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The Scriptorium

A Soul Refreshed

The grace of God at work. 2 Corinthians 7.13-16

2 Corinthians 7 (6)

Pray Psalm 42.1-3.
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

Sing Psalm 42.1-3.
(Nettleton: Come, Thou Fount)
As the deer pants for fresh water let my soul, LORD, pant for You!
Let my soul thirst as it ought to for the Savior, ever true!
Tears by day have been my portion, tears by night have been my food,
while my foes add to my sorrow, saying, “Where now is your God?”

Read 2 Corinthians 7.1-16; meditate on verses 13-16.

1. What effect did the obedience of the Corinthians have on Titus?

2. How did that affect Paul?

Paul rejoiced that the soul of Titus had been refreshed by the Corinthians’ godly sorrow leading to repentance (v. 13). Paul was comforted and encouraged, especially because he had boasted to Titus about the Corinthians, expressing confidence in them, that they would receive his letter and amend their ways (v. 14).

When Titus arrived, the Corinthians received him “with fear and trembling” (v. 15). He could see their contrition and obedience, and this greatly refreshed his soul, causing him to love the Corinthians even more (v. 15). When he gave his report to Paul, the apostle rejoiced and his confidence in the Corinthians was renewed (v. 16).

This is how grace works. Where you read the words “comfort” or “refreshed” or “obedience” or “rejoice” you’re reading the outward manifestations of what Paul described in 2 Corinthians 4.15—grace spreading to more and more people. Paul brought the grace of truth and tough love to the Corinthians. By the grace of God, they heard, humbled themselves, set matters right, and received Titus in his follow-up visit. The grace he saw in them (cf. Acts 11.22, 23) brought great refreshment to his soul, and when he reported the evidence of their grace to Paul, Paul rejoiced in the grace of the Lord.

When we as grace-spreaders do our work—receiving the grace of God and spreading it around to others—good and glorious things happen, especially that thanks and praise go up to God.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
There is something beautiful about grace at work through fear and trembling. Those three words seems incongruous, and yet, they are not. Without a healthy fear of God, we will not respect His wishes nor appreciate His grace. Without trembling at what God can do, we will not fully appreciate the love that keeps Him from doing it.

When there is not a godly respect for spiritual leaders and friends, we do not properly appreciate the grace they show to us, nor the teaching they are ready and willing to give us.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him” (Ps. 34.8, 9).

We are to exhibit “fear and trembling” as we work out our own salvation (Phil. 2.12).
And the Corinthians felt a bit of “fear and trembling” at the appearance of Titus, Paul’s emissary (2 Cor. 7.15). They respected Paul and his words of conviction, and they also respected his representative. Titus’ visit was worth his time and effort—it blessed him as well as the Corinthians. This is the way mutual love and respect should work in God’s Kingdom economy.

Paul also rejoiced that Titus was comforted, as were the Corinthians. Paul’s heart overflowed because his friend was refreshed by them. His boasting over them was found to be true. “And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you” (2 Thess. 3.4). Paul’s joy was as full towards the Corinthians as it was for the Thessalonians.

As God’s children, we are daily either being refreshed by or refreshing our fellow-believers. It is how we encourage one another to do the good works that we have been called to do (Eph. 2.10). When we are “grace-spreaders” good and glorious things do happen, “especially that thanks and praise go up to God.” Souls all around are refreshed, renewed, and rejoicing because of the free-flowing grace of God.

As Paul said to the church in Rome, “…that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen” (Rom. 15.32, 33).

In fear and trembling, spread some grace!

For reflection
1. In your walk with and work for the Lord, who refreshes your soul? Give thanks to God and tell those who refresh your soul that you appreciate their ministry.

2. What happens when your soul is refreshed? How do you experience the refreshing of your soul?

3. What opportunities will you have today to refresh the soul of a fellow believer? How should you prepare for that?

Titus had been overjoyed in finding them more obedient and compliant than could have been expected ― nay more, in his finding a sudden change for the better. Hence we may infer, that Paul's gentleness was anything but flattery, inasmuch as he rejoiced in their joy, so as to be, at the same time, chiefly taken up with their repentance.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 7.13-16

Pray Psalm 42.4-11.
Call on the Lord to comfort and encourage you in your soul, and to use you today to refresh the souls of others.

Sing Psalm 42.4-11.
(Nettleton: Come, Thou Fount)
Now I pour my soul out in me as these thoughts come to my mind.
And I long to once again be where true worship I might find.
Oh my soul, be not despairing! Hope in God, and praise His Name!
For the LORD, your burden bearing, will restore your peace again.

Oh my God, my soul is weary, therefore I remember You.
Let Your grace and goodness near be, and Your promise, firm and true.
LORD, when trials and fears surround me, Your commands will be my song!
When distresses sore confound me, Your great love will keep me strong.

LORD, forget me not in mourning ‘neath my foes’ oppressing hand.
See their mocking, hear their scorning; help my weary soul to stand.
Hope in God, praise Him forever when despair on you has trod.
Look to Jesus; never, never doubt your gracious, saving God.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help you see both the greatness and the smallness of God’s salvation. Such a Great Salvation and Small Stuff will show you how to think small, live big, and know the salvation and glory of God in all your daily life. You can learn more about these books and order your copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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