Reading for Wednesday, Sept 26: 2 Cor 7
Paul does some pastoral work here in this chapter. He references his previous letter and some of the harsh words he had for the Corinthians. But he’s happy to have the relationship with these brothers that can bear the weight of truth-telling. We could use some of this relational dexterity in our churches today. For it is only the voice of love that can grieve unto repentance (v9).
With his comments re: our identity as temples of God in view, Paul urges a commitment to holiness: “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,” (v1). Moreover, this work is to be done together. “Make room in your hearts for us,” Paul says in v2, “for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together (v3).” This proverb, common in Paul’s day, captures the essence of Kingdom life. We share a common death in Christ, but how rich the life we also share along the Way. This grounds all that Paul knows of life in the church. It grounds his comments here, even the more rebuking tone of his previous letter. All is done in love, a communal love born from our common recognition of the lordship of Christ. This bond should be great enough to bear the freight of truth, even painful truth, as we repent together and love from the deep places of heart and soul.