2 CORINTHIANS - Chapters 2 & 3 Print E-mail

2 Corinthians – Chapter 2 and 3

Sunday Evening Service, June 23, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom



In chapter 2, Paul is facing discipline problems in the church head on.  In the Corinthian church, a brother in the fellowship committed a serious offense.  It appears the man was the leader of the opposition to Paul.  The fact that one man opposed Paul is far less important than that he has carried the church with him in to rebellion against Paul’s God-given authority.


 The Apostle outlined a course of discipline and the church followed through.  Fortunately this resulted in the man’s repentance.



2: 6-11: “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many, so that contrariwise you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, less perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over much sorrow.  I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him.  For this end did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether you are obedient in all things.  To whom you forgive anything, I forgive also…for your sakes I forgive in the person of Christ; less Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.



Following that, Paul ordered the church to forgive the man and restore him to fellowship.   The forgiveness was to be genuine, even to the point of forgetting the offense.  If the forgiveness should fail to be complete, feelings would linger and give the devil a stronghold.  The devil has thwarted many moves of the Holy Spirit and split many churches due to stubbornness and unforgiveness.


It is my persuasion that a church-split is never the Will of God.  It is the will of stubborn and willful men who have allowed Satan to take the advantage.   If the Lord separates people out from a church, everything is done decently and in order.  They are sent out for Kingdom purposes to start other churches or evangelistic missions.  If the local assembly does not bless those whom the Lord has separated to send out, then the Lord will deal with that assembly.  But to separate willfully gives the devil an advantage.


 2:14-17:  Now thanks be to God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and make manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.  For we are to God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; To the one we are the savor of death to death; and to the other the savor of life to life.  And who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”


Translation: Paul is saying (paraphrased), “I thank God that all my travels are steps in the triumphant progress of the gospel.  In fact, through my preaching, I am God’s travelling dispenser of life and death.  This task has immense responsibilities, but I am able to discharge them because I am no mere travelling salesman, but a man commissioned by God.”


Peddlers are hucksters or retail tradesmen who sell shoddy goods, adulterate good wine by mixing it with water, or have an eye to their own profit rather than the customer’s benefit.



This picture is of a victorious Roman general leading his captives in triumphal procession.  Paul thinks of himself as one of Christ’s captives; if he stays in Troas or leaves for Macedonia, if he goes to Corinth or remains in Ephesus.  It is not according to his own desire, but at the direction of Christ.  We count it all joy for the joy of the Cross.


The fragrance of the knowledge” is a possible metaphor of the Roman triumph in reference to a custom of burning incense along the route of the procession; to the victors it would be a “fragrance of life”, but to the defeated a reminder of the imminent execution, a “smell of death”.


 The aroma of Christ is the knowledge of God.   In the presence of Christ, we are able through the five-sense to smell the aroma of His Presence.


No one is equal to or capable of bearing such responsibility, as a dispenser of life and death, unless qualified by God.


 Paul’s answer is “Yes, I am equal to such a task!” 



3: 1-3:  (paraphrased) My remarks about myself might sound like self-praise, but I really need none for you Corinthians are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men; forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”


The very existence of a Christian church in this wicked city was proof that he was God’s man for the job. 


As Christians we should all have a testimony that our lives are epistles known and read of all men.  As we turn the page of each day of our lives, let that page reveal the Glory of Christ.


2 Cor. 3:4-6:  Such trust have we through Christ God-ward.  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”


Ministers of the New Covenant together with Paul and all preachers of the gospel play a similar role in the New Covenant to that of Moses in the Old.  Just as the law was given through Moses (Jn. 1:14), so the knowledge of Christ is spread abroad through us.


 For as the law was given by the mediation of angels, how much greater is the gospel “spoken by the Lord”?


Heb. 2:2: “For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His will? 


The letter and the Spirit is the contrast between the Old and New Covenants.


Jer. 31: 31-34:  The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt.  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, ‘declares the Lord.”  I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor saying, Know the Lord, because they will all know me. (Jer. 31: 31-34). 


2 Cor. 7-11:  If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be even more glorious?  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious had not glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels.  For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious.”


Translation:  “The New Covenant is more glorious than the Old because it comes from the Spirit, and does not lead to death.  It brings acquittal, not condemnation.  It is permanent and eternal, not transitory.


  Paul now turns to the superiority of Christianity over Judaism:


  1. The law was temporary whereas the gospel is forever.
  2. The law was for the nation Israel, but the gospel is offered to all people.
  3. The law was outward and physical, but the gospel is inward and spiritual.


Paul fastens on the fact that Moses’ face shone symbolizing the glory of the Old Covenant.  The word for “glory” here is “doxa” and means: splendor, majesty, glory, brightness, and rays of light.  For all its impermanence the splendor of the Law was majestic. 


“If splendor accompanied the dispensation under which we are condemned, how much grander in splendor must be that one under which we are acquitted!  In comparison with the new, the splendor of the Old Covenant hardly seems to be splendor at all, like the light of the moon and stars compared to the brightness of the sun.” (Calvin)


2 Cor. 3: 12-18: “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.  And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished; but their minds were blinded; for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.  Even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when he shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.  Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”


Translation (paraphrased) “When I speak of the Lord, the Lord is that Spirit.  With the Holy Spirit at work in a believer, he is totally free from slavish conformity to the law.  All of us, with our faces unveiled, can behold the Lord’s glory by the Spirit and God’s Word.  Little by little we are transformed so that we reflect the Lord’s likeness.  This transformation is brought about by the Lord, Who is the Spirit.


The work of the Lord and the Spirit are so entwined there is no way to separate them.


  1. The Lord is the one Who is building the church (Mt. 16; 18).
  2. He is the One to whom we open our hearts when we are saved (Rev. 3:20).
  3. The Father and the Son both indwell us (John 14:23) ‘Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
  4. There is no salvation apart from having the Spirit. Rom 8:9b: “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
  5. Thus we are indwelt by all three, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


These verses have created many doctrines of Faith:


1.  The reading and study of the Old Testament for Christians---my persuasion is the Old Testament is to be read and studied in the light that all of it is a revelation of Jesus Christ.  The Lord fulfilled all of the Law, the Feasts, the sacrifices, and worship of the Temple.  The Old Covenant is a revelation of Jesus Christ and the Lord’s promise of the New Covenant.


2.  The Trinity—There have been many doctrines of Faith with regard to the Trinity.  I don’t see where the confusion came in.  The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. 


Mt. 28:19:  Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”


2 Cor. 3:17:  The Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”


(While preaching this, I began to prophesy that the United States (via the Kingdom of God) has been raised up by God to bring liberty to the nations of the word by the Holy Spirit.  It is only through the Holy Spirit that nations will be able to come into that Liberty.


The spirit of anti-christ is even now at work to cause the citizens of the United States to “fear” our government.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  When we enter into fear, we have lost our liberty.  We must not allow satan to ever bring us into fear of the spirit of anti-christ. 


If anti-christ can take your liberty, he has stolen the gift of Liberty given to us by the Lord’s Kingdom which is not subject to the kings of the earth.


The people of the nations who have not received Christ still have the veil over their face.  Therefore, they do not have liberty.  That is why when the move over here to enjoy our liberty, they want us to come under their bondage.)  (prophecy paraphrased from memory.) 


2 Cor. 3:18: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.


This ministry of Able Ministers in the New Testament – 2 Cor. 2 & 3:


  1. Triumph in Christ in every place (2:14).
  2. Life unto life in the saved (2:16).
  3. Death unto death unto the unsaved (2:16).
  4. Preaching the pure gospel (2:17).
  5. Making men epistles of Christ (3:3).
  6. Divine ability of the New Testament (3:6).
  7. Giving life (3:6).
  8. The Holy Spirit 3:8; 17-18).
  9. Righteousness (3:9).
  10. Excellent Glory (3: 10-11).
  11. Liberty and freedom (3:17).
  12. Transformation from glory to glory (3:18).


Genesis 1:27:  God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them.”


It is only in the male and female that we can be changed into His image from glory to glory.  This is one of the reasons the sanctity of the blessing of God on the union of the male and female is under attack by satan.  Man married to man and woman married to woman cannot be changed into the Glory of God.


Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”


It is in God’s image and only in that image of blessing and glory does man have authority over the earth.  Of course Satan wants to thwart that glory so that man/woman cannot and will not come in to the heritage of glory.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


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Scripture from K.J.V.
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