Beloved in the Faith - RR4168A
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
[Mark Rushdoony] “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, in righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Let us pray. Our most great and glorious God and heavenly Father, we are thankful that we have the privilege of coming before you as our heavenly Father; we come before you as your children and as your servants, who humbly seek to do your holy will. We pray that you would sanctify us, by your word, by your spirit, so that we might humble ourselves more fully to you as our days and months are numbered. We pray that you would encourage us to submit ourselves to your holy word as our standard of life and thought. We come before you now to worship you and to learn from your word. We thank you for the privilege we have of so ordering our lives, and so conducting ourselves that we can call ourselves you children, because you have given us the assurance that we are yours, and that you are our God. We pray that you would uplift our hearts this morning, encourage us amidst all the evil that we see around us, we pray that you would encourage us individually, encourage us as families, encourage us as a communion to do your will, to think in terms of your kingdom; help us not to be discouraged by what we see around us, but help us to be encouraged by what we believe you to be. We pray that you would be with all those who gather together this morning in your name throughout the world, we think especially of those who suffer for your names sake, in all areas, in all walks of life. Encourage them and uplift them. We pray that we would see revival in our time, in particularly renewed faithfulness among the churches to your will and your word. Encourage us in this regard, and encourage us in this time we have together, in Jesus our saviors name, amen. [00:02:44]
[R. J. Rushdoony] Our scripture lesson this morning is 2 Corinthians 7:1-4.
“7 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”
This is a strange passage. Paul uses a surprising word here, one we would find difficult using. He calls the Corinthians beloved! In the very first verse, dearly beloved in fact. Now, would you be ready to call a group of people beloved who had slandered you, who had defamed you, who had made out as though you were a scoundrel, an enemy of Christ rather than His faithful servant? Nowhere was Paul more evilly treated than in Corinth, and yet he calls them: “Dearly beloved.”
Now, Paul is not the gushy type of person, by any means. He only uses the word beloved seven times in all his letters. The strange part is, that in four of those seven times, it appears in his letter to the Corinthians. Obviously we are up against something here that is quite remarkable. Paul was a man of intense feelings, strongly for or against anything. He is clearly very strongly against the sins of the Corinthians, he goes after them as he does no one else. And yet, four of the seven times that he uses the word beloved in all his writings, he uses it of the Corinthians, in fact he calls them dearly beloved. [00:06:48]
What is the reason for that? There has to be some kind
What is the reason for that? There has to be some kind of identification by Paul to himself with the Corinthians. Well, Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, he had when Christ was alive been against Him, and persecuted those who were His saints; been ready to cast a vote of death for Stephen; had obtained a legal warrant to persecute, arrest and try, and condemn Christians. Why does he feel so close to the Corinthians of all people?
Well, we know that Paul always felt deeply grieved over what he had done earlier, in fact he calls himself the chief of sinners, because he had sinned against Jesus Christ when He was alive, and against His people when Christ was dead and resurrected.
Well, what Paul says is understandable if we realize, in having been on the other side, he could appreciate the feelings of those who were on the other side. Paul knew how he would have felt had not the grace of God converted him, about someone like himself. If Paul were still Saul, the ungodly, he would have gone after Paul hammer and tongs. Paul understands the sinner, understands his hostility to Christ and the faith; and so, when he encounters it in the church, those who are imperfectly converted, or not converted at all, even though his plain speaking is very obvious, none the less, so too is his concern for them. [00:10:06]
It is hard to imagine anyone else having gone to Corinth
It is hard to imagine anyone else having gone to Corinth, and having reacted as Paul did. Having shown the patience he did, and having called them four times beloved or dearly beloved. This is why the letters to the Corinthians are such sad ones, the grief is so real. Because Paul’s hurt is accordingly real. But he summons them: “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” He identifies himself with them to the point where he says, not ‘cleanse yourselves’, but: ‘Ourselves’.
“Perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us.”
The plea there is tremendous. It is Paul crying out: “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.”
‘Who can say, in all of Corinth, in the church or out of the church, that I, Paul, defrauded, corrupted, or wronged any one of them?’ Paul appeals to these people: ‘Receive me.’
“I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.”
Paul had made clear to them: ‘You are sinners, but I who speak to you was a sinner; and not just an ordinary sinner. I sinned against the Christ in person. I persecuted and was responsible for the death of some of His greatest saints.’ He tell us he cast his vote against Stephen, and Stephen died.
So Paul is appealing to them: “Ye are in our hearts, to die and live with you.” ‘I feel that strongly about you.’ Well, some of us at one time or another feel deeply the hurt or the grief that comes when we are betrayed. When we are wronged, or hurt by someone who should be grateful. We can then begin to understand Paul.
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” [00:14:32]
An amazing statement
An amazing statement. But what Paul is saying: ‘What you are doing is wrong. And I am suffering for it, and even though I am suffering, I am exceedingly joyful because in the process I am recognizing that the Lord saves others like myself, and I understand your sin, because it was my sin. You are sinning against an apostle, I sinned against the Christ. This is why I am so bold and open, and frank in all that I have to say. This is why I praise and glory in you, in spite of all your sins and problems. This is why, in spite of my hurt, I am filled with comfort. Because although you are sinning Christians, you are Christians in some sense.’
“I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” This passage, a short one, nonetheless cries out; because it comes from the heart of Paul. It comes from one who, in the process of seeing these people sin against him, remembers his sin against Christ and the church of Jerusalem.
Paul’s patience commends patience to us. We don’t have as ugly a situation as he does. We are misunderstood, often, we are hurt, we feel that this or that group of Christians as far as we are concerned has to be written off. Well, the patience of Paul, and his abiding love, his ability to call them dearly beloved, is I think one of the most moving aspects of 2nd Corinthians. [00:17:55]
Let us pray. Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto Thee, for Paul’s patience with the Corinthians. Knowing that this reveals even more your patience with us. Forgive us our sins and trespasses. Forgive us our unwillingness to stand with Paul, and be patient towards those who sin against Thee and against us. Our Father, Thou art mindful of our every need, and so we come to cast our every care upon Thee, knowing Thou carest for us. In Christ’s name, amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Audience Member] What do you think the connection of this passage would be with the previous passage where Paul…
[Rushdoony] This passage with what?
[Audience Member] This passage with the previous passage addressing idolatry?
[Rushdoony] Well, I think it has a very real connection, idolatry is every man’s sin, and our main idol is our own will. So that, while the actual worship of idols is gone, today idolatry centers upon ourselves. “My will be done!” Not, “Thy will be done.” “My way is the right way, not the Lords!” So that, there is a connection. Paul pushes the Corinthians to see the nature of their sin. Yes?
[Audience Member] You know Protestants will get on Catholics case for idolatry, for obvious things, but as you pointed out in earlier works, that, you pointed out that when somebody chose a particular idol they actually wanted to exercise control over that idol. The Protestants, what they do, is they come up with concepts in their mind of what God is, and he is not the true God in their mind, and so they are trying to control God with what they expect about their God.
[Rushdoony] As the commandment puts it, “Thou shalt have none other God’s before me.” And the God we have most before us is our own will. This is why idolatry, in any and every form is condemned by the Bible from beginning to end. It is so prevalent. And as against “Thy will be done” our standard becomes: “My will be done.”
Any other questions or comments? If not, let us conclude with prayer.
Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Paul speaks to the heart of all of us, to our sins and our shortcomings, and to Thy grace and mercy to all of us. We thank Thee our Father that day after day we have the joy of salvation, the knowledge that Thou art he who dost make all things work together for good to them that love Thee, to them who are the called according to Thy purpose. Grant Lord that we walk in this trust, and that Thy spirit guide us and bless us.
And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, amen. [00:23:38]