For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.
II Corinthians 7
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted.
And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.
The love of God and love for fellow believers is evident. Even though the matter discussed produced a grieving, that love was manifest. That can be true even today. Correction is sometimes needful to remind us of how that love should be seen in us. But even in the correction, love of God and love for our neighbor can be manifest. The actions and words of a believer differ from the actions and the words of an unbeliever. That is God’s love shown to us all. When we engage in public put-downs of fellow believers, we are not showing God’s love. Paul did not publish a scathing report against those in the wrong on Facebook or to the news media. Paul addressed the wrong where it was and that only. His message of caution and concern was given to the body or bodies of believers the wrong affected. We should take note of that. There are those who today feel they must take it upon themselves to warn others of ‘false’ teachers and in their writings are seen seeds of envy and discord. That is not of God. If we feel someone is in error, we would do well to follow the examples set before us and address those individuals and the fellowships for which we are responsible. It does not further the kingdom of God to hang perceived ‘dirty laundry’ out for the world to see. It also does not demonstrate love for the fellow believer who may in fact be in error. What are we doing? Those of us who then pass along such comments and writings are joining with them in what they say and do. We would do well to consider carefully who we join with.
Psalm 119, “Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me …”.
Take on personal responsibility for knowing the genuine. Then the counterfeit is obvious. We must all be found daily in the Word of God, not dependent upon others to teach us for they may teach us wrong. Allow the Lord God and His Spirit to teach us. Then we know we have truth.