I have been thinking of “The Song Of Solomon”.
“ The song of Solomon has been placed in the center of My word as a reminder of the kind of relationship I would have with you and all those who have responded to Me. It is a reminder that I, like the bridegroom, have been wooing you into a love relationship with Me. I have taken the initiative. I have approached you and revealed My heart do you. My attitude has been to woo you into discovering the fullness of life which can only be found in Me. My word is my love letter do you – so remember it is not like a thorn branch full of prickles to make you feel uncomfortable. It is a revelation of Myself and demonstrating My desire to have a relationship with you. And as you respond My love letter will reveal My heart to you so that you may understand how you should do that so that our relationship will be perfect. So come close to me my loved one and all that of those who read this and receive my love”.
We have reached ch 7 of 2 Corinthians. In the first part, vv 3-10 Paul opens up again about the personal hardships, suffering and pain he has gone through. Why is he laying it on so thick here again?
It seems the answer is in vv 11-13. It appears that a number in the Corinthian church have built up a sort of animosity towards Paul. Probably partly due to the tone of his earlier communication with them and partly due to the actions of at least one person who has made it a task to alienate the Corinthians from Paul. Its as if Paul is using the maximum emotional pressure on these people, to get them to respond to the message he has for them. They first need to “open wide their hearts”, before they will be in a position to HEAR what Paul is wanting to say to them.
These vv are a remarkable revelation, once again of the sort of life Paul had been living for the gospel. As I considered these revelations, I found myself, on the one hand being grateful that the Lord has not called me to that sort of life and at the same time wondering if I would still be able to be as positive as Paul was after it all if I had been faced with these sorts of hardships. It helped also to put into perspective any hardships I might feel that I have experienced.
At the same time I am reminded of the many fellow believers who have been martyred over the years. Recently in a documentary on the bible that I saw, it revealed that over 50 million people had been brutally tortured and put to death by the Spanish Inquisition over a question of 4-600 years. It was a stark reminder to me of how important God’s word is and our faith, that all these people were prepared to die an excruciating death rather than recant. It made me appreciate God’s word so much more as well as the immense privilege I have to be part of His kingdom.
Now Paul, having drawn the attention of the Corinthians and hopefully persuaded them to “open their hearts”, addresses the next concern He has. Their purity. Now it is important to see that this section comes after he has spoken about the gospel, in the previous chapters. The order is most important. We cannot purify ourselves before our hearts have been changed by the gospel. In fact, once we are born again we are judicially regarded as being pure. However our status is not necessarily matched by our behaviour. Here in Corinth there were some pretty questionable practices going on, especially in the temples.
It would appear that the things that were happening were carried on by “unbelievers”. Some who had not accepted Jesus as their Saviour. What appears to have been happening is that some of the believers felt that they were now judicially pure and therefore free to participate. They were being led and influenced by the unbelievers.
Paul wants them to sit up and listen. There is no place for tasting these fruits. There is only one way for a true Christian and that is to walk the road of purity with the Holy Spirit. He really expresses this in he strongest of terms, which should remind us too that we should be careful of feeling immune to the devil’s temptation and share in things that are borderline. Many Christians have come to grief because of not realizing how important purity is in God’s kingdom. There can be no place for dabbling in something, even if it is only in the shallow water of questionable disobedience.
This is also a warning to be careful who your close friends are. It does not mean you must not be friendly with non-Christians, but a really close “bestie” type of friendship can perhaps override your standards if the other person has a strong personality. I have seen that happen on more than one occasion. Of course this passage is often used as a warning to those who are planning to get married. It is applicable, but not the main thrust of Paul’s teaching.
In closing we can look back at Paul’s life and see to what extent he was prepared to go to remain “pure”, as it were. Let us never think this subject can be buried under the banner of God’s grace. Remember the warning in Hebrews 12:14; “without holiness no one will see the Lord”. Holiness is not a deprivation, it is a joy. So have a lovely holy week each of you.
- The Gospel - Proclaiming Him in whom is Hidden all Wisdom and Knowledge.
- Witness - but not yet.
- The Love Feast.
- The World needs to know.
- Jesus, On His Journey to Jerusalem
- The Ministry of Reconciliation.
- The True Gospel Affirmed.
- Psalm 148
- The Messianic Age. “Now but not yet”.
- Let Us Hold Firmly to the Faith we Profess.