     “Que ie perdisse mon temps en vous admonestant;” — “That I should lose my time in admonishing you.”

We have done injury to no man. He declares that there is no reason why they should have their minds alienated, 632632     “De luy ou de sa doctrine;” — “From him or from his doctrine.” inasmuch as he had not given them occasion of offense in any thing. Now he mentions three kinds of offenses, as to which he declares himself to be guiltless. The first is, manifest hurt or injury. The second is, the corruption that springs from false doctrine. The third is, defrauding or cheating in worldly goods. These are three things by which, for the most part, pastors 633633     “Les ministres et pasteurs;” — “Ministers and pastors.” are wont to alienate the minds of the people from them — when they conduct themselves in an overbearing manner, and, making their authority their pretext, break forth into tyrannical cruelty or unreasonableness,or when they draw aside from the right path those to whom they ought to have been guides, and infect them with the corruption of false doctrine, — or when they manifest an insatiable covetousness, by eagerly desiring what belongs to another. Should any one wish to have it in shorter compass-the first is, fierceness and an abuse of power by excessive insolence 634634     “Quand on est arrogant, et on abuse de la puissance en se desbordant et vsurpant plus qu’il ne faut;” — “When one is presumptuous, and abuses his power by going beyond bounds and assuming more than he ought.” the second, unfaithfulness in teaching. the third, avarice.

VIEWNAME is study