2 Corinthians 4- 10- This was a mixed audience!!

I don't know about you, but my discovery last week, helped me better understand the reading this week! Remembering that the group that made up the Corinthian church was a mixed group of believers and "not quite believers yet" helped me to understand why Paul had to explain why a Christian no longer lives for themselves (5:15), why he had to explain why he does what he does (6: 6-12) and why he was concerned about the monetary gift they had promised to collect and give for the Christians in Jerusalem (8:8).

This clears up a lot of questions for me, because if he was talking to only 'true followers', the things he was saying would be really strange!   After all, like Paul says, "if anyone is in Christ the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (5:17").  It would be the desire of a true follower to, "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (7:1).
I am sure some in the audience, hearing this letter, were doing just that, because they believed what Paul had taught them (1:14),  but others hadn't realized that this is what one naturally does if filled with the Holy Spirit.  I want to point out that Paul is not promoting "works" here.  A nonbeliever in the audience might be wondering "How do I "do" this?", they may automatically hear these words as a "work" that needs to be done to obtain perfect holiness. A believer, on the other hand, being renewed by the Holy Spirit, knows that they can do nothing apart from Jesus to obtain holiness.

Yes, I think it is good for a true believer to hear the words of Paul, they are good reminders! For example, "God loves a cheerful giver" (9:7), yet, I think Paul is spending a lot of his energy in this letter trying to persuade those on the fence. In the same example, about giving money cheerfully, he slides in, " "They (the Macedonians) gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us" ( 8:5). It's like he is saying to get the Corinthian "fencers",  you gotta give yourself to the Lord!!

Those were my thoughts reading this week, what do you think?  Do you think this letter was written with a mixed audience in mind?


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