2 Corinthians 2:3…
What had made Paul so sorrowful?
Well, for one thing, it was his love for the church at Corinth, and the direction he had seen them headed. I’m sure his sorrow had been greatly magnified by their divisiveness toward him, and how he couldn’t be certain how they would receive his words of correction contained in his first letter sent two years prior…
It is one thing to correct someone when you have a good idea they understand your words are based on your love for them, and in their love for you is the hope they will be heard and carefully considered – and followed, based upon their knowledge of your love and also your Godly wisdom.
Unfortunately, Paul had none of those assurances with the church at Corinth.
In fact, it seems just the opposite. Paul sent the necessary letter of correction fearing the worst. It hadn’t produced anger in Paul, but sorrow. Grief. Affliction. Would they see his love for them in his words?
And his sorrow was only amplified by his certainty his grief was nothing in comparison to the grief they would experience should they choose to remain on the path they were presently on.
(This gives us great insight into how God feels when He sees a church becoming engulfed in carnality. And, knowing Christ – unlike Paul – actually sees the end result of that wrong direction only makes it worse.)
But now Paul had heard back how his letter was received – and how the church at Corinth had read and followed his instruction – to the letter.
We can only imagine how joyful Paul was about hearing this news from Titus. This is the kind of joy for others that only happens through life in Christ – because the love of Christ produces a sincerity of care unknown in the world. And his joy was only made greater by the depth of his concern and grief that was now removed by this news.
In fact, it seems the issue of sexual immorality had been dealt with so severely Paul now encouraged them to welcome this brother back in his repentance, as it seems they were desiring to do.
“But be assured,” Paul now tells them – and this is a reckoning more than a concern – “that this new attitude of love and acceptance of God’s Word and God’s plan has an aroma to it. Some will think you are trying to save them – and some will think you are trying to condemn them.”
This is the price of sincerity in following God’s Word of life. Paul had paid the price, and it was well-known to him.