Sparing The Church

C.S. Lewis in his biography tells of the suffering he endured because he kept a promise he had made to a buddy during World War I. This friend was worried about the care of his wife and small daughter if he should be killed in battle, so Lewis assured him that if that were to hap … More

Promises

Misunderstandings are often very difficult to untangle, because one misunderstanding often leads to another. This is what happened to Paul as he was forced to make a change of plans (vv. 15-17). In Paul’s initial itinerary, he had intended to go immediately from Ephesus to Corinth and spend the winter. When that didn’t work out he planned to travel to Macedonia and then back to Corinth if the Lord permitted him to do so (I Cor. 16:2-8). Much to Paul’s regret, he had to cancel both plan A and plan B. When we consider how difficult both transportation and communication were in that day, it is a miracle that Paul did not have more problems with his busy schedule.

With this change in plans, Paul’s opponents accused him of following fleshly wisdom (v. 12), of being careless with the will of God  (v. 17), and making plans just to please himself. These false apostles hoped to discredit their chief rival (11:4,13). Paul had informed the church about his  change in plans, but this did not silence the opposition. They were saying,"If Paul says or writes one thing, he really means another! His yes is no, and his no is yes” (vv. 17-18). No matter what his accusers said, Paul stood firm because he had a clear  conscience. He knew that his motives were sincere.

Paul states that Jesus Christ the Son of God is always “Yes” and never “No.” And he is the one that we told you about (v. 19). Christ says “Yes” to all of God’s promises (v 20). That’s why God makes it possible for each of us to stand firmly together with Christ (vv. 20-21). God is also the one who chose us and put his Spirit in our hearts to show that we belong only to him (vv. 22-24).

Application

Have you ever been forced to  change your plans, which others did not  understand, and they made a big issue about it? When I am forced to make a choice between doing what I know the Lord wants  me to do and what others are saying, I must always follow the Lord.

II Corinthians 1:15-24 (English Standard Version)

Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. But I call God to witness against me--it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

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