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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.


14. But if I have boasted any thing to him. He shows indirectly, how friendly a disposition he had always exercised towards the Corinthians, and with what sincerity and kindness he had judged of them; for at the very time that they seemed to be unworthy of commendation, he still promised much that was honorable on their behalf. Here truly we have a signal evidence of a rightly constituted and candid mind, — reproving to their face those that you love, and yet hoping well, and giving others good hopes respecting them. Such sincerity ought to have induced them not to take amiss any thing that proceeded from him. In the mean time, he takes this opportunity of setting before them again, in passing, his fidelity in all other matters. “You have hitherto had opportunity of knowing my candor, so that I have shown myself to be truthful, and not by any means fickle. I rejoice, therefore, that I have now also been found truthful, when boasting of you before others.”

15. His bowels more abundantly. As the bowels are the seat of the affections, the term is on that account employed to denote compassion, love, and every pious affection. 657657     “The word σπλάγχνα,” as is observed by Barnes in his Notes on 2 Corinthians 6:12, “commonly means in the Bible the tender affections. The Greek word properly denotes the upper viscera — the heart, the lungs, the liver. It is applied by Greek writers to denote those parts of victims which were eaten during or after the sacrifice. Hence it is applied to the heart, as the seat of the emotions and passions; and especially the tender affections — compassion, pity, love, etc. Our word bowels is applied usually to the lower viscera, and by no means expresses the idea of the word which is used in Greek.” — Ed. He wished, however, to express emphatically the idea, that while Titus had loved the Corinthians previously, he had been, at that time, more vehemently stirred up to love them; and that, from the innermost affections of his heart. Now, by these words he insinuates Titus into the affections of the Corinthians, as it is of advantage that the servants of Christ should be loved, that they may have it in their power to do the more good. He at the same time encourages them to go on well, that they may render themselves beloved by all the good.

With fear and trembling. By these two words he sometimes expresses simply respect, (Ephesians 6:5,) and this perhaps would not suit ill with this passage, though I should have no objection to view the trembling as mentioned particularly to mean, that, being conscious of having acted amiss, they were afraid to face him. It is true that even those, that are resolute in their iniquities, tremble at the sight of the judge, but voluntary trembling, that proceeds from ingenuous shame, is a sign of repentance. Whichever exposition you may choose, this passage teaches, what is a right reception for the ministers of Christ. Assuredly, it is not sumptuous banquets, it is not splendid apparel, it is not courteous and honorable salutations, it is not the plaudits of the multitude, that gratify the upright and faithful pastor. He experiences, on the other hand, an overflowing of delight, when the doctrine of salvation is received with reverence from his mouth, when he retains the authority that belongs to him for the edification of the Church, when the people give themselves up to his direction, to be regulated by his ministry under Christ’s banners. An example of this we see here in Titus. He at length, in the close, confirms again, what he had previously stated — that he had never been offended to such a degree, as altogether to distrust the Corinthians.

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