2 Corinthians 7:13–8:7 (NKJV)
13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.2 Corinthians 7:13-16
Paul sums up his thoughts concerning the “severe letter” alluded to in the last passage by again saying that he is comforted by their reaction, and has boasted of them as a church and as spiritual children of Paul. He sees their reaction and the restoration of the offending brother as a triumph of church discipline. He also tells them of Titus’ reaction to their reception of him and the letter, applauding their decorum and humility.
1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.2 Corinthians 8:1-7
Paul takes the opportunity to give them an example to follow in benevolence. He points to the churches of Macedonia who, in their own affliction and poverty, found great joy and liberality in their giving to the ministry to the saints. They insisted, beyond their means, that Paul take a gift to those in need and they did not see it as a sacrifice, but as a blessing, to be able to give to others. They had given themselves to the Lord, and then to the ministers to follow the will of God. Paul then tells the Corinthians that they had instructed Titus to teach them this grace as well, and that they should follow the example of the Macedonian churches in this practice. He also lifted up the virtues of faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, and love. These are markers or signs of the life of Christ, and they were to exhibit them freely.
Paul’s teaching still rings true for Christians today. Men and women of faith should obey God, working with the ministers to whom God gave the calling to lead them. Christians should also live with an abundance of the graces God instructed them to bear by the words of Paul. We should all abound in faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, and love, and in the grace of giving. Generosity is Godly, and so should the people of God be Godly. Without a Godly witness, the world cannot see Christ within us, and they will remain lost. Live in such a way that the world sees Christ in you, the hope of glory!
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