Lets finish off 2 Corinthians chapter 12: 2 Cor 12:14-21
v14: For the third time I am ready: Paul was ready or prepared to go back to this congregation. This was unique. Paul travelled to many places. But over and over again he wanted to get back to Corinth.
- I will not be burdensome to you, for I do not seek yours: Paul was not interested in the wealth or in the possessions of those who were in Corinth. It was sufficient for Paul to simply have his daily needs met.
- But you: Paul wanted the lives of these people to be brought under the authority of the living G-d. He wanted to introduce them to the One who could save them from their sins and give them eternal life.
- The parents (lay up an inheritance) for the children: Paul is giving an example from society. Parents are required to provide for the children and not the other way around. As a spiritual father, one who had birthed this congregation, Paul wanted to give to this congregation and not receive from it.
v15: I will very gladly spend: Paul was willing to pour out as much as he financially could on them.
- Be spent for your souls: Paul was happy to exhaust himself for them. He was totally committed, fully invested, in the work of the Kingdom.
- The more abundantly I love you the less I am loved: (More literally: If I love you more abundantly, will you love me less?). Paul has mentioned a few times in this epistle how much he loved this congregation. He ministered to them and sacrificed for them. This verse gives us an insight into how Paul is feeling. He had loved this congregation and had invested in them, but they had not returned that love. They had not shown appreciation to Paul and nor had valued the sacrifices that he had made on their behalf. Paul is feeling unloved and unappreciated by them.
v16: Be that as it may: Paul is saying that he is going to let it be. They don’t have to do anything to change. It is what it is.
- Guile: Sly or cunning intelligence. Paul is kind of scoffing here. Some had accused him of deceitful or crafty behaviour. They saw his humbleness and suffering etc as a strategy that he was using in order to deceive or to manipulate people to agree with the gospel. This, however, was not the case.
v17: Take advantage of: Exploit.
- Those whom I sent to you: Paul was concerned about them. He was thinking about them and about their spiritual growth and maturity. For these reasons he sent others to this congregation in order to be a blessing to them. Paul is wanting to know if these people felt exploited or taken advantage of by the way in which he showed love to them or if they would accept that Paul had done everything that he had done for the purpose of G-d’s call upon his life.
v18: Urged Titus: Encouraged Titus. Titus was Paul’s very faithful fellow servant. Frequently Paul would send Titus (or Timothy) to visit the congregations in order to help them grow and to teach them.
- Did Titus take advantage of you: Titus did not exploit the congregations on behalf of Paul. He did not take up collections or dip into their coffers to give their money etc to Paul.
- Walk in the same spirit…same steps: Paul and Titus were similar in the way they behaved in the congregations. They both walked in the spirit of humility. They both wanted to help and to be a blessing to those whom they were ministering to.
v19: Do you think: The Corinthian congregations thinking/perspective is all wrong.
- Think that we excuse ourselves to you: Paul is not trying to justify himself, but he’s speaking in a way in order to publicly state his commitment to the L-rd.
- We speak before G-d in Messiah: Paul was not testifying in order to please this congregation or to try to get them to agree with him. He is speaking truthfully before G-d who is a witness of this. Paul is also sharing this before G-d as he is wanting G-d to get involved in this situation.
- For your edification: Paul wanted this congregation to grow. As they grew, they would be able to see things more clearly and understand more fully. The call we have received from G-d is not for ourselves, but it is for the edification of others. We have been called to build others up.
v20: I fear: Paul is greatly concerned that when he visits them he will not find them as he desires to find them – changed or transformed.
- Find you as I wish: Paul had expectations of them. He was concerned that when he went to them he would not find them growing or maturing. He wanted to find them as a faithful and a servant hearted people.
- I shall be found by you…as you do not wish: If Paul went to them and found them in a sorry state then he would not be pleased with them and he would begin to set things in order. Paul did not want this to be the case when he went to them. He wanted them to be walking in faith, demonstrating that the Spirit of G-d was ministering through them.
- Contentions: Strife. People fight with others because of a desire to get their own way (James 4:1). Instead of submitting to G-d they lived to satisfy their own desires.
- Jealousies: People compete against each other in order to be better than each other.
- Backbitings: Slandering one another. When people do not get what they want they become nasty toward others – physically and verbally.
- Whisperings: Gossiping about one another.
- Tumults: Disordered (1 Cor 14:33). When everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes (instead of walking submissively in the upward call of G-d’s plans and purposes) this will not bring about the activity of the Holy Spirit in individual lives or within the disordered congregations.
Note: This list that Paul has written down gives us an idea of what Paul did NOT want to find when he visited Corinth.
v21: My G-d will humble me: Paul was prepared and ready to go to this congregation. His concern was that when he went there that G-d was going to humble him. Paul had shared and had boasted (rejoiced over) the great things about this congregation with others. He loved them and had complimented them for their committed service to G-d, that they knew truth and had implemented it in their lives. However, those who had now come from Corinth had put Paul down and had disgraced him – they had attacked Paul and questioned his apostleship. Because of these individuals, a portion of this congregation in Corinth had turned against Paul. Paul was afraid that his boasting or rejoicing in regard to this congregation would be found to be misplaced.
- I shall mourn for many: Paul was afraid that instead of finding a healthy and dynamic congregation, a ministering congregation, one doing the things of G-d, that he would find one that he could no longer rejoice over…and instead their actions and lack of repentance would turn his joy in regard to them into mourning.
- Uncleanness: G-d does not bless that which is unclean or impure. An unclean state, spiritually, pushes away the Presence of G-d. This is not talking about salvation, but about the anointing of the indwelling Spirit for the equipping of ministry or service.
- Fornication: Sexual immorality. When individuals are not serving G-d they do not receive spiritual gratification. Their spirits are not filled with the fruit of the Spirit or with the presence of G-d. When this happens people turn to that which is fleshly – to their fleshly desires. Oftentimes this manifests itself through sexual immorality.
- Licentiousness: Debauchery. A total lack of self-control. These people are being used and manipulated by the enemy for works of unrighteousness, ungodly works that destroy a testimony.