2 Corinthians 2
Paul continues to explain why he is delaying his visit to Corinth. He does not want to come to them with more rebukes, he wants to find them in sincere repentance for the terrible sin of being proud of tolerating sin in their midst as is also done in today’s Ekklesia.
2 Corinthians 2:1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. I did not want to come correcting in sorrow. 2:2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
Paul says; If I make you sorry unto sincere repentance; you make me glad by your repentance and I rejoice with you.
2:3 And I wrote this same unto you, [Paul wrote the First Letter to the Corinthians, instructing them to reject willful sinners and to abominate and loathe the sin] lest, when I came, I should have sorrow [because finding you in sin I would have to correct you in person instead of rejoicing with you over your repentance] from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; [Paul took no joy in correcting them for the wickedness of tolerating sin, but was full of sorrow that they were doing such a terrible thing; he was not trying to offend them but was trying to help them towards godliness.] not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
Paul corrected them [and us] out of love for them and us, in the hope that we might be saved from the wages of sin which is death.
2:5 But if any have caused grief [if any have grieved God by sinning, the main hurt has been done to themselves], he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
The open self-justifying sinner is to be rejected from the assemblies and when corporate church organizations have become so corrupted from godliness that they tolerate willful sin, refuse to repent and begin to reject the faithful to God; it is time to leave them and begin anew.
Nevertheless, if the sinner sincerely repents he should be fully forgiven.
2:7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Forgive all those who sincerely repent.
2:8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. [by forgiving him] 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you [to test us as to whether we will obey God and turn away from sinfulness], whether ye be obedient [to God’s Word] in all things.
If a person sincerely repents we are to forgive them, just as Jesus Christ and God the Father also forgive them.
2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person [on behalf of] of Christ; 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, [Paul was troubled] because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
Paul reveals another reason for going to Macedonia before coming to Corinth: to find Titus so as to bring Titus with him when he visits Corinth.
2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ [over all sin], and maketh manifest the savour [the sweet perfume of the gospel of godliness is preached] of his knowledge by us in every place. 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, [This is a reference to a Burnt Offering, the smoke of which ascends up to God. The Burnt Offering represents Jesus Christ giving himself wholly and without reservation to do God the Father’s will and his work ascends up to God as a wonderful perfume of faithful service.] in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2:16 To the one [the one who rejects living by every Word of God, stinks with the smell of death to God] we are the savour of death unto death; and to [those who accept the gospel and sincerely repent to live by every Word of God, are a perfume of godliness and eternal life to God] the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
2:17 For we are not as many, [Paul is not like others who pervert God’s Word] which corrupt the word of God: but [Paul and his associates are filled with honest sincerity] as of sincerity, but as of [as true men of] God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3
2 Corinthians 3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves [do we need to present credentials from men, or make grand claims about ourselves]? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
The true credentials of godliness are not the commendations of men, but the truth which is taught and the people who have been turned to godliness.
Likewise the love of error and falsehood and the rejection of the truth of the whole Word of God are the credentials of the wicked. Let he who has ears hear and understand.
3:2 Ye are our epistle [commendation] written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
The fruits of Paul’s preaching were evident in sincerely repentant believers; and his commendation that he has preached the truth. All true godly teachers may say the same thing.
3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [our teachings are inspired of God] is of God;
3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Keeping only the letter of the law engenders death; for we can keep the letter and still break the spirit and intent of God’s Word.
Keeping the law in the letter AND the spirit, gives life; as is evident in the resurrected Christ who kept both the letter and the spirit of the law and taught us to do likewise.
Beware of the false teachers who claim that the spirit of the Word of God does away with the letter of the law of God.
Technically we can keep the letter of the law without keeping the spirit of the law, but it is impossible to keep the spirit of the law without also keeping the letter of the law. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
In fact, the history of Israel reveals that one cannot even keep the letter of the law under the Mosaic Covenant, because that Covenant contained no promise of the Holy Spirit without which it is impossible to obey God in either letter or spirit.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministration of death [because there was no sacrifice for breaking the spirit of the law], written and engraven in stones [at Mount Sinai], was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away [the Mosaic Covenant was to end and a New Covenant was to come, Jeremiah 31:31]: 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the [the spiritual New Covenant which brings life eternal] spirit be rather glorious?
The spiritual New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, is much more glorious than the merely physical Mosaic Covenant; because the physical Mosaic Covenant ended with the death of the Husband of Israel, but the spiritual New Covenant is eternal: IF we keep it, obeying our LORD.
3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation [The Mosaic Covenant condemns us because we are not able to keep it, lacking the Spirit of God; and because there is no propitiation for breaking the spirit (intent) of the law.] be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
The Mosaic Covenant was a physical covenant with sacrifices for physical sin. Those who sinned could be reconciled to that Mosaic Covenant by the physical sacrifices, but there was no SPIRITUAL sacrifice for breaking the intent, purpose and spirit of the law.
That Mosaic Covenant which had no promise of eternal life, is surpassed by the spiritual New Covenant, that does promise and will produce eternal life for its adherents. The Mosaic Covenant was temporary; the spiritual New Covenant is eternal (Jer 31:31).
The New Covenant is a SPIRITUAL Covenant, which imparts SPIRITUAL knowledge and understanding of the purpose and intent, the spirit of the law. The New Covenant also provides an effectual sacrifice for the breaking of the intent, purpose and spirit of the law, and enables us to keep that spirit of the law, by placing a new spirit and attitude within us; the Spirit of God!
Remember, that one cannot keep the spirit of a nonexistent law: Therefore the law remains; and we are to keep all of God’s Word in BOTH the letter and the spirit of the law.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The New Covenant is that God will write His law upon our very hearts and in our minds so that God’s law and the whole Word of God becomes our very nature. As we grow in understanding we keep the Word of God more and more perfectly in the letter and the purpose, intent and spirit, becoming holy as God is holy!
By keeping and internalizing every Word of God, we ARE internalizing Jesus Christ and God the Father, and becoming like them! For the law defines the very nature of God!
3:10 For even that which was made glorious [the Mosaic Covenant] had no glory in this respect [lacking the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life], by reason of the glory that excelleth [which is the eternal spiritual New Covenant].
3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious [Paul knew the Mosaic Covenant was ended by the death of Christ the Husband], much more that which remaineth [the eternal New Covenant] is glorious.
3:12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness [boldness to speak openly] of speech: 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end [upon the glory of that which was to end] of that which is abolished [Paul clearly tells us that the Mosaic Covenant was abolished in his day and we know that a Marriage Covenant ends with the death of the Husband]: 3:14 But their minds [spirits] were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail [of sin] untaken away in the reading of the old testament [Mosaic Covenant]; which vail [of sin can only be removed by the application of the sacrifice of Christ] is done away in Christ.
This veil represents the sin of breaking the purpose and intent of the law; which the Mosaic Covenant had no real atonement for. The sacrifices of the Mosaic Covenant could not atone for sin against the spirit of the law; they only atoned for breaking the physical Mosaic Covenant and pictured the need for a spiritual atonement by the ultimate sacrifice of our Creator and the entering in of a New Covenant through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil [the veil of sin separating us from God and the spirit of the law; remains without the sacrifice of Christ; because the Mosaic Covenant had no effective propitiation to atone for spiritual sin] is upon their heart.
3:16 Nevertheless when it [they] shall turn to the Lord [sincerely repenting and accepting his sacrifice for sin and reconciling with God the Father], the veil [of sin] shall be taken away.
3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [freedom from bondage to sin]. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
We must go from the glory of the Mosaic Covenant into the greater glory of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31. We can then be changed into the likeness of the nature of God through his Spirit dwelling within us.
It is through sincere repentance and the true atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God; that the veil of sin separating us from God is removed; and the spirit of UNDERSTANDING of spiritual things can then lead us into the truth of God and empower us to live by every Word of God.