I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.2 Corinthians 7:3(NASB)
Paul's first epistle to the Corinthian church, concentrated on teaching and correction, whilst his second letter is more pastoral, and exposes the deep love Paul has for these people. It shows the concern he shows for their spiritual welfare, and the establishment in their faith.
Paul's first communication concentrated on correction, while the focus of this second message is on comfort, victory in the cross and the sufficient grace that is ours in Christ. It reminds us of our eternal perspective, our future inheritance, our labour in the Lord and the rewards that are promised to those that die to self and live for Christ.
It talks of the glory and grace we have, through the indwelling Spirit of God, and the wisdom and power that comes from our Father in heaven - and it encourages us to endeavour to keep the unity of the Body - for which we should seek after and strive for, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul knew that the serious chastisement and constructive correction he was obliged to deliver in his earlier writings, had significantly affected the morale of his Corinthian brothers and sisters, and it appears that the apostle was concerned that it had damaged their relationship, with one other. And in this section he is seeking to comfort them in the pain they had to endure, and to re-establish their close communion and mutual love, by commending them for their changed behaviour, and empathising with the hurt and suffering they had endured.
“Make room for us in your hearts,' Paul writes, “we wronged no one, we corrupted no one and we took advantage of no one'. Paul's reproof and correction in his earlier letter was for their spiritual benefit. It was to train them in righteousness, mature them in the faith, arrest their carnality and put them back on the path to spiritual growth, and so he wrote, I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts - to die together and to live together.
Paul's earlier correction may have pained these believers, but it did not stifle the deep love he had for this little flock. He was prepared to die for these Christians as well as to live for them. And so Paul was able to rejoice - not because they were made sorrowful, but because their sorrow brought them to godly repentance, which is our Father's will for all His straying children.
Indeed, the sorrow that is according to the will of God, brings salvation.. i.e. it returns the backsliding believer into fellowship with our Father in heaven. In order to bring the gospel to these people, and to us, Paul himself, had to undergo terrible trials - but he found great joy when his corrective training brought spiritual fruit.
Paul provided these brothers and sisters in Christ with corrective teaching through the Word, and like them.. we should be ready to receive teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, whenever it is necessary. Spiritual reproof comes to us in various ways - through increased familiarity with the Word of God, from brothers in the faith, and through a humble heart that has a teachable spirit. May we be ready and willing to receive reproof, correction and training in righteousness, for the glory of God, in our spiritual journey through life.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this instructive and comforting epistle from Paul to the Corinthians. Thank You for the comfort and joy it brings to us all, and the lessons we can learn. I pray that I may develop a teachable spirit and be ready, and sufficiently humble to receive, and react correctly, to any reproof, correction, or training in righteousness I may receive. Keep me looking to Jesus, and I pray that I may grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ - in Whose name I pray, AMEN.