1Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.
2* Make room for us; we have not wronged anyone, or ruined anyone, or taken advantage of anyone. 3I do not say this in condemnation, for I have already said that you are in our hearts, that we may die together and live together.a 4I have great confidence in you, I have great pride in you; I am filled with encouragement, I am overflowing with joy all the more because of all our affliction.
C. Resolution of the Crisis*
Paul’s Joy in Macedonia. 5* For even when we came into Macedonia,* our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—external conflicts, internal fears.b 6But God, who encourages the downcast, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus,c 7and not only by his arrival but also by the encouragement with which he was encouraged in regard to you, as he told us of your yearning, your lament, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. 8* For even if I saddened you by my letter, I do not regret it; and if I did regret it ([for] I see that that letter saddened you, if only for a while),d 9I rejoice now, not because you were saddened, but because you were saddened into repentance; for you were saddened in a godly way, so that you did not suffer loss in anything because of us. 10For godly sorrow produces a salutary repentance without regret, but worldly sorrow produces death. 11For behold what earnestness this godly sorrow has produced for you, as well as readiness for a defense, and indignation, and fear, and yearning, and zeal, and punishment. In every way you have shown yourselves to be innocent in the matter. 12So then even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, or on account of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your concern for us might be made plain to you in the sight of God.e 13For this reason we are encouraged.
And besides our encouragement,* we rejoice even more because of the joy of Titus, since his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14For if I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame. No, just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting before Titus proved to be the truth. 15And his heart goes out to you all the more, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, when you received him with fear and trembling.f 16I rejoice, because I have confidence in you in every respect.
* [7:2–4] These verses continue the thought of 2 Cor 6:11–13, before the interruption of 2 Cor 6:14–7:1. 2 Cor 7:4 serves as a transition to the next section: the four themes it introduces (confidence; pride or “boasting”; encouragement; joy in affliction) are developed in 2 Cor 7:5–16. All have appeared previously in the letter.
* [7:5–16] This section functions as a peroration or formal summing up of the whole first part of the letter, 2 Cor 1–7. It deals with the restoration of right relations between Paul and the Corinthians, and it is marked by fullness and intensity of emotion.
* [7:5–7] Paul picks up the thread of the narrative interrupted at 2 Cor 2:13 (2 Cor 7:5) and describes the resolution of the tense situation there depicted (2 Cor 7:6–7). Finally Titus arrives and his coming puts an end to Paul’s restlessness (2 Cor 2:13; 2 Cor 7:5), casts out his fears, and reverses his mood. The theme of encouragement and affliction is reintroduced (cf. 2 Cor 1:3–11); here, too, encouragement is traced back to God and is described as contagious (2 Cor 7:6). The language of joy and sorrow also reappears in 2 Cor 7:7 (cf. 2 Cor 1:23–2:1 and the note on 2 Cor 1:23–24).
* [7:5] Macedonia: see note on 2 Cor 2:13.
* [7:8–12] Paul looks back on the episode from the viewpoint of its ending. The goal of their common activity, promotion of their joy (2 Cor 1:24), has been achieved, despite and because of the sorrow they felt. That sorrow was God-given. Its salutary effects are enumerated fully and impressively in 2 Cor 7:10–11; not the least important of these is that it has revealed to them the attachment they have to Paul.
* [7:13–16] Paul summarizes the effect of the experience on Titus: encouragement, joy, love, relief. Finally, he describes its effects on himself: encouragement, joy, confidence, pride or “boasting” (i.e., the satisfaction resulting from a boast that proves well-founded; cf. 2 Cor 7:4; 1:12, 14).
c. [7:6] 7:13–14; 1 Thes 3:6–8.