Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me. Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But others still think I was sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery. But how? Did any of the men I sent to you take advantage of you? When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No! For we have the same spirit and walk in each other’s steps, doing things the same way. Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No, we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you.2 Corinthians 12:14-19
Paul is still laying out the case of his concern for the Corinthians. The super apostles were telling the Corinthian believers that Paul was sneaky and full of trickery and not to be trusted. That he was only out to take advantage of them, only in it for what he could get out of them. Remember I told you yesterday “What is interesting is that the allegations that are made against Paul by the false teachers appear to be things that they are doing themselves. Isn’t that true? So often the things people accuse us of or we accuse others of are the very things we struggle with ourselves. We are more prone to recognise particular sins in others which we struggle with ourselves. It’s amazing how we accuse in others, what we excuse in ourselves.
Paul uses an interesting argument to persuade them. Kids don’t provide for the parents but parents provide for the kids. Where Paul is the parent and the Corinthian believers are the kids. He is their father in the faith. He would give all he has for them. Inference being, “how is it then you can think I am out to take advantage of you?” They ought to know Paul’s motivation well but there seemed to be a blockage there. In fact he says the more I love you, the less you love me. Then Paul cites the evidence. There was no way they were taken advantage of. How? No one with us took advantage of you. Titus didn’t! Paul says all of us have the same spirit, the same motivation, the same modus operandi. There is no way that any of Paul’s team took advantage of them either. Much less Titus or Paul himself. We are Christ’s servants, we don’t do that stuff. God is our witness! This is Paul saying “God is our witness”. Not some con man who would say “I swear on a stack of bibles”. Paul who is totally sold out to Jesus Christ. Paul who knows one day he must give an account to Christ for every word he has uttered. He does not take such an oath lightly. “God knows us through and through. We are not lying.”
What is so interesting is this is all set in the context of 2 Cor 7:7: “His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told us how much you long to see me, and how sorry you are for what happened, and how loyal you are to me, I was filled with joy!” Note in Bible Gem 567 I suggested to you Paul understands this is not a dead issue even though it ought to be. To all intents and purposes the relationship with the Corinthians ought to be healed. But clearly it is not. Some may even think this section must have been put in the wrong order. In other words this argument/discussion of Paul’s in the letter must surely have come before the news from Titus that they longed to see him again, they were sorry for what happened and were loyal to him again. But no Paul keeps on pursuing this matter. Paul understands the true nature of what is going on so he continues to bring up the issue.
Spiritual darkness comes on horseback, and goes away on foot.J.C. Ryle
If we fight the Lord’s battles merely by duplicating the way the world does its work, we are like little boys playing with wooden swords pretending they are in the battle while their big brothers are away in some distant bloody land.Francis Schaeffer
One of the stupidest things I can do is assume other’s motives since God says I can’t even accurately assess my own!Rick Warren