I do not repent, though I did repent - Though I had many doubts in my mind concerning the success of my letter; and though I grieved that I was obliged to write with so much severity, the case absolutely requiring it; yet now I am not sorry that I have written that letter, because I find it has completely answered the end for which it was sent.
For though I made you sorry - That is, in the First Epistle which he had sent to them. In that Epistle he had felt it necessary to reprove them for their dissensions and other disorders which had occurred and which were tolerated in the church. That Epistle was suited to produce pain in them - as severe and just reproof always does; and Paul felt very anxious about its effect on them. It was painful to him to write it, and he was well aware that it must cause deep distress among them to be thus reproved.
I do not repent - I have seen such happy effects produced by it; it has so completely answered the end which I had in view; it was so kindly received, that I do not regret now that I wrote it. It gives me no pain in the recollection, but I have occasion to rejoice that it was done.
Though I did repent - Doddridge renders this: “however anxious I may have been.” The word used here does not denote repentance in the sense in which that word is commonly understood, as if any wrong had been done. It is not the language of remorse. It can denote here nothing more than “that uneasiness which a good man feels, not from the consciousness of having done wrong, but from a tenderness for others, and a fear lest that which, prompted by duty, he had said, should have too strong an effect upon them.” - Campbell, diss. vi. part iii. section 9. See the meaning of the word further illustrated in the same dissertation. The word ( μεταμέλομαι metamelomai) denotes properly to change one‘s purpose or mind after having done anything (Robinson); or an uneasy feeling of regret for what has been done without regard either to duration or effects - Campbell. Here it is not to be understood that Paul meant to say he had done anything wrong.
He was an inspired man, and what he had said was proper and right. But he was a man of deep feeling, and of tender affections. He was pained at the necessity of giving reproof. And there is no improbability in supposing that after the letter had been sent off, and he reflected on its nature and on the pain which it would cause to those whom he tenderly loved, there might be some misgiving of heart about it, and the deepest anxiety, and regret at the necessity of doing it. What parent is there who has not had the same feeling as this? He has felt it necessary to correct a beloved child, and has formed the purpose, and has executed it. But is there no misgiving of heart? No question asked whether it might not have been dispensed with? No internal struggle; no sorrow; no emotion which may be called regret at the resolution which has been taken? Yet there is no repentance as if the parent had done wrong. He feels that he has done what was right and necessary. He approves his own course, and has occasion of rejoicing at the good effects which follow. Such appears to have been the situation of the apostle Paul in this case; and it shows that he, had a tender heart, that he did not delight in giving pain, and that he had no desire to overwhelm them with grief. When the effect was seen, he was not unwilling that they should be apprized of the pain which it had cost him. When a parent has corrected a child, no injury is done if the child becomes acquainted with the strugglings which it has cost him, and the deep pain and anxiety caused by the necessity of resorting to chastisement.
For I perceive - I perceive the good effect of the Epistle. I perceive that it produced the kind of sorrow in you which I desired. I see that it has produced permanent good results. The sorrow which it caused in you is only for a season; the good effects will be abiding. I have, therefore, great occasion to rejoice that I sent the Epistle. It produced permanent repentance and reformation 2 Corinthians 7:9, and thus accomplished all that I wished or desired.
During this time of anxiety concerning the church at Corinth, Paul hoped for the best; yet at times feelings of deep sadness would sweep over his soul, lest his counsels and admonitions might be misunderstood. “Our flesh had no rest,” he afterward wrote, “but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” AA 324.1
This faithful messenger brought the cheering news that a wonderful change had taken place among the Corinthian believers. Many had accepted the instruction contained in Paul's letter and had repented of their sins. Their lives were no longer a reproach to Christianity, but exerted a powerful influence in favor of practical godliness. AA 324.2
Filled with joy, the apostle sent another letter to the Corinthian believers, expressing his gladness of heart because of the good work wrought in them: “Though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent.” When tortured by the fear that his words would be despised, he had sometimes regretted that he had written so decidedly and severely. “Now I rejoice,” he continued, “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. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” That repentance which is produced by the influence of divine grace upon the heart will lead to confession and forsaking of sin. Such were the fruits which the apostle declared had been seen in the lives of the Corinthian believers. “What carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal.” AA 324.3Read in context »
“I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.” “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;” “being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart.” “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” “Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” Verse 16, A.R.V.; Philippians 1:3-5; 1:6, 7, A.R.V.; 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8. MH 167.1
Paul wrote to these brethren as “saints in Christ Jesus;” but he was not writing to those who were perfect in character. He wrote to them as men and women who were striving against temptation and who were in danger of falling. He pointed them to “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep.” He assured them that “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” He will “make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20, 21. MH 167.2
When one at fault becomes conscious of his error, be careful not to destroy his self-respect. Do not discourage him by indifference or distrust. Do not say, “Before giving him my confidence, I will wait to see whether he will hold out.” Often this very distrust causes the tempted one to stumble. MH 167.3Read in context »
You should study also the seventh chapter, but I will not take time to read it now. FE 534.1
There is constant danger among our people that those who engage in labor in our schools and sanitariums will entertain the idea that they must get in line with the world, study the things which the world studies, and become familiar with the things that the world becomes familiar with. This is one of the greatest mistakes that could be made. We shall make grave mistakes unless we give special attention to the searching of the word. FE 534.2
The question is asked, What is the higher education? There is no education higher than that contained in the principles laid down in the words I have read to you from this sixth chapter of Second Corinthians. Let our students study diligently to comprehend this. There is no higher education to be gained than that which was given to the early disciples, and which is given to us through the word. May the Holy Spirit of God impress your minds with the conviction that there is nothing in all the world in the line of education that is so exalted as the instruction contained in the sixth and seventh chapters of Second Corinthians. Let us advance in our work just as far as the word of God will lead us. Let us work intelligently for this higher education. Let our righteousness be the sign of our understanding of the will of God committed to us through His messengers. FE 534.3Read in context »