2Corinthians 7

Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 16, 2000


July 23 – 2Cor. 8-9; July 30 – 2Cor. 10-11; August 6 – 2Cor. 12-13

Paul has been talking about not being “unequally yoked” with non-believers.  When you get down to it, a believer and an unbeliever are light years apart in a spiritual sense.  When a Christian comes into a close partnership with an unbeliever there’s danger up ahead.

:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved,

What promises?  Those mentioned in vs. 16-18.

(2 Cor 6:16-18 KJV)  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

God promises to “receive us” if we keep ourselves separate from the world, from letting the worldly things become an influence on our lives.

:1  let us cleanse ourselves

cleansekatharizo (our word is “catharsis”) – to make clean, cleanse

Note that Paul includes himself.

:1  from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit

filthinessmolusmos defilement, an action by which anything is defiled  (from moluno, to stain, soil, defile)

Note:  Paul mentions both flesh and spirit, both the inner and the outer man.  Sometimes when we try to “clean up our act”, we only concern ourselves with the outer man, with just our actions.  Paul is saying here to clean up your inside as well.  It’s your thoughts that lead to your sinful actions.

:1 perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

perfectingepiteleo to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete

Achieving holiness is a lifelong, continuous process.  We need to work to complete that work in our lives.

The Greek grammar also seems to indicate that it’s the “cleansing of ourselves” that perfects the holiness.  The way to complete holiness is to cleanse yourself, inside and out.

holinesshagiosune majesty, holiness; moral purity; the state in man resulting from sanctification, God’s process of separating us for His exclusive use.

Holiness is wrapped up in the command back in 6:17, “be ye separate”.

Importance of holiness...

(Ezek 22:26-29 KJV)  Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. {27} Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. {28} And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. {29} The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
Judgment on Jerusalem came because they did not make any difference between what is holy or “special”, and what is profane or “common”.
Not making a difference between holy and profane means to use something in a way that it was not intended for.

It’s like taking an expensive surgical laser and using it to trim the bushes out in front of your house.

It’s what Belshazzar did in taking the holy vessels of the temple, and using them for his drunken feast (Dan.5).  God wasn’t too pleased.

It’s when we take our bodies, and use them for things that God isn’t thrilled with.  Just as at Belshazzar’s feast, we are God’s holy vessels.  What are we doing with them?  Where do we take them?

:2 Receive us

receive uschoreo to leave space (which may be filled or occupied by another), to make room, give place, yield

(2 Cor 7:2 NIV)  Make room for us in your hearts.

Paul is asking them to leave a corner of their heart for him.

:2 we have wronged no man

wrongedadikeo to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin,; to be a criminal, to have violated the laws in some way; to do wrong; to do hurt

:2  we have corrupted no man

corruptedphtheiro to corrupt, to destroy; in the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or "destroyed" when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties; to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide; to be destroyed, to perish; in an ethical sense, to corrupt, deprave

:2  we have defrauded no man.

defraudedpleonekteo to have more, or a greater part or share; to gain or take advantage of another, to overreach

Using your position to get more money or conveniences.

:4  I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

exceedinghuperperisseuo to abound beyond measure, abound exceedingly; to overflow, to enjoy abundantly

Paul’s not saying, “I have joy in our affliction”, he’s not saying, “I have more than enough joy in our affliction”, but he’s saying, “I have over and above more than enough joy in all our affliction”.

Is Paul just weird?

:5 For, when we were come into Macedonia

Acts 19 – 20:1

Paul had spent three years in Ephesus. During the end of that time, he wrote 1Corinthians, somewhere around Acts 19:22, in AD 56.  He sends the letter with Timothy, possibly Titus too.

Meanwhile, so many people in Ephesus were converted, it caused problems.

The idol-maker’s union was upset with business being slow.  A riot broke out, Paul had to flee for his life.
He leaves for Macedonia (Acts 20:1) by going north through Troas.  He waits for Titus, but when Titus doesn’t show, he moves on to Macedonia (2Cor. 2:12-13).
It’s here in Macedonia, probably Philippi, that he writes 2Corinthians, still around AD 56.

:5 we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

troubledthlibo to press (as grapes), press hard upon; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress

fightingsmache a fight or combat; of persons at variance, disputants etc., strife, contention; a quarrel

without...within... – it’s interesting that Paul says that his trials came not only in outward persecution, but inward fears as well.

:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down

comfortethparakaleo to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort. Same word used for the Holy Spirit, the Paraklete.

cast downtapeinos not rising far from the ground; as a condition, lowly, of low degree; brought low with grief, depressed; lowly in spirit, humble.

(2 Cor 7:6 NASB)  But God, who comforts the depressed

:6 comforted us by the coming of Titus;


Titus isn’t mentioned in the book of Acts, but Paul mentions him 13 times in his letters.

He is called his “son”, his “partner and fellow worker” and his “brother”. (Tit.1:4; 2Cor.8:13,23)

Titus probably came from Antioch (Acts 11:26), and accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; Gal.2:1) to give a gift to the famine stricken brothers.  Titus became a test case of whether a Gentile needed to be circumcised to be a Christian (Gal.2:3).

He accompanied Paul on his third journey (the present one), being sent to Corinth at least once.(2Cor.2:12)

Paul eventually leaves him in Crete to pastor the church there, and writes to him  the letter of “Titus”. (Titus 1:5)

During Paul’s last imprisonment in Rome, he was with Paul awhile, then left to go to Dalmatia (north west Greece?). (2Tim.4:10)

:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you

How God comforted Paul

1.  By the coming of Titus

Paul had missed seeing Titus in Troas and moved into Macedonia (2Cor.2:12,13).  In Macedonia, Titus caught up with Paul.  God used this friend to lift Paul’s spirits.

2.  By the comfort that Titus had received from the Corinthians.

Titus had been so comforted by the Corinthians in how they had gotten their act together and followed after God, that that comfort comforted Paul too.


God uses people to bring His comfort.

Sometimes God will just “supernaturally” give us comfort, direct from His throne.
But sometimes God will give us comfort through people.
We need to look to God for the comfort, but don’t be surprised is He uses a person to bring it.
Some of us like to think that we can manage without getting too close to other people.  And sometimes I’d like to think that we could all manage that way.  Getting too close to people is dangerous.  They’ll betray you.  They’ll be mean to you.
But God’s way is not to leave you alone.  God’s way is that we learn to help each other.

:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter

sorrylupeo to make sorrowful; to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow

When Paul wrote 1Corinthians, he had to get pretty tough on the Corinthians because of certain areas of sin in their church.

Paul was sorry that he had to cause them grief by writing them such a tough letter, but he also wasn’t sorry because they needed to hear it and change.


Tough Love

Sometimes we need to be up front and confront those who are not walking right in the Lord.
Sometimes it takes tough words to get through.
This is one of the least favorite things of mine to do.  I’d rather just wait and see if they change.  But they usually don’t.
Paul had the guts to even rebuke the first pope.
(Gal 2:11-14 KJV)  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. {12} For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. {13} And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. {14} But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Paul talked about how we are to do this:
Gal.6:1  Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

:8  I do not repent, though I did repent

There are going to be two different Greek words used in this passage for the word “repent”.  Here’s the first one …

repentmetamellomai – it is a care to one afterwards.  It means to “be sorry”.  It involves a “change” of “emotions”.  It’s having “regrets”, but not necessarily change of direction. This repentance is when you get caught doing something, and you feel bad about it.

:9  but that ye sorrowed to repentance

repentancemetanoia a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done.  This is the stronger, better word for “repentance”.  It doesn’t involve a “change of emotions” but a “change of choice”.  It involves a change of actions, a change of direction.  This is “true” repentance”.

The thing Paul is excited about is that the grief he caused the Corinthians with his letter had actually led to a real change, a real “repentance” in them.  He’s feeling bad that they felt sorrowful, but he’s very glad it brought a change.

:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

There are two kinds of “sorrow”.

1.  You can have sorrow over your sins that will lead you to change direction and follow the Lord.

This is a kind of “sorrow” that you’ll never regret, one that you’ll never be sorry for.
This is the kind of “repentance” that Esau was unable to produce.
Hebrews 12:16-17 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance (metanoia), though he sought it carefully with tears.
He cried a lot, but couldn’t find it in his heart to really change.

2.  You can feel sorry that you got caught.  You can feel sorrow that you’ve got a problem.  But you may not feel sorry enough to do anything about it.

This kind of “sorrow” will lead you to hell. 
This is what happened to Judas:
Matthew 27:3  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented (metamelomai) himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Judas “repented”, but his was just being “sorry”.  He was just sad for what he had done.

:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Tests of true repentance...

When I get to talking to someone about the subject of repentance, either in talking about how they can tell if someone else is sincere about repentance, or in talking about their own repentance in a certain area, I turn to this passage.  There are eight qualities here of true repentance.

1.  Carefulness (Earnestness)

carefulnessspoude haste, with haste; earnestness, diligence; earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything

True repentance deals with the sin immediately.  No delays.  Take care of the situation.  Correct it now.

2.  Clearing (vindication) of yourselves

clearingapologia verbal defence, speech in defence

It’s clearing your name.  Doing what’s necessary to clear the wrong you’ve done.
True repentance says “I’m sorry”

3.  Indignation

indignationaganaktesis indignation, irritation, vexation; (from agan, achomai; to grieve much)

True repentance is truly grieved and upset over its own sin.  Sometimes the victory in our lives over certain areas just doesn’t occur until we get to the point where our sin just totally makes us sick.

4.  Fear

phobon - fear.

Fear of God. 
Of displeasing God.
Of what they’ve done.

5.  Vehement desire (longing)

desireepipotheo to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; to lust

Repentance involves a deep, deep desire to do what’s right.  It’s a “lust”, but not for something forbidden, it’s a “lust” for something that’s right.

6.  Zeal

zealzelos excitement of mind, ardour, fervour of spirit; ardour in embracing, pursuing, defending anything

Jesus’ example...

(John 2:13-17 KJV)  And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, {14} And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: {15} And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; {16} And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. {17} And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Jesus had such a burning passion inside Him to do what was right that He took pretty severe action to get rid of a problem.

7.  Revenge (avenging of wrong)

revengeekdikesis a revenging, vengeance, punishment; meeting out of justice; doing justice to all parties.

The Bible says that we are not to take “vengeance” (Rom. 12:19), but that is when somebody has wronged us.
Here the idea is that you take “vengeance”, but for the sake of the person that YOU’VE wronged.
It means you pay the price to make things right.
Where there is a debt incurred, it is paid.
Don’t just say you’re sorry for breaking the window, fix it too.
If you’ve committed a crime, you do the time.

8.  In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (in everything demonstrated to be innocent)

approvedsunistao – to place together; to put together by way of composition or combination, to teach by combining and comparing; to show, prove, establish, exhibit

clearhagnos – pure; pure from carnality, chaste, modest; pure from every fault, immaculate; clean

the matterpragma – that which has been done, a deed, an accomplished fact

When a person is truly overcome with repentance, it affects their whole life.

It’s not like they only try to change the one area that you pointed out.  Their whole life turns over.

:12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

Some of the modern translations have the idea that Paul was wanting the people to see how much they cared for him. (a difference in the Greek manuscripts, humon versus hemon)

(2 Cor 7:12 NIV)  …but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.

I like the King James and New King James here – the idea that Paul didn’t write the harsh words just for the sake of the guy who had sinned, nor for the sake of the ones who had been hurt by the sin.

He did it to demonstrate his love as a shepherd over his flock.


If you care, you’ll confront.

People will know that you care for them when you risk being “the bad guy” and saying something that’s a little hard, but saying it in love.
(Prov 27:6 KJV)  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
(Prov 29:17 NASB)  Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.

:13  because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

refreshedanapauo to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength; to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest

Titus was probably expecting to get a fight from the Corinthians over Paul’s admonitions.  But instead, he was surprised to find them willing to repent.  He was encouraged and refreshed by them