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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.


5. For when we had come into Macedonia The heaviness of his grief tends to show, how efficacious the consolation was. “I was pressed on every side,” says he, “by afflictions both internal and external. All this, however, has not prevented the joy that you have afforded me from prevailing over it, and even overflowing.” 639639     Calvin here has manifestly in his eye the singularly emphatic word made use of by Paul in the preceding verse — ὑπερπερισσεύομαι, I am exceeding joyful. “The word here used occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Romans 5:20. It is not found in the classic writers, and is a word which Paul evidently compounded, (from ὑπὲρ and περισσεύω,) and means to superabound over, to superabound greatly, or exceedingly. It is a word which would be used only when the heart was full, and when it would be difficult to find words to express its conceptions. Paul’s heart was full of joy, and he pours forth his feelings in the most fervid and glowing language — ‘I have joy which cannot be expressed.’” — Barnes.Ed. When he says that he had no rest in his flesh, it is as if he had said — “As a man, I had no relief.” 640640     “Je n’ay point eu de relasche ou soulagement;” — “I had no relief or alleviation.” For he excepts spiritual consolations, by which he was in the mean time sustained. He was afflicted, therefore, not merely in body, but also in mind, so that, as a man, he experienced nothing but great bitterness of afflictions.

Without were fightings By fightings he means outward assaults, with which his enemies molested him: fears he means the anxieties, that he endured on account of the internal maladies of the Church, for it was not so much by personal as by public evils, that he was disquieted. What he means, then, to say is this — that there were not merely avowed enemies that were hostile to him, but that he endured, nevertheless, much distress in consequence of domestic evils. For he saw how great was the infirmity of many, nay of almost all, and in the mean time what, and how diversified, were the machinations, by which Satan attempted to throw every thing into confusion — how few were wise, how few were sincere, how few were steadfast, and how many, on the other hand, were either mere pretenders, and worthless, or ambitious, or turbulent. Amidst these difficulties, the servants of God must of necessity feel alarmed, and be racked with anxieties; and so much the more on this account — that they are constrained to bear many things silently, that they may consult the peace of the Churches. Hence he expressed himself with propriety when he said — Without were fightings; within were fears. For faithful pastors openly set themselves in opposition to those enemies that avowedly attack Christ’s kingdom, but they are inwardly tormented, and endure secret tortures, when they see the Church afflicted with internal evils, for the exterminating of which they dare not openly sound the trumpet. 641641     “Pour les quelles chasser et y remedier, ils n’osent pas sonner la trompette tout haut, comme on dit:” — “For putting down which evils, and remedying them, they dare not sound the trumpet aloud, as they say.” But although he had almost incessant conflicts, it is probable that he was at that time more severely pressed than usual. The servants of Christ, undoubtedly, have scarcely at any time exemption from fears, and Paul was seldom free from outward fightings; but as he was at that time more violently oppressed, he makes use of the plural number — fightings and fears, meaning that he required to fight in many ways, and against various enemies, and that he had at the same time many kinds of fear.

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