Sincerity

God is my witness – I’d stake my life on this – that it was in order to spare you that I didn’t return to Corinth. For we don’t want to control your faith. Instead, we want to work together with you, to give you joy, for it is by faith that you stand firm.

So I decided not to give you another painful visit. For if I make you sad, who is there to make me happy? Only you. So that is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I come, I won’t be saddened by those who should give me joy. And I have complete confidence that all of you will share my happiness. However, I should tell that I wrote that letter in great distress, anguish of heart and many tears. I didn’t mean to make you sad – I only wanted to let you know the depth of my love for you.

If anyone has caused sadness, he has not so much saddened me as – I’m not exaggerating this – all of you. So the disciple you’ve given him will have been sufficient. Now you should  forgive him and give him reassurance, so that he’s not overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.

Another reason why I wrote to you was to see if you would stand the test and follow our advice. Therefore, when you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And what I have forgiven – whatever that may be – is forgiven in the sight of Christ’s authority for your sake, so that Satan won’t outwit, for we are not unaware of his methods.

So, when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me, I still had no peace of mind because my brother Titus wasn’t there. So I bid farewell to Troas and went on to Macedonia.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. For he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ like a sweet perfume. For we are to God the sweet perfume of Christ, both among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we bring the scent of death. But to those who are being saved, we bring the scent of life.

And who is equal to such a task?

We’re not, like so many, peddling the word of God for personal profit. No, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity – as people commissioned by God.

Paul

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