Summary: God's love is a purifying force. God's love for us seeks to free us from all defiling influences.
2 CORINTHIANS 6:11-7:1 [GAINING PERSPECTIVE Series]
A FATHER APPEALS TO HIS CHILDREN
Love seeks to draw those loved nearer, and as we are drawn near to God our ability to love is enlarged and purified. God's love is holy and is therefore jealous of what would harm those He loves and keep them from returning His love.
God's love therefore is a purifying force. It causes us to seek that which would increase it and to abstain from what would decrease it. God here states His strong love for the Corinthians and exhorts them to keep themselves free from all contaminating alliances. God's love for us seeks to free us from all defiling influences (CIT).
I. LOVE'S FULL DISCLOSURE, 11-13.
II. AGREEMENT WITH CHRIST, 14-16.
III. THE PROMISE OF HOLINESS, 17- 7:1.
[Paul here resumes the tread of thought interrupted by his reflections into the glory of the ministry in 2:14.] At the conclusion of his fervent out pouring of spirit the apostle pauses to address the Corinthians by name, which is a mark of great love and warmth in his letters (Gal 3:1, Phil 4:15). Hear the deep emotion with which Paul addresses the church in verse 11. “Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.”
Paul had not held back anything (spoken freely) in his portrayal of Christian service. He had spoken freely concerning the trials, the encouragements, the responsibilities, the judgements, the rewards that make service for God so glorious. His heart is open wide. [“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Mt 12:34). For good or bad, freedom in speaking forth is evidence of an unconstrained heart.] Paul opened wide his heart [Gk platynô, “widen”] and reveal himself as he is for all to see. Widening or enlarging his heart also gives the idea of increasing its capacity for sympathy and understanding.
In spite of all the problems and heartaches the church had caused him, Paul still loved the believers at Corinth very much. So often words of affection are left unspoken especially by men. Whatever failings Paul may have had, restrained affirmation of affection [splanchnous] was not one of them.
Verse 12 indicates the problem with the Corinthians lies in their inability to receive truth and therefore to receive Paul. “You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.”
Paul has just demonstrated that moving deeper into Christ, maturing in Christian service gives freedom to become, to grow, to become more Christ-like. Growing in our freedom to serve Christ is unlike the unrestraint that the world invites us to live which brings bondage and constraint in the chains of sin. Neither Paul nor his co-laborers were the ones making them fill hemmed in, restricted, uptight concerning the things of God. They felt uptight because of their affections for things they should not no longer desire. Paul wants them to know the truth, accepting the truth about the binding of wrong affections and associations will set them free of them (Jn. 8:32).