For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
Thoughts for Today:In our passage today, Paul expresses his high level of concern regarding the spiritual condition of the Corinthians. He was truly worried his return to them would not be a joyful experience. Why? Because they had not changed their behavior. So what could possibly happen to the Corinthians that would cause Paul to write: "my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented"? Lots of things come to mind. Remember (from the Old Testament) the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? They were destroyed because of their pervasive, unrepentant and blatant sin.
Throughout history, God has provided plenty of examples of His willingness to discipline His people whenever necessary. Both for their own good, as well as a lesson to others. And He continued this practice with the New Testament Church. Think of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) who were struck dead for lying. What happened to the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16)? They were beaten severely for trying to make money by casting out demons in the Name of the Lord. And the sorcerer Elymas was struck blind (Acts 13:8-12). Why? Because he "perverted the right ways of the Lord."
Paul knew the Lord would eventually provide a major disciplinary action to the Corinthians if they didn't repent. Why? Because it is the Lord's nature to love us and hate sin. And sometimes it's necessary for Him to deal harshly with us -- either to get our attention or completely eradicate the negative issues.
Questions to Ponder:Is there sin in your life that the Lord has called you to remove? Will you? What are you waiting for? Do you think the Lord will ignore your disobedience forever?