ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 164


We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived
with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we
have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.
Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you
will fully understand us, even if you don’t understand us now. Then on
the day when the Lord Jesus returns, you will be proud of us in the same
way we are proud of you.
Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you
a double blessing by visiting you twice—first on my way to Macedonia
and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on
my way to Judea.
You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my
plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes”
when they really mean “No”? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you
does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does
what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a
resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”)
ascends to God for his glory.
It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He
has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the
Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything
he has promised us.
Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. But
that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put
your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be
full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.
So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit.
For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I
have grieved. That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come,
I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy.
Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. I wrote
that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t
want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have
for you.
I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble
hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that
was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort

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