Today's Devotions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Showcase: Martyn Lloyd-Jones

  • Ignorant of the Truth: A sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones +

    "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto Read More
  • I Am A Debtor: A sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones +

    Paul was a man who could stand without any fear and without any apology in Athens on Mars' Hill. There Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Don  Carson

 

 

http://www.biblestudytools.com/passage/?q=2-samuel+8;+2-samuel+9

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-corinthians/2.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/ezekiel/16.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/passage.aspx?q=psalm+58;psalm+59

2 Samuel 8–9; 2 Corinthians 2; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 58–59

IT IS BEYOND THESE BRIEF REFLECTIONS to provide a history of the difficult visits and painful letters that generated deep emotion in the apostle's relations with the Corinthians.

Relations between Corinth and Paul are apparently improving in the opening chapters of 2 Corinthians, but remain a trifle raw.

In this context Paul devotes quite a bit of attention to explaining the nature of his ministry, whether its grand design or discrete decisions he has made. For example, in 2 Corinthians 1, it is fairly obvious that the Corinthians had charged Paul with being fickle. He had said he would come, and then he had changed plans and not arrived. Paul acknowledges that he had indeed changed plans, but insists this does not indicate fickleness (2 Cor. 1:15–17). In his conduct he tries to imitate God's steadfast faithfulness (2 Cor. 1:18–22).

And then he gives the real reason why he did not show up: he was trying to spare the Corinthians, for he knew that if he had shown up at that point he would have had to take action that would have caused even more distress (2 Cor. 1:23–2:2).

In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul is still unpacking various elements of his ministry. Here we note two.

First, Paul understands his ministry to be akin to a device that distributes the fragrance of the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 2:14). Otherwise put, before God Paul himself is an aroma, "the aroma of Christ among both those who are being saved and those who are perishing" (2 Cor. 2:15). "To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life" (2 Cor. 2:16). In other words, Paul insists that he does not himself change, depending on his audience. He is the same aroma; he proclaims the same Gospel, the same discipleship, the same Christ, the same way to live. Whether he is perceived to be a sweet fragrance or a foul stench does not depend on some change in him, but on the people who must deal with him. Implicitly, the Corinthians must recognize that some animus against the apostle is the animus of the unregenerate heart. "And who is equal to such a task?" (2 Cor. 2:16).

Second, many Corinthians (as becomes clear later in this letter) thought that teachers should command substantial salaries, and if they didn't, they weren't worth much. In that kind of atmosphere, it would be easy to despise even a gifted apostolic teacher who refused your money. But because he was teaching a gospel of grace, Paul evangelized for free. (He accepted support money from elsewhere.) On the long haul, he did not want to gain a reputation for peddling the word of God for profit; rather, he wanted to be known as a man sent from God (2 Cor. 2:17).

2 Samuel 8–9; 2 Corinthians 2; Ezekiel 16; Psalms 58–59

is a post from: For the Love of God

Reflections to Consider

  • 1

Publications

  • 1

Music

  • 1

Audio & Video

  • 1

Favorites

  • He Washed It White As Snow: Jesus Paid It All +

    Kristian Stanfill performing. I hear the Savior say Thy strength indeed is small Child of weakness watch and pray Find Read More
  • The Doctrine of Satan and Demons: Wayne Grudem (outline) +

    The following is an outline from Wayne Grudem for chapter 20 of his book, Systematic Theology, dealing with Satan and Read More
  • The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis (complete) +

    THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by C. S. LEWIS Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford TO J. R. R. TOLKIEN "The best way Read More
  • The Screwtape Letters: Outline +

    Chapter Outline Preface: Introducing the conceit that the letters were "found" and are "true", although Lewis takes care to point Read More
  • 1

Hidden Blessings

  • Postmodern Holiness by Dallas Willard +

    What does it mean to be holy? Read More
  • Reflections on John 14 by Dallas Willard +

    Lecture entitled "Reflections on John 14"delivered at Azusa Pacific University, Read More
  • Francis Chan: Sermon on Holiness +

    Francis Chan discusses the importance of holiness, the need to follow the word of God to have our prayers heard.  Read More
  • 1