The Epistles of Paul - 2 Corinthians Part 9: Fulfilling Obedience

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The opening remarks are found here at the Christogenea Forum: http://forum.christogenea.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7825

The Epistles of Paul - 2 Corinthians Part 9: Fulfilling Obedience

In 2 Corinthians chapter 8 Paul turned his conversation from a rather expansive explanation of the Gospel of Reconciliation to discuss the collection which he had undertaken for the poor in Jerusalem, in which he had assurances that the Corinthians would participate. The apparent need for such a collection was never discussed, however that such a need indeed existed can indeed be determined from history in the records of Josephus and from the Book of Acts. We see in Acts chapters 4 and 5 that the apostles had founded an independent and self-sufficient Christian community. However we see in Acts chapters 6 and 7 that their community was persecuted and scattered, and that the apostles were being oppressed. When Paul had made his first trip to Antioch as it is recorded in Acts chapter 15, as he had explained in his epistle to the Galatians, that was 14 years after his conversion to Christ on the road to Damascus, and we had established in our commentary on Acts chapter 9, that the year was either 48 or 49 AD. As Paul seems to explain in Galatians chapter 2, this is where his promise to “remember the poor” had originally been made. Since the records in Acts and in what remains of Paul's epistles are quite incomplete, we can only piece together parts of some of these things, as there is no complete record of any of them.

Paul had made a subsequent visit to Jerusalem and to Antioch in perhaps 52 or 53 AD, which is recorded in Acts chapter 18:18-23. Whether Paul had brought any gifts to the poor of the saints in these places at that time cannot be determined, as the description of that journey is very concise and there are few records in the epistles. Now it is early 57 AD and Paul continues in his endeavor to fulfill his promise which was originally made in 48 or 49. In Acts chapter 24, after his arrest in 57 AD, he is quoted as having said to Felix “Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.” However the description “after many years” does not with any certainty exclude the possibility that Paul had brought alms to Jerusalem in the visit of 52 or 53 AD as well as in 57 AD.

From the histories of Josephus it may be determined that the Sadducees, the party from which members of certain families had rather consistently held the high priesthood through this period, had operated as a sort of organized crime ring. Throughout this very time they had frequently taken the law into their own hands, making false accusations and having people executed as they pleased. They were also organized against the priests, and had been taking their tithes for themselves to the point where the priests were starved to death. Christians were also being persecuted by the Sadducees at this time, just as it is also often recorded in the Book of Acts that Christians were being persecuted throughout the oikoumenê. Only a few years later, perhaps around 62 AD and only two years after Paul had been sent to Rome, immediately after the death of Festus the apostle James and his companions were put to death by those same Sadducees who had wanted to kill Paul. All of these things are explained in Josephus' Antiquities in Book 20. [Much of this had been discussed here earlier, in our presentation of Acts chapter 4 in June of 2013.]

Being persecuted in this manner, under the circumstances described by Josephus it would be impossible for the Christians of Judaea to work in order to support themselves. Therefore Paul's gifts and more would be required from Christians elsewhere for their sustenance. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, “14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” In chapter 8 of this epistle, in his intercourse with the Corinthians concerning these things, we see that Paul put his concern for the poor in Jerusalem ahead of even his concern for himself. In this 9th chapter of 2 Corinthians Paul continues this same discussion:

1 Certainly it is superfluous for me to write to you concerning the service which is for the saints. 2 I know your readiness, which concerning you I boast of to Makedonians; because Achaia had been prepared a year ago, and that of your zeal the greater amount is provoked.

Paul had already written concerning this service, so here he characterizes his exhortations as an unnecessary reinforcement of something already being done, which is in itself a tactic whereby he is actually offering encouragement to his readers. Corinth was in the Roman province of Achaia, which included all of the Peloponnesus along with a portion of mainland Greece. Paul had said at the end of his first epistle to the Corinthians: “1 Now concerning the collection that is for the saints, just as I had prescribed to the assemblies of Galatia, in that manner also you should do.... 3 And when I have arrived, whomever you may approve I will send them with instructions, to have your kindness carried off to Jerusalem; 4 and if perhaps it would be sufficient for me also to make the conveyance, they shall go across along with me. 5 Now I will come to you whenever I shall have passed through Makedonia; for I am passing through Makedonia.” That first epistle to the Corinthians was written about a year before this epistle was being written, in the early months of 57 AD. Paul is not yet aware of the extent of any gift which the Corinthians had collected for the saints, but he must have had some sort of pledge from them, and he is now presuming that they had it already prepared.

3 Now I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting concerning you would not be made empty in this respect, that just as I have been saying, you would be preparing;

Where Paul says “I have sent the brethren”, he intends Titus and the unnamed brother who had been chosen by the Corinthians to deliver their gift to Jerusalem on their behalf. Where he is described in chapter 8 of this epistle, we had speculated that he may have been that “Erastus the chamberlain of the city” whom Paul mentions in Romans chapter 16, which we believe may be the best and the only plausible conjecture as to the identity of this person. In any case, Titus must have brought this other individual to meet Paul in Nikopolis, and then Paul sent them both back to Corinth with this letter. Therefore Paul had not sent them as of yet, but delivering this letter after he completed it they would be present when it was finally read by the Corinthians.

From Paul's statements here, it is evident that he had encouraged the generosity of the Makedonians in the collections for the saints by informing them of what was being done in Corinth in regards to that collection. Here in chapter 8 of this epistle, Paul had in turn encouraged the Corinthians by informing them of the sincerity and abundance of the gift of the Makedonians. Ostensibly, Paul does this in order to encourage each of these assemblies to make sacrifices for the benefit of Christian communion.

4 lest perhaps if Makedonians should come with me, and they find you unprepared, we would be disgraced (‘we’, in which case I [א, B, and the MT have “we”; the text follows P 46, C, D, and 048] do not say ‘you’,) in this matter.

Paul clarified himself in a parenthetical statement to assure the Corinthians that they themselves would not be disgraced if they failed to execute their part of the endeavor, but that because he had boasted to the Makedonians concerning them, only he (where he says “we” on behalf of Timothy as well) would be disgraced.

The Greek word ὑπόστασις (5287) is literally translated as matter here. The word is a noun although the King James Version somehow treats it as an adjective and gives it a rather dubious meaning where it has confident. The Majority Text, which for the most part the King James Version had followed, appends the words “of boasting” to the end of the verse. The text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C), Claromontanus (D) and Vaticanus Graecus (048).

5 Therefore I have regarded it necessary to summon the brethren in order that they would go to you in advance, and put in order beforehand your previously announced blessing, this to be ready as a blessing, and not just as an advantage.

Titus would be included among the brethren which Paul intends here, as Paul had also seemed to indicate in chapter 8 that Titus was given primary responsibility for this task. However it is apparent that when Paul writes the Corinthians concerning these things, he also intends the inclusion of other Christian assemblies in Achaia as well, since in verse 2 he says that “Achaia had been prepared a year ago”. So there is apparently more to Paul's having summoned the brethren and the task assigned to Titus than what is apparent here on the surface of Paul's words. Corinth was only one prominent city in a province which also included Athens and Sparta, among many other lesser but notable ancient Greek cities. However from the context of these epistles, Corinth does seem to be the spiritual center of these assemblies of Christians throughout Achaia. Paul had opened this epistle by addressing it “to the assembly of Yahweh which is in Korinth, with all of the saints who are in the whole of Achaia”.

6 Now this: he who is sowing sparingly, sparingly then shall he reap; and he who is sowing by blessings, by blessings then shall he reap. 7 Each one just as he purposes in the heart; not from out of grief or from out of necessity, for Yahweh would love a cheerful giver.

Paul's teaching in this regard is in accordance with the words of Yahshua Christ as they appear in Matthew chapter 6: “1 Now offer your righteousness not to do before men, for them to behold, yet otherwise, you have no reward from your Father who is in the heavens. 2 Therefore when you should do an act of charity, you should not trumpet it before you, even as the hypocrites do in the assembly halls and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they receive their reward! 3 But upon your doing an act of charity, your left hand must not know what your right hand does, 4 that your act of charity would be in secret, and your Father who sees would repay you in secret.” (The Majority Text, and therefore the King James Version, have the end of that verse to read “... and your Father who sees in secret would repay you openly.”)

However Paul is not requiring of the Corinthians that they give to the poor liberally, as the King James Version wrongly translates the Greek word ἁπλότης (Strong's # 572), but only that they give sincerely, which is the actual meaning of the word. However Christians should also consider this: holding back when one has enough wealth to give more is not sincerity. Paul never demanded tithes, but Christian communion should be esteemed as greater than tithes.

From Proverbs chapter 11, from the Septuagint: “23 All the desire of the righteous is good: but the hope of the ungodly shall perish. 24 There are some who scatter their own, and make it more: and there are some also who gather, yet have less. 25 Every sincere soul is blessed: but a passionate man is not graceful. 26 May he that hoards corn leave it to the nation: but blessing be on the head of him that gives it. 27 He that devises good counsels seeks good favour: but as for him that seeks after evil, evil shall overtake him. 28 He that trusts in wealth shall fall; but he that helps righteous men shall rise.”

Neither should Christians seek worldly rewards. Worldly rewards should not be considered an impetus for charity. Christ Himself explained this as it is recorded in three of the Gospels. Here, from Matthew chapter 19: “21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

Where Paul says at the end of verse 7 “for Yahweh would love a cheerful giver”, he actually seems to be quoting a verse of Proverbs which is not found in those versions based upon the Masoretic Text. From Proverbs 22:8 in the Septuagint: “He that sows wickedness shall reap troubles; and shall fully receive the punishment of his deeds. God loves a cheerful and liberal man; but a man shall fully prove the folly of his works.” The word which Brenton translates as “liberal” is actually a noun which describes a giver. God loves a cheerful man and a giver, the phrase being a parallelism and the cheerful man himself being a giver, Paul has paraphrased it well. Verse 9 of the same chapter of Proverbs says “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.”

8 And able is Yahweh to make abundant every favor for you, in order that in everything, at all times, having all self-sufficiency, you may have the advantage in every good deed.

We pray that we have abundance so that we ourselves may be self-sufficient, and then in turn with our excess we may help the needy from among our brethren. Therefore where the Word of Yahweh says in Deuteronomy 8:18 that “thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers”, we see that with our wealth we also have an obligation to our kinsmen. Fulfilling that obligation, we have advantage in every good deed, which stores up for us treasure in heaven, which are the unseen rewards in which every Christian should have an expectation.

9 Just as it is written, “He has dispensed, he has given to the poor, his righteousness remains for the age”.

Here Paul quotes from Psalm 112:9 in reference to Christ. It is the Christian challenge for those of Israel to follow after Christ by imitating Him. We shall read the entire Psalm: “1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. 6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. 9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. 10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.”

10 Now He who is supplying besides seed to he who is sowing also wheat-bread for food, He will supply and He will multiply your sowing, and He will increase the produce of your justice [or righteousness]; 11 in every way being enriched in all sincerity, which through us [both Paul and his readers] accomplishes gratitude to Yahweh.

In other words, Yahweh God is supplying seed to the sower and in addition to that seed he is also providing to the sower bread for his own food, the language is difficult but our version literally translates every word of the Greek. The King James Version has bountifulness for ἁπλότης, a word which means sincerity, which we have discussed at length when we first encountered it in verse 2 of chapter 8 of this epistle. When we are blessed in our sustenance and our goods, we should give the credit and praise to Yahweh our God. When we in turn are able to provide for needy brethren with our excess, we should do the same. Wealth is a gift from God like any other gift, and all of our gifts should be used towards the edification of the body of Christ.

From Isaiah chapter 55: “ 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater”.

12 Because the service of this ministry is not only its replenishing of the deficiencies of the saints, but also its having abundance through many thanksgivings to Yahweh,

The Greek word for service here is διάκονία (Strong's # 1248), which is usually ministry in the King James Version. The Greek word for ministry here is λειτουργία (Strong's # 3009), which is often transliterated as liturgy. The word λειτουργία, according to Liddell & Scott, originally described a public service performed for the general good at one's own cost. The Roman Catholic Church later pilfered the word for its own advantage.

The poor of the saints in Jerusalem are here for an example, that service to the poor was for the good of the entire body of Christ, and it should be a matter of service in all ages for Christians to see to that same thing among their own needy brethren. Through this, the many would be thankful to God.

13 through the proof of this service honoring Yahweh, upon the submission of your agreement to the good message of the Anointed, and sincerity of the partnership for them and for all,

Yahweh God is honored when Christians perform good deeds for their fellows. Devoting one's life to the betterment of one's Israelite kinsmen is submission to the Gospel of Christ, because He had given His life in that same manner. Christians demonstrate the sincerity of their profession and their own obedience to Christ through the good works that they do for their Christian brethren, which is the sincerity of their partnership, or communion. The Greek word κοινωνία (Strong's # 2842), which Liddell & Scott define as meaning “communion, association, partnership, fellowship” is translated here as partnership in order to emphasize what true Christian communion really is: that all Israelite Christians should be bound to fellowship with one another in a joint endeavor to build the Kingdom of God.

The King James Version has distribution here for κοινωνία, which may be the purpose of the fellowship in this context, that the gift of the assemblies be distributed to the poor in Jerusalem, but it is not an accurate meaning of the word. That version also has liberal, which is an adjective, for the noun ἁπλότης, which means sincerity. Likewise, the word ἁπλότης does not properly mean liberal, and the King James translation is dishonest.

14 and in their entreaty for you, yearning for you for the sake of the favor of Yahweh overflowing upon you.

The partnership is fulfilled when the recipients of the gifts of the assemblies offer their own thanks to Yahweh God in return for those gifts, as once they are sustained they can offer their prayers and gratitude in exchange for His mercy which has been effected through the assemblies.

As Paul of Tarsus in the first 7 chapters of this epistle had used the problems within the assembly at Corinth to demonstrate many of the wonderful aspects of the Gospel of Reconciliation of Israel to Yahweh God, here Paul is using the example of his collection for the poor in Jerusalem as a means to describe how the Kingdom of God should function: in the practice of love and true care for one another.

15 Now gratitude to Yahweh for His indescribable gift.

The body of Christ, when it functions in accordance with the Law of God, is indeed an indescribable gift to each and every member.

This concludes chapter 9, and we shall proceed with chapter 10 of Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians:

1 Now I myself, Paul, exhort you by the gentleness and fairness of the Anointed, who concerning stature am humble among you, but being absent am bold towards you;

Where the Greek word πρόσωπον appears in contexts such as this, it should improve our understanding of what is meant where similar terms appear in the often-misunderstood phrases “respect of persons” or “respecter of persons”, such as one may find in Romans 2:11 where the King James Version says “For there is no respect of persons with God.” If Scripture is interpreted correctly, such a sentence cannot be used to discredit the fact that Yahweh has chosen Israel exclusively, and that the New Covenant was made explicitly with the same ancient Israelites and their descendants, as His Word states explicitly in so many other places.

Here πρόσωπον (Strong's # 4383) is stature, where the King James Version has person, and it is appearance in verse 7 both here and in the King James Version. In a different context we have rendered the word as person, where it is used particularly of the presence of Christ in 2 Corinthians 4:6. The word describes the presence, appearance, or status of an individual, and not at all does it describe the substance of the individual.

In James chapter 2 the related word προσωπολημψία was used to refer to the different appearance or status of wealthy Israelites as opposed to poor Israelites. In Romans chapter 2 Paul used it to refer to the difference between the circumcised Israelites of the remnant in Judaea who kept the law, as opposed to the uncircumcised Israelites of the ancient dispersions of Israel who had become pagans and had forsaken the law. Here Paul uses πρόσωπον of his own stature to describe himself as he is in appearance in person, as opposed to the boldness of his words in his epistles. None of these passages have anything to do with race, or whether one is or is not under the covenants, which is another matter entirely and which is addressed by many other passages in Scripture.

2 but I want, not being present, to be bold with the confidence with which I reckon to be daring towards certain others who are reckoning us as walking in accordance with the flesh.

[The translation of this verse has been revised from our original translation.]

The King James Version has this verse to read “2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.”

The King James Version strips the word παρών [which means “being present”] of its negative particle μή (μὴ παρὼν), which is “not”. Properly the negative particle negates the word or phrase which it precedes, and therefore the negative particle must belong to the participle παρών. But the King James Version applies the negative to the verb which follows instead, which is θαρρῆσαι (“to be bold”). This is a peculiar and incorrect reading which many others have since followed. But the verb θαρρῆσαι to which they have errantly applied the negative particle was also misread. Before going on to discuss that verb, it must be said that the American Standard, English Revised, Weymouth and World English Bible versions of the New Testament also correctly apply the negative particle here, so we are not alone in this instance.

The verb θαρρῆσαι, from θαρσέω (2293, “to be bold” here) is read here in the King James Version as well as in most other versions in the 1st person. The verb τολμῆσαι, from τολμάω (5111, “to dare” here) is read in the King James Version as an Infinitive. The -σαι ending is found in certain 2nd person Aorist verbs of the Medium or Passive voices, or as an Aorist Infinitive, but never is it found in the 1st person. This form is found again at 13:7, in the verb ποιῆσαι (4160) which is rendered in the King James Version as “ye do”, in the 2nd person. Weymouth in his translation of the verb θαρρῆσαι correctly rendered it as an infinitive, while all other popular translations seem to have followed the King James.

Here I had initially read both θαρρῆσαι and τολμῆσαι in the 2nd person, which was technically correct, but the King James Version rendering of ποιῆσαι in 2 Corinthians 13:7, which is also wrong, helped lead me to believe that the verb form may belong to the second person plural. Not to make excuses for myself, but there were scant resources available when I had originally translated Paul's epistles. However now I have learned that the forms may belong to either the Infinitive, or to the 2nd person singular rather than the plural. Therefore, although the original translation may be technically correct in English (where the number of the pronoun you is ambiguous), the singular verb does not truly fit the context of the passage, and therefore realizing that the words must be translated as Infinitives, I have emended the translation.

Nevertheless, Paul has consistently used himself as an example in his epistles, and if he should be bold in his defense of the faith then all Christians should be bold in that same manner.

3 Indeed walking in the flesh, we do not serve in accordance with flesh. 4 For the arms of our warfare are not fleshly, but through Yahweh they are able to destroy strongholds, 5 destroying reasonings and every bulwark raising itself up against the knowledge of Yahweh, and taking captive every thought into the obedience of the Anointed;

The word λογισμός (3053), here in the plural being translated as reasonings may have been translated as arguments in this context, which Liddell & Scott explain in their definition of the word (λογισμός, II. 2.).

As Paul had said in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, “17 Christ sent me not to immerse, but to announce the good message; not in wisdom of speech, that the cross of Christ be left empty. 18 (For the account of the cross is folly to those who are going to die, but to those who are being preserved, to us, it is the power of Yahweh.) 19 Indeed it is written, “I will destroy the cunning of the shrewd, and the understanding of the sagacious I will set aside”. 20 Where is the cunning? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Did Yahweh not make foolish the wisdom of the Society? 21 Since indeed in the wisdom of Yahweh, the Society does not know Yahweh through wisdom, Yahweh has been pleased by the folly of the proclamation to preserve those that are believing. 22 Then since Judaeans demand signs, and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, to Judaeans indeed a trap, and to heathens folly; 24 but to those the called, both Judaeans and Greeks, anointed of Yahweh power and of Yahweh wisdom, 25 seeing that the folly of Yahweh is wiser than mankind, and the weakness of Yahweh is stronger than mankind. ”

With this we should see that the Word of God in the Scripture is the arms of our warfare, but that we do not employ those arms against the enemies of God, because as he says here, “the account of the cross is folly to those who are going to die”. Taking captive every thought, we seek to win the minds of our brethren over to Christ because as Paul also says, “Yahweh has been pleased by the folly of the proclamation to preserve those that are believing.” As Paul also admonished the Romans, in chapter 12 of his epistle to them: “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Here in 2 Corinthians we see these seemingly disparate ideas coalesce, that making our own lives and well-being the substance of our Christian communion for the benefit of our brethren, our good conduct is our living sacrifice and our service to God. Paul used the example of the collection for the poor in Jerusalem to illustrate that very idea here in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9. Doing this, according to Paul in Romans chapter 12, we transform our minds and conform ourselves to Christ. That is the fulfillment of our obedience of which Paul speaks in the balance of the statement where he says in the verse which follows:

6 also being [ἔχοντες, literally “having”, see L & S at ἔχω, B. II.] in readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever you shall have fulfilled your obedience.

We read at 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” The wicked are not going to be eradicated from this world until the children of Israel who remain decide to turn to obedience in Christ. There is no other alternative.

The apostle Jude speaks of the avenging of disobedience in his short epistle where he says “14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” This prophecy which Jude found in Enoch is indubitably related to that which is found in Micah chapter 4 where it says “ 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” This prophecy is also related to that of the fall of Babylon in Revelation chapter 18, where following the announcement that “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” we read: “4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”

These are three clear prophecies, that Yahweh God shall employ the children of Israel in the destruction of the wicked. However as Paul illustrates here, before the children of Israel can be of any use to their God in that endeavor, they must first fulfill their own obedience. As Paul has illustrated in Romans chapter 12 and more pragmatically here in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, that includes the conversion of one's own interests into the living dedication of one's life as an ongoing sacrifice for one's brethren.

The apostle John had taught this same thing in chapter 3 of his first epistle where he had written that “10 By this are manifest the children of Yahweh and the children of the False Accuser. All who are not bringing about justice are not from of Yahweh, and he not loving his brother, 11 because this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Kain who was from of the Wicked One and slaughtered his brother; and with delight he slaughtered him, because his deeds were evil, but those of his brother righteous. 13 Do not wonder, brethren, if Society hates you. 14 We know that we have passed over from out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He not loving abides in death. 15 Each hating his brother is a murderer, and you know that any murderer does not have eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love: that He has laid down His life on our behalf, and we are obliged to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren. 17 Now who would have the substance of Society and should see his brother having need and shuts off his affections from him? How does the love of Yahweh abide in him? 18 Children, we should not love in word nor with the tongue, but in deeds and in truth.”

Here Paul teaches that same thing, that in order for Christians to be worthy to partake in the avenging of disobedience, they must first put Christianity into practice, and fulfill their own obedience. Crying out concerning the enemies of God is not sufficient in itself, if one does not demonstrate Christian love for the people of God.

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