Cover to Cover
2 Corinthians 6
Paul is expressing his zeal for the cause of Christ and for the Corinthians. Because of his passion and sacrifices made, he asks the people to open their hearts to receive him. Corinth is known to be a carnal church, where Christians are living sinful lives. Paul quotes a few Scriptures from the Old Testament (Ezekiel 37:26 and Isaiah 52:11). Ezekiel shares God’s heart to be their God and they would be His people, sharing His desire to live and walk in fellowship with them. Isaiah shares God’s desire to be their Father and for them to be His sons and daughters. In order to have that close relationship, God calls to them to make a commitment to Him, leaving the world behind. With these Scriptures, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church to answer God’s call for consecration, separating themselves from a sinful lifestyle. He is not telling Christians to stop being a witness to the world around us, but he is asking us to choose to stay clean from sin by separating from close association with those who are living in rebellion to the faith. Christians still love people in the world, but until there is repentance, that love refuses to compromise or be close to people in sin. In our choice to stay surrendered to God in a holy lifestyle, we are choosing a closer relationship with God.
We can be thankful for friends that know us and keep us real. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17. The sharpening taking place here has to do with the countenance, or the emotional reflection of the heart on the face. The word for sharpen in Hebrew means to sharpen (like the edge of a knife), be alert, and be keen. Keen means to be discerning, perceptive, clear, piercing, and penetrating. Who knows us like a friend? To sharpen a countenance is to discern what that friend is really going through, or to help bring their true feelings to the surface. The love of a true friend is honest, caring, zealous, transparent, and genuine. May we all have friends and be friends that go beyond the shallow end of acquaintance and care to understand us and challenge us to be authentic and grow.