Jim Humphrey Consulting


Vol 5, No 67

2nd Corinthians 7:1 - 16: Saints Are To Avoid Filthiness of the Flesh; The Deep Reciprocal Love Between Paul, Titus & the Corinthians; A Template For Believers Today:

Volume 5, Number 68
Created Date: May 25, 2024
Posted Date: May 25, 2024

Chapter 7 opens: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:11 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

. “These promises” are listed in the previous chapter, they are that every believer is a Temple of God, separate from and not identified with unbelievers and all are the sons and daughters of God Almighty, 2 Corinthians 6:16 - 1816 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

. However, even though believers enjoy this standing before God, nevertheless they are exhorted to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. “Filthiness” is translated from the Greek “molusmos” (G3436) used only here in the New Testament (NT) meaning “a stain, figuratively, immorality.” It comes from the Greek verb “mollono” (G3435) meaning “to soil or defile,” which Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 8:77 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

: “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge (that all believers are in the Lord Jesus Christ): for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” 1 Corinthians 8:7. The term “flesh and spirt” are put for, or refer to, the whole person.

2 Corinthians 7:1 ends with: “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The Greek word translated “perfecting” means “to fulfill further or completely, that is, execute, by implication, to terminate, undergo, accomplish, do, finish, etc.” The word translated “holiness” is from the Greek “hagiosune” (G42), which is from another Greek word meaning “sacredness, that is properly, the quality, holiness.” “Hagiosune” is found only 3 times in the NT and it is instructive to note its use in the other 2 instances; Romans 1:3 - 43 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

: (verse 3) “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (verse 4) And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” According to Bullinger, the use of holiness (hagiosune) here in Romans 1:44 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

is not to be confused with the Holy Spirit; it indicates The Lord Jesus Christ’s Divine Spiritual nature in resurrection set in contrast with His human flesh as seed of David.

Hagiosune (holiness) is also found in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 - 1312 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

: (verse 12) “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: (verse 13) To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” This teaches that when believers allow the Lord to work in their lives to abound in love toward others the result is that their hearts stand in holiness, that is, they mirror in God’s eyes the same Spiritual Nature as in The Lord Jesus Christ. There is no way any man or woman can “perfect holiness” in themselves by any work of the flesh; it is only possible when a believer consistently recognizes they are Temples of God and they are truly in Christ. To understand the phrase “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” one must juxtapose man’s way of holiness against God’s Holiness. Man can have a show of holiness but he is totally incapable in and of himself to be truly holy, that is, to have a pure heart because all are born sinners, Romans 3:2323 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

. Each believer must recognize that in God’s sight they are dead to sin and alive in Christ; Galatians 2:2020 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

; Colossians 2:20 - 2320 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

; Colossians 3:1 - 51 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

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Summarizing 2 Corinthians 7:1; since God recognizes believers as Temples in which He dwells, separate from unbelievers, as being His sons and daughters, then it behooves believers to live like it and not allow sin to soil their flesh. This is with a view to accomplish holiness in the fear of God. Paul continues in the rest of the 7th chapter demonstrating what “holiness in the fear of God” can produce in believers, using himself, Titus and the Corinthians Saints as examples.

In 2 Corinthians 7:22 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Paul asks the Corinthians (and all believers since) to make room in their hearts for his ministry and teaching seeing that he had done nothing wrong or unjust that can corrupt or waste anyone; he had taken advantage of no one. In 2 Corinthians 7:33 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.

a he writes that in verse 1 he was not telling them to “cleanse themselves of all filthiness” to condemn them (sentence them adversely); but as he told them before, they were in his heart (referring to what he wrote them in 2 Corinthians 3:22 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:”) Then in 2 Corinthians 7:3b he states “to die (to decease in company with) and live with (to continue to live in common with or co-survive) you.” Consider Paul’s attitude here, and ask yourself how many ministers of God’s Word today can truly say they want to die with those under their teaching or live in common with them? In this statement, Paul reflects the Love of the One he served, The Lord Jesus Christ, Who loved us and gave Himself for us, Galatians 1:44 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2525 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

; 1 Timothy 2:66 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

; Titus 2:1414 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

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In 2 Corinthians 7:44 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

Paul assured the Corinthians that he publicly spoke well and boasted of them; he gloried/boasted of them; was filled with comfort/consolation; was joyful/cheerful even when being afflicted/persecuted. This was written when he came into Macedonia (after leaving Troas as recording in 2 Corinthians 2:1212 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

-13) when he had no rest because of the strife and controversy he and those with him endured causing fears and internal terrors, 2 Corinthians 7:55 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

. But notwithstanding the physical and mental trials Paul constantly faced, he was comforted by God Who comforts the lowly and cast down by the coming of Titus who came from Corinth bringing word of the ardor/passion/zeal the Corinthians had for Paul. This uplifted Paul and made him rejoice, 2 Corinthians 7:6 - 76 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

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2 Corinthians 2:88 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

contrasts what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write chastising them about condoning the incestuous man in their assembly 1 Corinthians 5:1 - 61 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

vis a vis his own feelings about that matter. He writes here that the words he wrote were the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:44 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

), which he regretted having to write because he did not want to cause them pain even for a short time. In 2 Corinthians 2:99 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

he advises he was not joyful he had made the Corinthians sorrowful about this matter, but he was joyful that they sorrowed after a “Godly manner,” that is, according to God’s Mind and Will. And this because Paul did not want them to suffer loss because of what he wrote. The New International Version (NIV) translates 2 Corinthians 7:99 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.

“yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. Then in 2 Corinthians 2:1010 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;

he recognizes they were sorrowful as God intended, that is, their sorrow was motivated by God, which works a reversal in the believer that delivers, whereas the sorrow of the world ends in death. (The Complete Bible Commentary, page 904 notes this shows the distinction between repentance and remorse, as illustrated by Simon Peter vis a vis Judas Iscariot; repentance was life to Peter whereas Judas’ remorse resulted in death.)

2 Corinthians 2:1111 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

recaps what the Corinthians experienced when he chastised them for ignoring the incestuous man in their midst: “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness (diligence) it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves (what an answer for themselves), yea, what indignation, yea, what fear (of the anger of God), yea, what vehement desire (longing for), yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge (vindication)! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear (innocent/clean/pure) in this matter.” It is noted that Paul wrote an epistle to Titus who he ultimately left in Crete to oversee the assembly of believers there, Titus 1:4 - 54 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

. However, Titus is mentioned 10 times in 2 Corinthians out of a total 15 occasions in the NT, thus it is evident that Titus had a lot of interaction with the Corinthian assembly and liaison between them and Paul, as evidenced in the next verse. Paul informs that he did had not necessarily written them (in 1 Corinthians 5:1 - 6) on account of the incestuous man or his father who suffered wrong (because his son was having relations with his wife), but that his care for them in the sight of God would be rendered apparent to the entire assembly, 2 Corinthians 7:1212 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

. Therefore Paul rejoiced and was happy when Titus came to him with word of their consolation and the joyfulness Titus had after being refreshed (taken at ease) during his time with them, 2 Corinthians 7:1313 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

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Paul spoke without reserve and sternly directly to the Corinthians whereas behind their backs he boasted of them to Titus who found Paul’s glorying/boasting about the Corinthians to be true, 2 Corinthians 7:1414 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

. “And his (Titus’) inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience (submission/compliance) of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received (accepted) him.” 2 Corinthians 7:1515 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

. “I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.” 2 Corinthians 7:1616 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

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Paul was direct and up front, so to speak, in correcting the Saints for their shortcomings in 1st Corinthians. Here in 2 Corinthians, Paul reveals his love for them that motivated those exhortations. The love Paul, Titus and the Corinthians had for each other should serve as an example to guide believers today.


Jim Humphrey
Vol 5, No 67