Our next reading is 2 Cor 2:10-17
v10: Whom you forgive anything I also forgive: Paul is saying that if this congregation had forgiven this offender, then Paul too would consider him forgiven.
- I have forgiven that one for your sakes: Paul is teaching us a principle here. Because this congregation has forgiven Paul will also forgive. This is how we should understand the forgiveness that we have received from G-d. As G-d has forgiven us we also need to forgive others. Paul is living this out.
- Presence: Literally ‘face’.
v11: Take advantage: Outwit. Deceive. Doing something that gives the enemy an advantage. This is what the consequence of unforgiveness brings about in our lives. When we do not forgive others (forgetting the forgiveness we have received in Messiah) we give advantage to the enemy, our adversary. This is a very dangerous position to find ourselves in.
- His devices (schemes): We must not be ignorant or against knowing what satan’s schemes are. One of these schemes is unforgiveness. Not forgiving others is a sure way to allow satan to take advantage in our lives.
v12: Came to Troas: Paul did not go to them in Corinth, but he did go to Troas. He was not idle, but he continued to travel and to minister to others.
- For the gospel of Messiah: Some Bibles insert the word ‘preach’ before ‘gospel’. Obviously, Paul did that too, but that was just one of the many parts of ministering the gospel. This gospel teaches us about the all-sufficient work of Messiah that brings eternal change into our lives. It puts us on a journey of pursuing G-d’s will. If we have received the gospel but are not committed to it or passionate about the will of G-d then we need to question ourselves as to whether we have believed the Biblical or true gospel.
- A door was opened to me: Something brought about an open door, an opportunity presented itself, for Paul in Troas. Things were going well.
v13: I had no rest: Paul did not do anything in a frivolous manner. He has also just spoken about the enemy taking advantage, so this uneasiness is also set within that context.
- Taking my leave of them: Leaving Troas and the opportunity that had come up there. For some reason, the Spirit of G-d was moving Paul. Even though Paul had an opportunity, he did not take advantage of it. We, likewise, should not take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself in our lives. Even for “open doors” we need to seek counsel from G-d and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We need to be convinced in our spirits whether it is a G-d willed opportunity or not.
- Macedonia: Paul mentioned Macedonia a couple of times in 2 Corinthians 1.
v14: G-d His thanks is grace: Many Bibles translate this phrase as giving thanks to G-d, but it literally means ‘G-d His thanks is grace’. Grace is so multifaceted. Grace is a source of thanksgiving. It is also a source of perseverance. Grace is a source of determination to the will of G-d, for the purposes of G-d. And, of course, grace saves.
- Always: This could be used either way: We can always acknowledge and give thanks for G-d’s grace, or He always makes us triumphant.
- In (or for) Messiah: We are submissive, we have subjected ourselves to Him for His purposes. We are in Him. But we are also always for Him. Paul is saying that we are triumphant always because we are about Him and for Him.
- The fragrance: Literally ‘A pleasing aroma’. Similar to an incense offering, which was an aroma offered up that was pleasing to G-d. We want to be pleasing to G-d. When we are pleasing to Him it means that we are doing His will. We don’t want to be a pleasing fragrance before Him so that He will bend to our will and do what we want Him to do for us.
v15: Fragrance: A very pleasing, sweet, perfume. This is a different word to the word in 2 Corinthians 2:14.
- Fragrance of Messiah: The fragrance belonging to Messiah.
- Perishing: Being condemned. Those who violate or reject G-d’s standards are going to be condemned. Many people reject G-d’s commandments, G-d’s truth etc but they want G-d to love them, work for them, serve them. This is idolatry. When G-d’s knowledge is presented to people (like a sweet perfume) it is going to reveal those who will be saved and those who will be condemned.
v16: Aroma of death…aroma of life: The gospel proclaims either eternal life or eternal death to people. This is pleasing to G-d because this is true. Every human being will face either one of these two scenarios. Those who are not believers do not ever come to an end. They will live throughout eternity in hell – eternally condemned.
- Who is sufficient for these things: There is much debate as to how to understand this last phrase. It could possibly mean that being a fragrance of G-d (proclaiming life and proclaiming death) is sufficient for us, for this life, to be used in this way. There is also a sufficiency in the gospel – as it also proclaims life and death.
v17: Note: This verse is foundational of what a teaching ministry should be about.
- So many: Even in Paul’s day there were numerous people, congregational leaders, who peddled the Word of G-d for profit, claiming to have been sent by G-d but they were not. Paul makes a distinction between himself and this majority.
- Peddling the Word of G-d: They have made it into a business, a means of income. They had wrong motivations – they saw the ministry of the Word of G-d as a means to achieve financial blessing or prosperity.
- Sincerity: Has a nuance of transparency. Paul (and true Bible teachers) wanted people to see that what he was sharing was firmly rooted in the Word of G-d. Paul did not want to lead people in the wrong direction. That is why he never did things frivolously or never made his decisions lightly.
- In the sight of G-d: Whatever our sphere of influence…whenever we talk about G-d, we need to realise that He is there watching us. We want to speak with transparency and sincerity.
- In Messiah: In a covenantal relationship with Messiah, walking with Him, being in His character.