“But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.” 2 Corinthians 2:1-3
When I read this, I realized that the many scoffers who look at the Apostle Paul as a heretic simply don’t read their Bible.
Of the apostles, Paul was given the full gospel. The others recognized him as one of their own and Simon Peter was even corrected by him. Paul expounded upon the teaching of what it was that Jesus accomplished on the cross of Calvary and, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, brought them from focusing on themselves and their kinsmen to all of mankind.
Paul experienced much affliction in his life, but he understood it’s purpose in keeping him focused and dependent upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified. So, when I read what he wrote in that he was not coming again with a heavy hand, instead relying on the joy of The Lord, and knowing that making them sorrowful would inevitably bring that sorrow back to himself, I can see The Lord in it, because The Lord said to Israel,
“Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:5-6
Only God’s Love can heal wounds. Only God’s Love can turn the rebellious heart back. Only God’s Love can make the sorrowful joyful. It is the Love of God that brings us home to Him. Paul understood that.
So, the correction had been given, and obeyed, and now there was no reason to dwell on it and continue to pound it into the ground. God said through Isaiah that would only cause more dissent. So, Paul followed the Spirit and wrote to them at Corinth to focus on the joy.
Isn’t that what we all should be doing today? Yes, we must talk about sin and sinful lives; but, we must focus on the joy that is found through the Cross of Christ where sinful lives are washed and made clean and sin and its wage of death were overcome by Love. We should warn the world of sin and of hell, but we should do so with joy because there is a Heaven and God’s Love is real. Heaven is to be with God for eternity and not apart from Him and suffering. That is what the Cross is all about. God warned us through Love.
Paul wasn’t a heretic. Paul had the heart of God. He warned and he loved. God took a man who was zealous in the wrong way, and turned his life around, truly creating in Paul a new heart, because Paul loved the people. He got it right, by the grace of God! So, when Paul points us to the Cross, he’s doing what the Holy Spirit has done since the beginning. It’s what Jesus talked about before He accomplished it. It is the Cross that is the ultimate expression of God’s Love for us.
By demonstrating faith in that finished work, we receive grace that saves, grace that sanctifies, grace that glorifies. When we trust in the Cross, the Love of God flows freely through us and nothing of this world can stop the joy that accompanies His Love.