God’s Saving Word: Spiritual Renewal
2 Corinthians 1:12-24: Today’s reading concludes the first chapter. The apostle Paul informs the Corinthians about his change in travel plans and commends them for standing firm in the faith.
The Change in Paul’s Plans
12 We are proud that our conscience assures us that our lives in this world, and especially our relations with you, have been ruled by God-given frankness and sincerity, by the power of God’s grace and not by human wisdom. 13-14 We write to you only what you can read and understand. But even though you now understand us only in part, I hope that you will come to understand us completely, so that in the Day of our Lord Jesus you can be as proud of us as we shall be of you.
15 I was so sure of all this that I made plans at first to visit you, in order that you might be blessed twice. 16 For I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia and again on my way back, in order to get help from you for my trip to Judea. 17 In planning this, did I appear fickle? When I make my plans, do I make them from selfish motives, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God speaks the truth, my promise to you was not a “Yes” and a “No.” 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was preached among you by Silas, Timothy, and myself, is not one who is “Yes” and “No.” On the contrary, he is God’s “Yes”; 20 for it is he who is the “Yes” to all of God’s promises. This is why through Jesus Christ our “Amen” is said to the glory of God. 21 It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ; it is God himself who has set us apart, 22 who has placed his mark of ownership upon us, and who has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us.
23 I call God as my witness—he knows my heart! It was in order to spare you that I decided not to go to Corinth. 24 We are not trying to dictate to you what you must believe; we know that you stand firm in the faith. Instead, we are working with you for your own happiness.
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:21a
It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ.
Paul had intended to visit Corinth after going through Macedonia (see 1 Corinthians 16:1-7). It appears that he is being accused of vacillating in this regard. What reason does he give for his change in plans (verses 23, 24)? Reread verse 20. What is your understanding of Paul’s statement that Jesus is the “Yes” to all of God’s promises? What is your understanding of the “mark of ownership” (verse 22) God has placed upon you?
Lord God, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit; with your Spirit in my heart, I have the assurance that I belong to you in union with Christ Jesus. Amen.
2 Corinthians 2:1-11: The apostle Paul encourages the Corinthians to forgive an offender.