2 Corinthians 1:12–2:4 (ESV)
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely
so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that
on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.
15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to
come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was
I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been
Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find
their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also
put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
23 But I call God to witness against me—it
was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
2 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one
whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For
I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
Paul defends his
ministry to the Corinthians not according to the standards of the world but according to the gracious character of God’s message delivered through self-sacrificing servants. Sharing the Gospel message often exposes us as unworthy servants. In the midst
of the hardships that Gospel ministry brings in a sinful world, the confidence of Christ, His encouraging, sustaining, forgiving presence, is a constant blessing for those who trust Him (1:21).
I pray: Dear Jesus, even in the midst of the battles of life, Your love and Your grace not only sustain us, but they are also the solid ground from which we can always begin again. We trust in Your everlasting love. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The
Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1982–1983.