Paul shares his happiness with his readers about their grief. It almost sounds cruel to be happy that someone else is grieving but the grief that they suffered was short lived and for a purpose. I guess you could call it “good” grief.
There was a lot going on in the church at Corinth that was contrary to what was being taught by the apostles. Freedom was being perverted. Divisions were rampant. And rampant sin was not being addressed. Paul wrote to this group to address these issues. My bible helps tell me that Paul actually wrote three letters before the one we are reading. The first was prior to the letter of 1 Corinthians. Then the letter of 1 Corinthians, which we already looked at. We don’t know exactly what was in that one but 1 Corinthians answers questions he received in response to his first letter. The letter we are reading now is actually the fourth and third letters to this group. Chapters 1-9 are the fourth letter while chapters 10-13 are the third letter. The third letter is the one Paul is referencing that brought them grief. We will be looking at it later.
Paul’s third letter pierced their hearts. They recognized their sin and were grieved by it. This grief then turned into action. That action was repentance, therefore that grief was good. This is the same grief the Holy Spirit uses with us. He convicts us of our sin and IF we respond restoration happens.
When I say restoration happens I don’t mean that we are “saved” again but that our relationship is restored. The blocks in communication and communion are removed. Joy is restored. The same kind of joy Paul is referencing. “It has to hurt if it is to heal” (The Never Ending Story).
What the Law did for the Jewish people, the Holy Spirit does for the believer. God has written His laws on our hearts instead of on stone tablets. The Spirit reveals to our hearts our sin and brings us back to the Father. This is a painful process, especially when we resist His gentler efforts, but it is essential to maintain our right relationship. Those who refuse to listen to His correction have not surrendered to Him. I can’t say for certain that they were not really saved to begin with but Paul makes that assumption regarding those who wouldn’t receive his correction. Those who truly love God want NOTHING to come between them. I believe that is the litmus test. What is more important, the sin or the relationship with the Sinless One?
Father God, I know there have been times in my life when it HURT because I was holding onto my sin with both hands. Your Spirit was hard at work in my life reminding me of the choice I was making and how it was impacting our relationship. THANK YOU that You didn’t give up on me. Thank You for continuing to remind me of what I was letting sit on the throne of my heart. No, I am not sin free now but I have come a long way from where I was. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to brag or build myself up. Just reflecting on where we have walked together.
Thank You for the grief that is from You. The kind that results in restoration. Thank You for the joy afterwards too. I seem to have a lot more of that lately, thanks again to You. You put the song back in my heart!