Chapter 7 – Paul’s joy over the Church’s repentance
10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.’ 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.2 Corinthians 7:10-11
This chapter focuses on Paul’s expression of happiness, confidence and joy over the turn around that the churches had. Through experiencing godly sorrow instead of worldly sorrow, and first hand perception of God’s deep devotion towards them, the church had repented, and been encouraged by his love. Through mutual obedience each person had been encouraged by another, to the point where Paul can say that he has ‘complete confidence’ in the church then.
Reading this passage makes me question whether this happens at my church in Sydney, as well as my church in Hong Kong. In church, it is always easy to identify those whom are active, willing and ready volunteers – those who serve as missionaries, as pastors, youth leaders, on the worship team, and in children’s ministry. But sometimes I feel like just serving isn’t enough. Although serving God does bring us one step closer to him, I also think it is perfectly possible to serve him but still keep up an emotional distance, either unvoluntarily or voluntarily, because I have personally witnessed this happening. We can draw sinfully away from God, even though we are representing him in church. My goal is that I would be able to prevent this in myself. My goal is that through serving Christ in church and using my God-given talents I would be able to draw nearer to him and his word.
In addition to this, the passage clearly contrasts the notion of worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. Worldly sorrow will only bring us lower and lower, it is connotative of death and destruction. Yet, godly sorrow is a good thing to experience. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and no regrets. Godly sorrow is the pathway to understanding our relationship with God and our sins and iniquities and finding the courage to repent and not to look back.
Paul’s letter in this chapter explains to his fellow brothers and sisters of the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches, and of their overflowing generosity in their offerings to the church.
The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.- 2 Corinthians 8:15
The goal for giving offerings is not just to bless the church, but it is also for equality. It is well known that this is a world of large disparities – whether it be in education, family, work, and mental and physical wellbeing. In this world justice and fairness have long been sought after, yet it cannot be truly delivered. We should give ourselves to the church, as well as supporting the church financially, so that everyone may be able to hear of Gods word, and that everyone would have the unique opportunity to be renewed. It is important to remember that religious disparities exist – and people who are willing and eager to receive the word of God may not necessarily be blessed with such a chance. Let’s make a difference and give wholeheartedly to the one who has blessed us with all things!