|Vol. 16 No. 6 June 2014||
In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul exhorted the Corinthian church to purity of life and showed the source of his comfort in afflictions. He began the chapter by calling them “beloved” and finished by rejoicing over his confidence in them.
How could he honestly say those things, considering that the rest of the chapter is about their sins about which he had sternly confronted them in his first epistle (1 Corinthians 5)? He could commend them because they had responded with godly sorrow. They had sincerely repented, and now their state was completely clean.
Many of us as Christians find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness for our sins and to feel forgiven. We tell others about the love and forgiveness that Jesus offers, yet the hardest thing for us to do, it seems, is to receive that same love and forgiveness. After we’ve done something wrong, it's not unusual to feel sorry about it. Yet, if we merely regret the consequences and don’t genuinely repent and accept God’s forgiveness, we have nothing more than sorrow as the world does.
Second Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly sorrow [sorrow according to the will of God – JRV] worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” This “godly sorrow” manifests itself by repentance and divine grace. The “sorrow of the world” brings death because, instead of being God-centered sorrow over the wickedness of sin, it is self-centered sorrow over the painful consequences of sin. This epistle’s primary purpose was not to deal with the notorious offender in Corinth or the person he had injured, but to test their loyalty and devotion to Paul as their apostle.
Don’t say, “If only I could undo the past.” Well, I’m afraid we can’t do that. We can’t undo sin, but we can repent of it sincerely. Our merciful God is waiting right now to flood your troubled heart with the joy of His forgiveness. Conviction of sin is miserable to the human soul. However, belief, repentance, confession, immersion in water and faithful living can make us joyful!
Happy Father’s Day
The duty of the man is be the leader of his home (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-25; 1 Peter 3:1-7). Many have turned away from this responsibility because they don’t know how to be a father, themselves. Many don’t want to be “nailed down,” some are just frightened at the responsibility, others just don’t see it as a big deal, and our current society is not helping at all. Hollywood is portraying men as ignorant, selfish and irresponsible. This is what children grow up watching on television (and listening to on the radio), and it then becomes their norm. Then the cycle continues. Christian men, it is time that we step up and take back the home, but how?
We can do this by following the example of Ezra (Ezra 7-10). Ezra was a priest during the days of the exile, and he was charged with leading Jews back to Jerusalem to restore the Law. There are a number of different points that stand out in Ezra’s leadership that will help us become real men, men of God. (1) We have to set our hearts to (a) study the law of God, (b) practice it, and (c) teach it to others (7:10). (2) We must surround ourselves with leading men, others who have a like mind to do number one (7:28). Finally, we must humble ourselves before God and seek His blessings (8:21).