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2 Corinthians: Genuine Concern

The light reflecting on the mountains points to how our words and actions can reflect our hearts.
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt Images

October 18, 2023

Praying Friends,

The trueness of a person is often revealed by their words and actions. Their words convey what is happening inside, and their actions prove the genuineness of those feelings.

When Paul wrote his second letter to those he loved in Corinth, he became very vulnerable by doing just that: he opened his heart to them and backed it up with selfless behavior.

His language is filled with pathos. “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you” (2 Corinthians 2:4).

There is nothing more important in Christian community than a genuine heart of care. This is the personal tone that Paul sets in his second letter to the Corinthians.

Having written with forthrightness in his first letter to deal with problems of disunity, comparison, envy, bitterness, moral sin, and a host of other things, he now writes back and vulnerably opens his heart to the people he truly loves.

Let’s consider 4 of the many ways in which Paul expresses his genuine concern for the Corinthians in his second letter:

Firstly, Paul talked about their need for comfort and the ability of God to give it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God is our Father, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. He was able to provide whatever their hearts needed, and the same is true for us today. He is the great supplier who never lacks in His storehouse of comfort.

Incidentally, one of the main purposes for believers to receive His comfort is not just for us to be comforted, but so that we in turn can help others in their sorrow.

Secondly, Paul realized that with the transition from the old to the new covenant, they needed confidence, and that could be found in Christ. The old covenant was one with many external features, but the new one is centered in Christ and does not have all the requirements of the past. As they made this step from one to the other, they needed assurance that it was the right move.

Any move toward Christ is the right move. Paul said, “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).

All that is needed to thrive in the Christian life is sourced in God Himself. We can have full confidence that He has our back and will not let us go.

Thirdly, Paul was aware that as bearers of the good news, they were weak and needed divine power and partnership. In Chapter 4, he spoke about the power of the enemy to blind minds and keep sinners in spiritual darkness.

He also reminded them that they were simply jars meant to dispense its contents to others. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

The gospel is like a deposit within each child of God, and we, like them, need God’s power to live out its fullness.

It’s not just that the power comes from God, but that He desires to walk with us in every step of the way. After Paul tells them that we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), he made this little comment, “working together with him” (2 Corinthians 6:1). We are partnering with God in a life of faith.

Lastly, Paul announced the abounding grace that God had poured into his life and was available to all the saints. He was going through a particularly difficult time and he asked God for the removal of the problem. But instead of removing the problem, God gave him grace. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

He goes on to say, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

We pray for strength and God gives us weakness so we can rely on His strength. We pray for trials to go away, but God gives us more so that we might lean into Him more. We pray for the way to be made easier, and God makes it more difficult but promises His grace to sustain us.

We need each other in this journey. May the same concern that marked the heart of this man also characterize us in the community of faith.

Thank you for praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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