2 Corinthians 2* Reasons for the apostle not coming to Corinth. (1-4)Directions about restoring the repentant offender. (5-11) Anaccount of his labours and success in spreading the gospel ofChrist. (12-17)1-4 The apostle desired to have a cheerful meeting with them;and he had written in confidence of their doing what was totheir benefit and his comfort; and that therefore they would beglad to remove every cause of disquiet from him. We shouldalways give pain unwillingly, even when duty requires that itmust be given. 5-11 The apostle desires them to receive the person who haddone wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of hisfault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow forsin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. Notonly was there danger last Satan should get advantage, bytempting the penitent to hard thoughts of God and religion, andso drive him to despair; but against the churches and theministers of Christ, by bringing an evil report upon Christiansas unforgiving; thus making divisions, and hindering the successof the ministry. In this, as in other things, wisdom is to beused, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin onthe one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on theother hand. Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how tomake a bad use of our mistakes. 12-17 A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. To him be thepraise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is agood reason for a Christian's joy and rejoicing. In ancienttriumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; sothe name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was asweet savour diffused in every place. Unto some, the gospel is asavour of death unto death. They reject it to their ruin. Untoothers, the gospel is a savour of life unto life: as itquickened them at first when they were dead in trespasses andsins, so it makes them more lively, and will end in eternallife. Observe the awful impressions this matter made upon theapostle, and should also make upon us. The work is great, and ofourselves we have no strength at all; all our sufficiency is ofGod. But what we do in religion, unless it is done in sincerity,as in the sight of God, is not of God, does not come from him,and will not reach to him. May we carefully watch ourselves inthis matter; and seek the testimony of our consciences, underthe teaching of the Holy Spirit, that as of sincerity, so speakwe in Christ and of Christ.
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