In Our Hearts
The Apostle Paul has been tried by the carnal desires of an assembly of believers which he had founded. He had written, urging them to put away sin and to live godly lives (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Some were apparently exercised in heart by the exhortation of Paul and revived in soul. However, there seemed to be an element in the assembly that resented spiritual exhortation and continued to foment unrest. They tried to question Paul’s authority—who had commended him? In many ways they attempted to cast suspicion upon Paul as a servant of Christ.
The Apostle does not renounce them, even though he has been evil spoken of; he still loves them and his affection is unveiled as he writes: “Open your hearts to us: we wrong no man, we corrupted no man, we took advantage of no man, I say it not to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die together and live together, (2 Cor. 7:2-3, A.S.V.).
As we read these words, they reveal the great concern of Paul for this company of believers. He had lived in Corinth for about eighteen months while evangelizing and teaching the Word of God. He had seen souls sunk deep in sin born again by the Spirit of God and marvelously cleansed from degrading sin. He had seen these believers gather together as an assembly of Christ for the breaking of bread, teaching, prayer, and fellowship.
Paul’s heart is bursting with emotion as he writes and states that neither dying nor living can extinguish his love for them. Though death should come, as Paul’s soul would slip away the Corinthian assembly would still be in his affection. Although life might bring its tests, nothing could make Paul forget them nor be indifferent to their welfare.
May one suggest that this is part of Paul’s success as the Lord’s servant? If today shepherds of the flock had the same fervent love for the sheep would not assemblies be healthier?
Would it not be better if today workers were concerned about the welfare of a few assemblies than to have a passing acquaintance with many ?
Would that today more knew travail of soul to see believers grow into Christ-likeness (Gal. 4:19). Such concern is begotten only by the love of God.