Make Room for Us
2 Corinthians 7:2-4 ESV
“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.”
When we are teaching the Scriptures in their fullness, under the New Covenant, and under the authority of the Scriptures and God himself, we are opening ourselves wide to face all kinds of accusations against us. And, that is because so much of what is being taught today in the gatherings of the church is cherry picked Scriptures taken out of context and interpreted in a way to tickle itching ears and to appease the flesh of man.
But it isn’t just that. It is that those who are teaching a diluted gospel are also on the all-out attack against the true gospel of Christ and against the Lord’s servants and messengers who are sharing the truth of the gospel.
Thus, many of them are accusing us of being harsh, unloving, unkind, intolerant, self-righteous, legalistic, combative, and accusatory, etc. And, they are also accusing us of being teachers of “works-based salvation,” i.e. of teaching a false gospel.
And, apparently this is what Paul was facing here, too, for he came under accusation often for being too strong in what he taught by those who didn’t want to accept such sternness or such rigid restrictions for believers in Jesus as Paul often taught. For, he taught holiness, and he taught separation from the world, and he taught church discipline for blatant immorality, too.
But so many are being taught today that confronting sin, calling for repentance and for obedient faith in Jesus Christ, and calling for those who say they believe in Jesus to submit to his Lordship, that it is a false gospel, and that it is unloving and unkind.
But teaching the truth is actually the most loving thing any of us could do for another. Warning them of the dangers of living in sin, and calling them to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, if they will accept that, will save their lives from hell, and will give them life with Christ eternal.
Afflicted at Every Turn
2 Corinthians 7:5-7 ESV
“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.”
Those who have given their lives to the Lord for full-time ministry, even if they work other jobs, too, or even if they have other obligations of family, etc., they are the Lord’s to do what God has called them to do and to say. And, that often means self-sacrifice and being on God’s timetable, not theirs.
An example I can give you from my own life is that the Lord will wake me up at different hours of the night when he wants me to write. And, it may mean I only slept an hour or two, but I must get up and do what he says, for I know he knows who is to receive these and when they will be available to receive them, for not everyone is on the same time zone as I am.
So, my husband Rick and I were on our way home from a store this afternoon. I was very tired, and I wanted to go home and sleep. Just as I said that to my husband, the song “Oceans” began playing in my mind. I knew immediately what that meant. I was not to sleep. He was taking me deeper, and I must go with him where he was leading me and I must deny my flesh.
Also, I can tell you from personal experience that when you obey the Lord and you do what he says to do, and you say what he leads you to say, you are going to face opposition, and you will be falsely accused, and people will attack you, and that can be wearing (draining) on you emotionally.
So, it is wonderful when you get some encouragement, and when someone shares with you that what you said was just what they needed to hear. And, sometimes that brings tears to your eyes, too, when you have had a long haul of opposition. It helps to be assured that what you are doing is making a difference in some people’s lives. That is much cause for rejoicing!
Godly Grief Leading to Repentance
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 ESV
“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.”
Amen! Yes, when we teach the “hard truths,” as Jesus did, and as his New Testament apostles did, it is going to upset some people, usually those who are not walking by the Spirit but who are still walking according to the flesh, or those who have been giving in to particular sins regularly.
But we don’t say these things to be mean. Jesus didn’t! The apostles didn’t! We teach these “hard truths” because we love people, and because we are burdened for them, for we see how sin is destroying their lives and their relationships with others.
But our hope is that, by teaching the “hard truths” of Scripture that it will lead people to genuine repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ. Amen! For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret. And, this kind of repentance leads to changed hearts and lives and to people leaving their sins behind them to follow Jesus and his word.
But there is a grief or a sorrow over sin that does not lead to genuine repentance. And, that involves a temporary sadness over their sin or over being caught in sin, but which does not produce changed hearts or lives. And, some people continue in this sin, confess, sin, confess, sin cycle indefinitely, never truly ever coming to genuine repentance and obedient faith, and that is a tragedy!
But true repentance and genuine faith in Jesus Christ will lead us to following our Lord wherever he would lead us, even into deep waters where our faith will be tested, and where we will face much opposition and persecution for our testimonies for our Lord. But we can be encouraged in knowing that God is working in people’s hearts and that we are making a difference.
Oceans / Hillsong United
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Oh, Jesus, you’re my God!
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
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