Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the last four verses of 2 Corinthians, 13:11-14.
In 13:11 Paul says, “For the rest, brothers, rejoice! Be perfected, be encouraged, think the same thing, be at peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” Since the apostles are rejoicing (v. 9), they are able to exhort the believers to rejoice too. This is not to be done in their natural life, but in the Lord (Phil. 3:1; 4:4; 1 Thes. 5:16).
According to the New Testament, the Christian life should be a life of rejoicing. If your life is not a rejoicing life, your Christian life is not normal. To rejoice includes more than just being joyful. It is possible to be joyful without rejoicing. Joyfulness is something inward, but rejoicing means that our inward joy is expressed outwardly. I believe that Paul would say that in order to rejoice we must use our voice; that is, we need to sound out our joy, to give it voice. Thus, to voice out our joy is to rejoice. We should rejoice either by singing, praising, shouting, or calling on the Lord. Therefore, to rejoice is to voice out our inner joy, to sound it out. This rejoicing is an important characteristic of our Christian life. If our Christian life is normal, it will be a life of rejoicing.
In verse 11 Paul also appeals to the Corinthians to be perfected. Literally the Greek word rendered “perfected” means completed thoroughly, that is, repaired or adjusted, put in order again, mended, perfectly joined together, thus restored. In Greek it is the root of the word for perfecting in verse 9 and also the root for perfecting in Ephesians 4:12.
To be perfected is to be restored, mended, repaired, and adjusted. It is to be brought back to the right position and restored to the right track so that we may be built up together with others in the Body. The books of 1 and 2 Corinthians are books of perfecting. The unique goal of these two Epistles is to perfect the damaged, distracted, and divided saints at Corinth. The believers there had been damaged, and the situation among them was unhealthy. Therefore, these two books were written to perform the necessary task of perfecting the believers, of bringing them back to a healthy condition full of life, of edifying them, and of equipping them for the building up of the Body. All this is included in Paul’s charge, “Be perfected.”
We may regard the exhortation “be perfected” as active-passive in voice. Strictly speaking, this is passive. Nevertheless, it also contains an active element. This is the reason we speak of it as being active-passive. God is waiting to perfect us; however, we must take the initiative to be perfected. Moreover, the apostle was used to perfect the Corinthians. This means that a perfecting work was being done. But the Corinthians still had to be perfected. We may liken Paul to a physician and say that he was ready to dispense medicine into the believers, but it was still necessary for them to take the initiative to receive the medicine. The doctor was at hand and the medicine was ready, but the crucial question was this: Were the Corinthians willing to take the medicine and be healed? This was the reason Paul urged them to be perfected.
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