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After Paul wrote to the Corinthians scolding them for being divided and for allowing sin in the Family, a man named Titus brought news back to Paul telling him what the Corinthians did when they read the letter.
When Paul heard the news, he wrote the Corinthians a second letter. Listen to see if they repented and took action on what Paul told them.
I had great pain in my heart and tears in my eyes when I wrote that letter (not to make you sad, but because I want you to know just how much I love you).
It was really the man living in sin who made all of us sad. But he’s had enough discipline from you, so now you should forgive him so that he doesn’t totally give up hope. Make sure he knows you love him. If you forgive him, then I’ll also forgive him.
What do you think? Did the Corinthians take action to obey what both Jesus and Paul said about being set apart as special and getting sin out, out, out of God’s House? Yes, they did. The church in Corinth stopped letting that man living in sin be inside their wall of protection.
And did you notice what happened? The man was so sorry and so ready to stop sinning that Paul said they’d better hurry back to him and start loving on him again.
They were able to help the man because they obeyed and shined God’s Light onto the problem.
Now it’s worth noting that God’s way in this only worked because the Corinthians were a True Church. Without those supernatural walls and Anointed-Daily-Holy-Spirit-Life Together… that man wouldn’t have felt anything whatsoever.
But because the Corinthians were a True Expression of God on earth, when they held up God’s Light and shut out of their lives someone who was sinning with no sorrow and no intention to change, it turned out to be the Best for everyone — the Best for God’s family because they got rid of the unholiness in their mix that was hurting all of them; and the Best for the man, who learned from the discipline and was ready to change.
As Paul went on in his letter to them, he talked to them more about being a people whose lives Shine with the Light and Glory of God:
To those who are on the path to death, we smell like something they don't like. But to those who are being saved, we smell like a sweet, beautiful perfume.
Even if some people don’t see the good news we offer, it’s only hard to see for those who are dying because the devil has blinded the minds of those who won’t choose to see with Heaven-Eyes. They don’t believe, so they don’t see the Light — the Light of the Glory of the Good News of the Anointed Jesus, the image of God.
The God who in the beginning said, “Let there be Light” is the same one who shined in our hearts to give us the Light of the Glorious Wonder of Knowing God through the face of Jesus.
He put this glorious treasure in weak, clay jars — us! So it’s clear this wonder-working power in us is something HE did.
God’s glory isn’t usually a physical sparkle or shine. (Although it can happen that way, like it did with Moses and Stephen). His glory is a supernatural sparkle that expresses the Beauty and Wonder of Jesus — His LIFE.
As those who are His learn to live more and more saturated in Jesus’ Spirit, we shine out more and more of Jesus’ Glory. We are more like Him, more like Him, more like Him… Which means we grow more glorious, more glorious, more Glorious.
But HE is the source of this glorious light. We’re just a dirt container — a clay jar. When we keep our Heaven-Eyes glued on Jesus, the Glory from His face shines on our faces and then bounces back out to the world around us!
Our short-lasting owies are building in us a forever-growing Glory because we’re not looking at the temporary seen world stuff but at the forever Unseen stuff.
Don’t be joined together with those who don’t believe. How can Right living and wild living be buddies? They can’t! Can Light hold hands with darkness? No. Can Jesus and satan sing the same song? Absolutely not! So what do a believer and unbeliever have in common? Can the temple of God and idols make a deal together? NO. And who is the REAL Temple of God? We are!
God said, “I will live in them and will walk among them. I will be their God and they will be My people. So, step away and be set apart. Don’t touch anything that will make you dirty to God. And I will welcome you and be a Father to you, and you will be My children.”
O Corinthians, since we have the promises from God, let’s make ourselves clean from everything that is self-life flesh and dirties our spirit. This way we will be set apart as special for God.
By the way, I am encouraged and happy in the middle of all our pain. We’ve been facing troubles from every direction — attacks from the outside and fears from the inside. But God strengthened us and gave us more courage when Titus showed up with the news from you.
This made me happy because even though my letter may have made you sad, it’s okay if I caused you a little sting of pain… because the most important thing is that you’re closer to Jesus. Your sadness helped you take action and change. So you see, you weren’t hurt by a little sting! Because a Godly sadness produces change that saves you, with no looking back. But it’s worldly sadness and self-pity that brings only death.
Did you notice Paul just mentioned a right and wrong way we can be sad when we are scolded? We can have a worldly sorrow that just feels sad and embarrassed and thinks “poor me… I’m trying, but I’m just not good enough.” That kind of wrong, worldly sadness will hang its head or pout or stomp its feet. But those responses are just about self and me, me, me.
When we respond that way instead of simply changing, something inside of us dies. It’s taking a step away from Jesus instead of closer because being sad is not the same as being humble.
But there is another choice! We can choose to have a Godly sadness like the Corinthians had. When disciplined and corrected, we can choose to be soft and honest and sorry. Not feeling sorry for ourselves, but sorry that we hurt Jesus (and maybe even someone else). That Godly kind of sadness for our sins is a way to step closer to Jesus and to those around us. Remember, if you wanna change, sometimes you gotta go through a little sting.
Look at what good things this Godly sorrow brought with it! It built in you an eagerness to clear yourself of wrong, an anger and alarm at sin, a deep concern, and the much-needed discipline for the guilty person. So now you have shown you are innocent. And yes we have been encouraged! I told Titus you would come out brighter, and you have not embarrassed me. And Titus has perked up with energy and thinks of you even more tenderly than before, and I rejoice because I am confident in you. I believe in you. You’re gonna be alright.