A CHANGE OF PLANS DOES NOT NECESSARILY COMPROMISE ONE’S SINCERITY AND COMMITMENT
I. (1:15-16) PAUL MADE PLANS TO VISIT CORINTH
A. (:15a) Good Intentions
“And in this confidence I intended at first to come to you
B. (:15b-16) Mutual Benefit
1. Paul Blessing the Corinthians
“that you might twice receive a blessing.”
a. On the Way to Macedonia
“that is, to pass your way into Macedonia”
b. On the Return Trip Back from Macedonia
“and again from Macedonia to come to you”
2. Paul Receiving Blessing From the Corinthians
“and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea”
II. (1:17-22) HE MADE THESE PLANS WITH FULL INTEGRITY OF COMMITMENT
— the commitment which characterizes God, who fulfills all His promises
A. (:17-18) Paul’s Word of Commitment Corresponds to the Faithfulness of God
1. No Problem of Indecision
“Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I?”
2. No Problem of Contradiction
“Or that which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?”
3. True to His Word
“But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.”
Hughes: Paul finds it incredible that any at Corinth could really have thought that a change in plan pointed to a change in character.
B. (:19-20) Christ Models the Integrity of Commitment
1. (:19) Christ is the Ultimate Standard for Integrity of Commitment
“For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us –by me and Silvanus and Timothy – was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.”
No vacillation / no Indecision / no Confusion / no Contradiction
Hughes: Nothing could be more incongruous than to suspect of insincerity the Apostle whose entire being was dedicated to the service and proclamation of Him who is the Truth and the Same yesterday, today, and for ever. The veracity of the Christ, by faith in whom, in accordance with the word of God, their lives had been completely transformed, was evidence conclusive to them of the veracity of him who had endured so much in order to bring the message to them.
2. (:20) Christ Fulfills All of God’s Promises
“For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”
C. (:21-22) The Rest of the Godhead Ensures the Integrity of our Commitment
1. (:21) God the Father Ensures the Integrity of our Commitment
“Now He who established us with you in Christ and anointed us is God.”
2. (:22) God the Spirit Ensures the Integrity of our Commitment
“who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”
III. (1:23 – 2:4) HE CHOSE TO CHANGE HIS PLANS – TO SPARE THEM APOSTOLIC DISCIPLINE
A. (1:23 – 2:2) Apostolic Discipline would be Painful for the Corinthians and for Paul
1. (:23-24) Apostolic Discipline would be Painful for the Corinthians
a. (:23) Motive of Mercy (in not coming to discipline)
“But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.”
b. (:24) Humility of Mutuality (rather than leadership by lordship)
“Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.”
2. (2:1-2) Apostolic Discipline would be Painful for Paul
a. (:1) Discipline is an Occasion for Sorrow
“But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again.”
b. (:2) The Sorrow is Mutual
“For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful?”
B. (2:3-4) Loving Pastoral Exhortation Points the Way Towards Joy Instead of Sorrow
(By giving them time to deal with their problems, Paul could make a joyful visit)
1. (:3) Pastoral Exhortation Based on Confidence of Follow Through
“And this is the very thing I wrote you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all.”
2. (:4) Pastoral Exhortation Flowing out of a Concerned Heart of Love
“For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.”
Hughes: Genuine love always experiences profound grief when it perceives those who are loved falling into error and disloyalty; it always manifests itself in deep concern for their best and highest interests. By writing, rather than immediately coming to them in person with a rod, he lovingly afforded them an opportunity for self-examination, repentance, and reformation.
Gromacki: The usage of the two words of emotion plus the adjective “much” reveal that the apostle was not cold and heartless. Rather, the source . . . of the epistle was a compassionate, loving concern.
* * * * * * * * * *
1) The Body of Christ has been designed to function in such a way that every time we are together corporately there is the expectation of mutual blessing – both the giving and receiving of blessing. This is due to our interdependency on what role each member in the body contributes. Christ as the Head of His body orchestrates the flow of these blessings.
2) Verse 19 shows that Christ Jesus as the Son of God was the focus of all of Paul’s preaching along with that of the other apostles and their delegates.
3) Christ is the ultimate standard for integrity of commitment.
4) All of the precious promises of God find their fulfillment in Christ who demonstrates the faithfulness of God to keep His Word.