Apparently, there was someone in the first century church in Corinth who was bad-mouthing Paul by saying he didn’t have the authority to preach. In the 2nd chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul tells the church leaders how they should deal with this guy and it’s all about forgiveness. However, something he writes at the end is very important. We have to look back at the end of chapter 1 to understand chapter 2. Remember, Paul wanted to go to Corinth to admonish them, but opted to write the letter instead.
23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.2 Corinthians 1:23-24 NLT
2 Corinthians 2
So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. 4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.
Forgiveness for the Sinner
5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.
9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.
12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
Ministers of the New Covenant
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.2 Corinthians 2 NLT
God is Watching You!
Like it or not, God is watching you! Look what King David wrote in Psalm 139…
11 I could ask the darkness to hide mePsalm 139:11-12 NLT
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
God knows EVERYTHING that happens in this world! He knows your good deeds and your sins. You can’t hide from Him, so, don’t ever think that you can get away with something. You’ll have to face God at some point!
For that man who was bad-mouthing Paul, he asked the church to forgive him and take him back. Imagine that! Satan’s goal is to divide the church. I’ve seen many churches split or many people leave because of something a pastor or a leader did instead of forgiving them.
Nobody is perfect — except Jesus, of course! Even though born-again Christians are supposed to strive to be Christlike, we still are human and we sometimes fall to the temptations of the devil. Stronger, more mature Christians might not, but baby Christians, if they are not rooted in the Bible, can easily stumble. That’s when the church family needs to help them.
Preaching the Good News
I believe that God knows who will accept Jesus as their savior and who will not. Those that are perishing are people who have heard the Good News of Jesus’ true salvation and have rejected it. To them, it all seems like nonsense or a dreadful smell of death and doom. They see us as people who want the world to end. They just don’t get it. Jesus said…
14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.Matthew 24:14 NLT
Accept the fact or not, we are living in the end times! However, only God, the Father knows the day and time of the Rapture. I think — and this is my opinion only — that God has a certain number of saved, born-again believers in mind. Once that last person is saved, He’ll send Jesus to come and snatch His believers up to be in heaven with Him. Our job is to keep preaching the Good News to all who will listen.
All those non-believers will be left behind. Those left behind will get a second chance to be saved, but they’ll have to go through the Great Tribulation. Those who are saved after the Rapture will be Tribulation Saints and have a special reward in heaven.
Those who don’t take God’s second chance will end up worshiping the Antichrist and will end up in the fiery lake of darkness (aka, hell). And, by the way, that’s NOT purgatory, because purgatory doesn’t exist!
It’s Your Choice
Heaven or hell — you decide. Why wait?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…