- Overcoming tribulation
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
“For anyone seeking the courage to repent and change, I remind you that the Church is not a monastery for the isolation of perfect people. It is more like a hospital provided for those who wish to get well. Do whatever you have to do to come into the fold and be blessed. For some of you that is simply to live with greater faith, to believe more. For some of you it does mean to repent-right here. Today…
“This reliance upon the forgiving, long-suffering, merciful nature of God was taught from before the very foundation of the world. It was always to give us hope and help, a reason to progress and improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation. May I be bold enough to suggest that it is impossible for anyone who really knows God to doubt his willingness to receive us with open arms in a divine embrace if we will but ‘come unto him.’ There certainly can and will be plenty of external difficulties in life; nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ dwells within a personal fortress, a veritable palace of perfect peace. ‘Whoso hearkeneth unto me,’ Jehovah says, ‘shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil’ (Prov. 1:33).
“That is exactly what Paul said to the Corinthians. Trying to help them keep their chins up-and the Corinthians had a lot to be grim about-he wrote: ‘Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4).” (Jeffrey R Holland, “Come unto Me,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 18-19)
2 Corinthians 1: 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
‘Paul regarded the Lord Jesus as the source of consolation, and felt that the comfort which he imparted, or which was imparted through him, was more than sufficient to overbalance all the trials which he endured in this cause.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that wedespaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
“Paul sees fit to remind the saints at Corinth of the great afflictions and sufferings he has been called to bear in his missionary labors in Asia. Even though his trials were so great that at one point he says he ‘despaired even of life’ (1:8), he has trust in the ‘God which raiseth the dead’ (1:9)-probably a reference to the detailed exposition he had already sent them on resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul has experienced God’s deliverance from death as a mortal and furthermore has the assurance that God will ultimately deliver him when he finally does succumb to death in the future. Trust in God’s eventual deliverance from suffering provides comfort to all persons faced with affliction. Referring to the trials endured by many of the saints at Corinth, Paul assures them that just as the victory over death was wrought by Christ through suffering, so too it is through suffering that mortals can receive consolation and salvation: ‘For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.’ (1:5-7.)” (Robert L. Millet, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 74.)
2 Corinthians 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
‘Though the apostle ascribes their deliverance solely to God, as the author and efficient cause of it; yet he takes notice of the prayers of the saints for them, as helping causes or means of their obtaining it.’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
“Paul seemed to glory in persecution. It was he who said that persecution was the natural heritage of the faithful (see Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12). As we read of his trials we are reminded of the words of the Lord to Ananias at the time of Paul’s conversion, when he told Ananias that Paul was a chosen vessel, but that the Lord would ‘shew [Paul] how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake’ (Acts 9:16). Certainly Paul learned exactly what this meant before his life was through.” (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 329.)
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
‘The apostles were great sufferers, yet they met with wonderful support. Believers may be forsaken of their friends, as well as persecuted by enemies; but their God will never leave them nor forsake them. There may be fears within, as well as fightings without; yet we are not destroyed.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2 Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
‘Daniel was prepared to enter the den of lions; the three Hebrew children were not afraid of the fate that awaited them; the Apostles were valiant for the truth and shrank not from death for its sake, and why could those men and others under similar circumstances stand by their convictions without flinching? Because, in the first place, they had the truth and they knew it for themselves; and in the second place, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, sustained them as that power alone can in all the trying scenes through which the people of God are called to pass. And this is so today. What the Latter-day Saints have done by way of preaching the Gospel under all kinds of difficulties, building up cities and subduing waste lands, and establishing themselves in the earth, they have done by the revelations and commandments of God to them.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses)
2 Corinthians 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
‘Knowing that God the Father, who raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead, as the first-fruits of them that sleep, shall likewise, by the virtue of his resurrection, and by a power flowing from him, as now alive, and sitting at the right hand of God, quicken our mortal bodies; that both our souls and bodies may be presented with you, to be both eternally glorified: this maketh us that we do not fear death, but are unconcerned, although by wicked men we every day be delivered to it, and brought within the danger and sight of it; still the resurrection of Christ is made the foundation of our resurrection, and a firm ground for our faith of it.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
“When my sister was in the Young Women program, she, like many girls then and now, enjoyed talking with her friends and being silly whenever she had a chance. On one occasion a teacher finally got fed up and told her, ‘Leave the class and don’t come back until you can behave.’ My sister left and never did come back. That was 30 years ago.
“As Proverbs 18:19 reminds us, ‘A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.’ It is so easy to offend someone-and so dangerous! The Apostle Paul, knowing how a thoughtless action or comment could affect a member’s attitude about the Church, urged us to give ‘no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed’ (2 Cor. 6:3).
“…This leads us to the other side of the issue: we have a responsibility to avoid taking offense and to freely forgive, even when we have not been asked to do so. One of the most frequently reported reasons for Church inactivity is ‘Someone offended me.’ We need to exercise patience with others. If we allow ourselves to be offended, any excuse will do.” (Denise Turner, “If Any Man Offend Not,” Ensign, Aug. 1998, 46-47)
2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
‘O ye Twelve! and all Saints! profit by this important Key—that in all your trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, bonds, imprisonments and death, see to it, that you do not betray heaven; that you do not betray Jesus Christ; that you do not betray the brethren; that you do not betray the revelations18 of God, whether in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come. Yea, in all your kicking and flounderings, see to it that you do not this thing, lest innocent blood be found upon your skirts, and you go down to hell. All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
2 Corinthians 6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
‘In this verse, Paul proceeds to specifications of what he had been called to endure. In the previous verse, he had spoken of his afflictions in general terms.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
2 Corinthians 6: 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
“I heard a missionary up in Oregon giving the report of his mission. He himself was a convert to the Church, and he came down with his fist on the pulpit, and he said, ‘I wouldn’t take a check tonight for a million dollars for the experience of my mission.’ I sat back of him, and I said to myself, ‘Would you take a million dollars for your first mission in the little land of Holland?’ And I began counting the families that I’d been instrumental in bringing into the Church. What kind of a man would I be if I were to sell them out of the Church for a million dollars? I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world!” (LeGrand Richards, “The Joy of Serving a Mission,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 33)
2 Corinthians 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
‘I speak as to those reproaches they cast on me, who am by them represented to you as though I were weak and contemptible; as indeed I am, as to my person, but not as to my doctrine, and the miracles I have wrought amongst you. And being some of them are so confident in boasting what they are, and what they have done and suffered; let me be a little bold as well as they, in telling you what I am, and what I have done and suffered.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
“In Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Moses set down the principle that a guilty man could be lashed forty times. The Jewish rabbis had reduced that to thirty-nine, lest there should be a miscount and he be whipped more than forty times. (Moses waned against exceeding that number, and so the extra caution.) By Paul’s time this had developed into a brutally painful punishment meted out with great precision. To anyone familiar with the Jewish scourging, Paul’s claim that he endured such punishment five times is an impressive claim indeed, for often the victim died under the lashing. Farrar has given us a detailed description of the practice.
‘Both of [the victim’s] hands were tied to…a stake a cubit and a half high. The public officer then tore down his robe until his breast was laid bare. The executioner stood on a stone behind the criminal. The scourge consisted of two thongs, one of which was composed of four strands of calf-skin, and one of two strands of ass’s-skin, which passed through a hole in a handle…The prisoner bent to receive the blows, which were inflicted with one hand, but with all the force of the striker, thirteen on the breast, thirteen on the right [shoulder], and thirteen on the left shoulder…’ (Farrar, The Life and Works of ST. Paul, pp. 715-16)
“As we saw from Acts, Paul’s typical missionary approach was to enter the synagogue and begin preaching…When one contemplates the determination it would take to undergo such a flogging a second time, after suffering it once, one gets some idea of the extent of Paul’s commitment to Christ. Little wonder that he is peeved by the empty boasting and petty criticism of the false teachers at Corinth!” (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 303)
2 Corinthians 11: 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
‘When people receive the Gospel, their minds are opened; they see Zion in its glory; but they do not see the troubles on the Plains, or the troubles with false brethren. They are young, weak, and unprepared to receive those things which the Lord will suffer to come upon them. They are not prepared for those trials that will purify and prepare them for exaltation; their minds are only prepared for the riches and fulness of the glory of God that has been shown to them when the vision of their minds was opened by the Spirit of the living God; and but little do they know what they have to pass through.’ (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses)
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
2 Corinthians 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
‘The apostle gives an account of his labours and sufferings; not out of pride or vain-glory, but to the honour of God, who enabled him to do and suffer so much for the cause of Christ; and shows wherein he excelled the false apostles, who tried to lessen his character and usefulness. It astonishes us to reflect on this account of his dangers, hardships, and sufferings, and to observe his patience, perseverance, diligence, cheerfulness, and usefulness, in the midst of all these trials. See what little reason we have to love the pomp and plenty of this world, when this blessed apostle felt so much hardship in it. Our utmost diligence and services appear unworthy of notice when compared with his, and our difficulties and trials scarcely can be perceived. It may well lead us to inquire whether or not we really are followers of Christ. Here we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God’s presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
“Leaving Arabia and the scenes of his spiritual adjustment and preparation, Saul returned to Damascus. Here he plunged directly into the work of his ministry, and so vigorous and effective must his testimony have been for ‘many days’ that ‘the Jews took counsel to kill him.’ (Acts 9:23) Now Saul got a taste of persecution himself-sinister persecution that did not scruple at the taking of life.
“…Saul learned of the plot against him and of the fact that his enemies watched the gates of Damascus day and night to kill him. (Acts 9:24) The plotters enlisted the active help of the ethnarch of Damascus, who was the representative of King Aretas, the Roman-recognized ruler of the city. The ethnarch, as guardian of the metropolis, gave instructions to the guards at each of the gates to apprehend Saul if he should attempt to escape. (2 Cor. 11:32) The situation became so tense that Saul finally decided upon flight. It is a wise man who knows when to hold his ground and when to flee. A dead man could not very well carry the Gospel to the Gentiles, so flight it was. Saul was aided by the disciples (same mss. read ‘his disciples’) in Damascus to make a clever escape. Certain houses on the wall of the city had windows overhanging the fosse, and one or more of those houses may have belonged to the loyal friends of Saul. It was decided to put the fleeing man through a window in a basket and lower him down the wall under cover of darkness. (Acts 9:25; 2 Cor. 11:33) Thus the beleaguered Saul made good his escape.” (Sidney B. Sperry, Paul’s Life and Letters [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955], 26.)
2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
‘It is neither comely, nor of any advantage to myself, to glory; nor would I do it but in this case of necessity, where glorying is necessary for the glory of God, and for your good, to vindicate myself to you from the imputations that some others lay upon me. ‘ (Jamieson- Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
“Paul also understood and taught the doctrine of various heavens, or degrees of glory. In fact, in his second letter to the saints at Corinth, he states that he knew a man who was ‘caught up to the third heaven’ (2 Corinthians 12:2). Naturally, if there is a ‘third’ heaven, there must also be a first and a second. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul identifies three degrees of glory and gives names to two of these heavens. In speaking of the order of resurrected bodies, he states: ‘There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead’ (1 Corinthians 15:40-42; emphasis added). Thus Paul indicates that the highest heaven, whose glory is like the sun, is called the celestial. The second heaven, whose glory is like the moon, is the terrestrial. The lowest order of heaven, whose glory is like the stars, is not named by Paul.
“The clearest and most comprehensive statement in all scripture on the three heavens, or degrees of glory, comes from modern scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants. This book contains the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who, on 16 February 1832, were shown these heavens in vision and who recorded their experience.” (Daniel H. Ludlow, Selected Writings of Daniel H. Ludlow: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 412.)
2 Corinthians 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
The man is Paul himself.
2 Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heardunspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
“…it is apparent that something is being withheld, and it is also apparent that it is being held back not arbitrarily but for a good reason, namely, that people are not ready to receive it. It is also apparent that people are to be given knowledge as they are able to receive it, so that the mysteries of the kingdom are imparted by degrees. There are, as it were, automatic safeguards built into the teaching to protect sacred things from common misunderstanding and to protect the unworthy from damaging themselves with them.” (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988], 94.)
2 Corinthians 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
‘The apostle in great modesty seems to speak of some other person, and not himself, as caught up into the third heaven, when he yet means himself; and does as it were distinguish himself from himself; himself in paradise from himself on earth; his sense is, that though he might lawfully glory of such a person so highly exalted and favoured, yet since this was his own case, he chose to forbear, and say no more of it. ‘(Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
2 Corinthians 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
“Paul indicated that ‘there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Italics added.) Use of the word givensuggests that Paul knew wherefrom this affliction came. Further, as it must be with anyone who seeks sainthood, Paul had to be ‘willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him.’ (Mosiah 3:19.)
“There may be those who choose to debate the significance of whether or not an omnipotent God gives us a particular trial or simply declines to remove it. The outcome is obviously the same either way; God is willing for us to undergo that challenge. Yet He promises us that His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9; Ether 12:26-27.) He even indicates that some of the weaknesses and infirmities given to us can actually become a strength to us. It is in our weakness and extremity that God’s power is fully felt. Only when, of ourselves, we are helpless is His help truly appreciated.” (Neal A Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 31.)
2 Corinthians 12: 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
This reminds us of the Saviour’s three-fold prayer in Gethsemane.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
“We should have great hope in knowing, however unworthy we may feel or weak we may be, that if we will do all we can, He will come to our aid and provide for us whatever we may lack. (See 2 Cor. 12:9.) That statement, to some degree, defines grace.
“Grace is a ‘divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.’ It is ‘an enabling power.’ (Bible Dictionary, p. 697.) The doctrine of the grace of the Father and the Son and how it affects us is so significant that it is mentioned more than two hundred times in the standard works.
“If we can obtain the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that divine enabling power to assist us, we will triumph in this life and be exalted in the life to come.” (Gene R Cook, “Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1993, 80)
2 Corinthians 12: 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
‘I rejoice in afflictions, for they are necessary to humble and prove us, that we may comprehend ourselves, become acquainted with our weakness and infirmities; and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers, therefore I feel to rejoice all the day long.’ (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses)
- Forgiving others
2 Corinthians 2:5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
‘Not to me: Not that Paul did not grieve over the offender; but he desires to emphasize the fact that the injury caused by the sin was not to him personally, but to the Church.’ (Vincent’s Word Studies)
2 Corinthians 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
“Paul wrote to the Saints at Corinth about the importance of forgiving readily, ‘Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.’ (2 Cor. 2:11.) Only as we forgive do we earn the right to be forgiven. This is an eternal principle, so taught by the Savior when he said: ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.’ (Matt. 6:14.)
“Paul certainly understood this great truth, for he taught: ‘And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph. 4:32.)
“Not only need we forgive to be forgiven, but we must also repent to earn this great blessing. A prophet of our day has recorded that the repentant ‘shall be forgiven, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.’ (D&C 68:24.) Then this sweet assurance followed: ‘. . . and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ (D&C 58:42.)” (Robert L Simpson, Conference Report, October 1966, Afternoon Meeting 128.)
2 Corinthians 2: 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
‘The Lord expects more of the disciple than ordinary response to need, to opportunity, to commandment. He expects more humility, more hearkening, more repenting, more mercy and forgiving and faith, more service and sacrifice.’ (Marion D Hanks, General Conference, October 1976)
2 Corinthians 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
‘The apostle desires them to receive the person who had done wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of his fault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow for sin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. Not only was there danger last Satan should get advantage, by tempting the penitent to hard thoughts of God and religion, and so drive him to despair; but against the churches and the ministers of Christ, by bringing an evil report upon Christians as unforgiving; thus making divisions, and hindering the success of the ministry. In this, as in other things, wisdom is to be used, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how to make a bad use of our mistakes.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Bible Commentary)
- Feeling godly sorrow for our sins
2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
“Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, giving further detailed instructions…Another purpose for writing was to heal his relationship with them before he arrived. At the beginning, he worried that the Corinthians had misread his motives, mentioning there and later, ‘I made you sorry with a letter’ (2 Cor. 7:8). This could be a lost letter, although 1 Corinthians is harsh enough in places to qualify. That detail does not matter as much as seeing the unbending determination of Paul to speak the truth but to keep a good relationship with the Corinthians. He did not attempt to smooth over difficulties with superficial politeness. This second letter is a genuine second communication of gratitude that the first letter found its mark and that lives were changed. This combination of firmness and profound love for the Corinthians throws some commentators off guard. Since they cannot understand how the same letter can combine reproof and healing outreach, the Corinthian correspondence is often sliced into a number of letters. But this is purely artificial, for Jesus and Paul stood for love based on reality. Thus both criticism and concern can be given in the same communication. This is the case with 2 Corinthians, with an added factor. There were now two main groups in the branch, one of which had achieved the unity that Paul commanded, but the other stood defiant against him. So Paul’s mood swings in the letter to match the two different groups addressed.” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 131 – 132.)
2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
‘Whereas “I did repent” or regret having made you sorry by my letter, I rejoice NOW, not that ye were caused sorrow, but that your sorrow resulted in your repentance.’ (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
“Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ (See 3 Ne. 9:20; Moro. 6:2; D&C 20:37, 59:8; Ps. 34:18; Ps. 51:17; Isa. 57:15.) Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4)
- Becoming reconciled to God
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
‘He is a new creature; ( the Greek is, a new creation); a phrase which argueth the greatest change imaginable, and such a one as can be wrought in the soul by no other power than the power of God. ‘ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
“…missionary work is the work of bringing people to peace with Christ and God. Paul calls it reconciliation. In his second letter to the Corinthians he said, ‘God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, . . . hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.’ (2 Corinthians 5:18.) He then declared that we are ambassadors for Christ and that we should bring all people to be reconciled to God. Through missionary work, we bring people to the waters of baptism, and through baptism they receive remission of their sins and peace in Christ.” (Robert E Wells, The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 87.)
2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew nosin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
“The night of atonement was a night of irony. He who was sinless became, as it were, the great Sinner. In Paul’s words, God the Father had ‘made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.’ (2 Cor. 5:21.) To the Galatian Saints, Paul also taught that ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.’ (Gal. 3:13.) He who deserved least of all to suffer now suffered most-more than mortal mind can fathom. He who had brought life-the more abundant life (John 10:10)-was subjected to the powers of death and darkness. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the brethren of the School of the Prophets, Jesus Christ is called the Son of God because he ‘descended in suffering below that which man can suffer; or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be.'” (Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, eds.,Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 436.)