Monday, September 28, 2015

Interesting tidbit - 23 (2 Cor 7:9-10)

Q: What exactly do the verses in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (cf 1 Cor 5) mean?  They seem to be saying that as believers we need to ask for forgiveness when we sin to be saved.  Does this mean we lose our salvation each time we sin and have to ask for forgiveness in order to be saved again?

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

A:  There are different kinds of salvation in Scripture. Paul spoke about the salvation of our souls in Ephesians 2:8-9, but he also spoke about his physical salvation from prison in Philippians 1:19 (cf. Ex 14:13):

for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance (The KJV uses the word "salvation" instead of "deliverance"; both words are derived from the Greek word sōtērian).

Paul also told Timothy that if he continued in sound doctrine, he would "save" both himself and his hearers from the misery that always comes from not continuing in sound doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16). There is also the salvation from despair that the hope of the Rapture gives (Rom 8:23-24). And the Rapture itself is called a salvation in Romans 13:11.

The salvation in the verses you ask about is yet another kind. Paul says he made the Corinthians sorry "with a letter" (2 Cor 7:8), i.e., his first epistle to them, in which he scolded them for not disciplining a man for his sexual immorality (1 Cor 5). They then "were grieved into repenting" about this (2 Cor 7:9).  And remember, the word repent means to have a change of mind, not to ask for forgiveness.  So the Corinthians changed their minds about allowing this man to stay in their assembly. This "saved" them from the dangerous leavening effect that his presence would otherwise have among them, and so their godly grief produced a repentance that leads to salvation, a salvation they would not regret or repent of (change their minds about) later.

This also worked another kind of salvation among them, one similar to the salvation Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 5:5, where he speaks about the sexually immoral man and tells them:

"to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."

In context we know that delivering this man to Satan meant putting him out of the assembly (1 Cor 2-5:2-13). Letting him wallow in sin might destroy his flesh, but it would bring him back to the Lord, and "save" him from a loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat (1 Cor 3:15). The Corinthian assembly would also be saved from such loss by their obedience to Paul's instructions. Their godly grief worked this kind of repentance to salvation as well, another salvation they would not regret because no one at the Judgment Seat will ever repent of (change their mind about) having done the right thing.

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