1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.
2 Corinthians 7:1-3
Paul begins this chapter first referring to the last three verses of the prior chapter where he placed together verses – or parts thereof – from Leviticus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and 2 Samuel.
16b As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 7:16b-18
Why did Paul do this? He did it to show Jesus in the Bible they had at the time, what we call the Old Testament. From verse 16 we clearly see Jesus and in verse 18 we have a precursor of what Jesus would say
34 Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, “Here are My mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.”
So in verse 1 of this chapter Paul is referring to the promises of the Old Testament about Jesus. Then in the next two verses he asks those he has taught to make room in their hearts for him and those who came with him. He had already stated in 6:13 he was speaking as to my children. Now as almost any parent would he states what even today we might say to our own children I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.
Parents often give up their lives for their children. Often times they do this without their children knowing or understanding what was given up. Today, many of us have grown up with a roof over our heads, clothes on our bodies, and food in our bellies all of our lives and we seldom if ever gave a thought where they came from.
I recall a conversation I had when I was a young man with an acquaintance of my age who said about his father, “I never really knew him or appreciated him until I had children of my own. He and Mom had five of us and Dad made sure all of us went to college by working two jobs. So when he came home well after we had eaten, Mom would lovingly fix him a meal and he would give thanks, drink one or two beers then shower and go to bed. He would be off to work the next day before any of us were up and about. I didn’t know it then, but my Father was a hero. He worked those two jobs six days a week not for things or prestige, but for us.” Then he added, I hope I can love my children as deeply as my Father loved us.
The apostle Paul would have understood that Father and Mother because Paul loved all those he told of the Free Gift of Grace from Jesus the Christ as if they were his children. He loved them, sacrificed for them and would willingly die for them. Paul did this because He knew of the sacrifice Jesus had made for him and everyone else and he wanted to live in such a way as to be worthy of such love and sacrifice from God the Father and His Son. May your New Year be filled with thoughts of God’s love for you and yours.