to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 20, 2019 – Wednesday
2 Corinthians 7:15 NIV
15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.
The context of the above verse about Titus’ affection would be
13 By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. 14 I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. 15 And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. 16 I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.
Titus report to Paul concerning the Corinthian church was clearly a positive one. In fact, Titus’ affection for them was all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. Paul was concerned how Titus might be received because of the severe letter he had written them. What was the severe letter? We don’t know. It is believed to have been written between the two letters we have to the Corinthians and is referred to in this letter For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. (2:4) For more on this lost letter go here where it is obvious Paul was concerned he may have been too harsh with the Corinthians.
The same concern shows in the context of our verse of the day because in Macedonia Paul met up with Titus whereupon he received a very positive report from him. His severe letter had accomplished its purpose as we have read above. Especially in that the Corinthians had received Titus in obedience and with fear and trembling. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words tells us the “obedience was of the implementation or fulfillment of apostolic counsels while Strong’s Definitions tells us it means obedience rendered to anyone’s counsels. Thus the teaching of Titus well received and followed.
Peter Pett’s commentary fits closely with those definitions as he adds Titus has only good memories of them. He remembers how they responded to his authority, and received him with great concern and care for his words, and were eager to learn from him what they should do. And the result is that he has great affection for them indeed. ‘With fear and trembling.’ That is with deep concern and willingness to respond.
So I wonder how we respond today to Paul’s teachings as well as those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter, James, and Jude? Do we respond to their authority and have deep concern and willingness to respond to them? Paul would hope so as would the authors of them all. I pray you do so as well.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)