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"It shall greatly help you to understand Scriptures If thou mark not only what is spoken or written, But of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time. Where, to what intent, with what circumstances, Considering what goeth before and what followeth after." ~Miles Coverdale 2 Corinthians 7:8-13 KJV: "8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. 13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all." Paul is writing directly to the Corinthians in this epistle and referring to a previous letter, that being 1 Corinthians, where he was stern with them (verse 8 above) due to their error in 'falling from grace' (adding works-of-self as a requirement for salvation). This effectively makes Christ and His completed cross work performed on our behalf of none effect (Romans 4:14, GGalatians 5:4). The Corinthians were allowing religious doctrine to creep into the church and overtake the true doctrine of faith alone (1 Corinthians 4:15-16). Much in the way that Paul's Hebrew brethren went about to establish their own self-righteousness, they failed to submit themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). Some of the Corinthians had also used God's grace as a license to sin, while others in the church did not rebuke them as they should have (1 Corinthians 5:1-8). In verse 9 above, Paul is stating that he is joyful that the sorrow created by his words brought the Corinthians to repentance (changing their mind) regarding their previous actions. Sorrow brought them back to the truth of God's grace and ultimately forced a positive response in their lives afterward (verses 10 through 12 above). It helps to remember that Paul always writes directly to saved members of the church the body of Christ. Paul is our guide of how to live post-salvation. We as believers can help other believers who may forget at times what God's grace means (Romans 5:20). Guiding each other as ambassadors of Jesus Christ will not only result in edification of the believing church, but also makes our ministry of reconciliation between God and man more meaningful to non-believers (1 Corinthians 6:2).
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