And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain
for He says, " AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.' Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,' behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION'
giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited,
but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,
in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger,
in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,
in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,
by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;
as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death,
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.
You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.
Now in a like exchangeI speak as to childrenopen wide to us also.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, " I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
" Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,' says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
" And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,' Says the Lord Almighty. 7
2 Corinthians 7
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one.
I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together.
Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.
For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.
But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret itfor I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while
I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.
So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.
For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus proved to be the truth.
His affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.
I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you. 8
2 Corinthians 8
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord,
begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.
But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.
For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality
at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;
as it is written, " HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK.'
But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus.
For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.
We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches;
and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness,
taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift;
for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you.
As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.
Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you. 9