THE WOUNDED HEALER
You are God and are in complete control. Thank you for that knowledge that centers me and enables me to handle the challenges of life.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 1:12 – 2:4
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[a] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[b] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. 2 1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
- 2 Corinthians 1:12 Many manuscripts holiness
- 2 Corinthians 1:19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Give thanks today that you worship a God of infinite goodness.
We begin to catch glimpses of what has been going on. Accusations have been made against Paul’s character. At some point he had stated his intention to make a prolonged visit to Corinth, visiting other churches on the way.1 However, he had changed his plans after making his brief ‘painful visit’ (1:15,16; 2:1) – no doubt because he did not wish to cause further grief to the Corinthians and did not wish to be further distressed himself (v 3). Paul lived a highly stressful life. It is no surprise that he had a limit. As a consequence, there were those disposed against him who blackened his character by saying he was lacking in integrity and sincerity (1:12) and that he did not keep his word.
It is painful when people accuse us unjustly – but that is the way of the world (v 12). Humans are not so much guided by the will for truth as by the will for power: they seek advantage for themselves over others and what better way than by casting others in a bad light, implying false motives, spinning things in a negative direction? We see it all the time. Reluctantly, Paul defends himself and his fellow workers and insists that duplicity is not in their nature. If there was a change of plan there was wisdom in it. Their policy was to be true to Christ, in whom all God’s promises are a straightforward ‘Yes!’ Is this our goal too?
It is striking in this letter how the sometimes unhappy dealings of the Corinthians become the occasion for profound statements of theology. Paul is operating on the level of deep theological reflection at the same time as dealing with our all-too-human failings. In Christ, God says ‘Yes’ to us (1:20). Christ is God’s best and highest word.
Reflect on which of God’s promises are ‘Yes’ in Christ. Which, in particular, do you most need to hear?
Heavenly Father, I am humbled by Paul’s love and humility. Holy Spirit, develop these two qualities in me I pray.
1 1 Cor 16:5–9
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