CONFIDENT IN GOD: The Basis of Real Ministry

Repentance that results in joy

2 Corinthians 7:2-16


Jerry A Collins



v  Does God hold us responsible for each other’s sp welfare?

v  Why is discipline of another’s sin necessary?

v  What is the essence of repentance?


You have experienced pain in relationships due to the fact that the other person is responsible for the poor relationship. The hurt is compounded from the refusal of the other person to acknowledge the hurt they are causing. The relationship wanders. Sometimes hard things need to be communicated—the truth is shared and further alienation results. You hope that over time the other person may see the light and attempt to make amends. This can go in for years, the distance increasing between both of you. You try to shake it off and go on with your business. But you value the relationship enough to try to reconcile again. Maybe it will work, maybe not. Our passage is a story of one person wanting a relationship with another responsible for the poor one it has become. This passage resumes Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians our heart is opened wide…open wide to us also 6:11, 13. He is arguing that the Corinthians, not he, are responsible for their poor relationship at this point. The central idea is that the power of God is seen at its best when a relationship between two parties is restored.


He demands they make room for or provide a place for him presumably in their hearts. The argument?

1. We wronged no one. In his mind he is completely innocent. Not a single instance when he wronged or harmed anyone in any way. Three times he repeats ‘no one’ emphasizing on his part there is no reason to be alienated from him.

2. We corrupted no one. Or ruined anyone in any way. People usually put wrong assumptions or interpretations on some actions he did and it carried the day. But from his standpoint he did not ruin.

3. We took advantage of no one. There was no exploitation whatsoever of anyone. We can assume that these and other accusations were floating around and gained credence among some. But none of this is true and so the appeal to let us back in. There is no basis for the fractured relationship. Please welcome us back.


Word had gotten back to Paul via Titus (7-16) of the Corinthian believers deep concern for him. They had hurt him but he does not consider them his enemies.

For I have said before that you are in our hearts His deep affection is clear.

To die together and to live together His commitment to them, even to death, refers to his own physical death and his life. Don’t get me wrong as I appeal to you.


Great is my confidence in you Hearing the report from Titus, Paul now had confidence they were doing the right thing—repenting and following God.

Great is my boasting on your behalf and he told others they would do the rite thing. I am filled with comfort hearing this good news especially of one repenting brings incredible comfort. I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction evidently suffering form something yet he was overflowing with joy in its midst. The weight is lifted and joy floods in.

Significance: is that reconciled relationships are the greatest source of joy in the human experience. Estranged and hurt, the power of reconciliation is life giving!


God did something. For even when we were in Macedonia—connect to 2:13—(I had no rest in my spirit)—our flesh had no rest he was tired with the need for physical rest. Until Titus arrived and explained how the Corinthians had received Paul’s ‘painful’ letter (vs 8). Afflicted on every side conflicts without battles and quarrels with people in Macedonia. Fears within wondering how the Corinthian believers responded to his ‘painful’ letter and possibly fear as to why Titus had not shown up yet. But God who comforts the depressed or downcast God gives comfort and he uses people to do so. Here comforted by the coming of Titus now the Corinthians could rest easy knowing that Titus did arrive with the news of their change of heart to Paul.

Significance: If we are comforted it is because God has comforted us. He comforted Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son; Joshua as he was about to take Israel into the land; Elijah as he lay under the juniper tree. (1:3-4).


And not only…but also comforted Titus actual presence was a source of joy and the response of the Corinthian believers to Paul’s painful letter was a source of comfort to Titus. That they repented and turned to God and received Paul’s apostolic ministry was good news. It is always stressful when you have to deal with sin and bad news. But what a comfort and joy when the outcome is good. Reported your longing desire to see Paul again, your mourning Possibly for the grief they had caused Paul, your zeal for me an enthusiasm for Paul and his apostleship—rejecting the false apostles. So that I rejoiced even more great news!


1. No one wants to cause sorrow in and of itself but often sorrow or pain re necessary to produce a better result vs 8. A vaccination shot cause pain but it is for the better result of avoiding disease. Here Paul caused the Corinthians pain for the better result of their repentance.

2. Godly grief or sorrow is a grief that leads individuals to view their conduct as God does vs 9. It leads to repentance. Paul rejoices then that the pain had the right consequence—it lead to their repentance—a change of mind. So they would not continue to lose something—the consequences—possibly the relationship they had with Paul.

3. Repentance is changing your mind and changing the direction you are heading vs 10. Repentance without regret leads to life. But the sorrow of the world produces death is usually the result of the unwelcome consequences of sin. There is no remorse toward God. If the only effect is sorrow over consequences the only outcome is death alienation from God not repent toward God.

Significance: Compare the sorrow of Esau (Gen 27:38; Heb 12:16,17) and the sorrow of David (Psa 51:1-19). Contrast the sorrow of Judas and Peter (Matt 21:30, 32; Luke 22:31-34).


1. Eagerness to restore the relationship prompts admission of guilt vs 11. Earnestness, vindication, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, avenging wrong reveal their desire to be innocent in the matter. And indeed they are now.

2. Repentance and reconciliation is for God before it is for us vs 12. Vertical before it is horizontal. This ‘painful’ letter was not for the sake of the offender—the false prophets, or the offended—Paul, but to motivate the Corinthians to see their loyalty toward Paul the apostle and the deteriorated relationship that had been caused. It is God who wants to see the reconciliation.

3. A relationship can become stronger when a person causing sorrow in the relationship repents and reconciles vs 13-16. The superlatives, tell us of the joy and comfort and restoration and strength of the renewed relationship.

A. God holds us responsible for the spiritual welfare of one another 4b.

B. A lack of discipline and encountering sin in another’s life implies compliance and approval of the wrong 7:11b. It sends the wrong message from God’s viewpoint.

3. We must not be sorry only because of the consequences but because of the sin itself. It is the sin against God that must be confronted.