Monday, October 22, 2007

Your Own Affections

When Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren a third time, he dealt with some attitudes that needed adjusting. There had been some in Corinth that challenged Paul's authority as an apostle. They challenged his sincerity and ability as well.

In this letter we know as Second Corinthians, Paul directly stated how these claims were false. Other times, he used sarcasm to enumerate the ridiculous nature of these claims. I recently came across one particular verse that struck a chord with me. "You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections" (2 Cor. 6:12).

What a humbling thought! For the Christians in Corinth he was probably referring primarily to their continuing struggle within to leave the pagan society in which they were raised. For a further discussion, read Paul's follow up statements about their need for separation from these worldly influences (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

Let's get back to verse twelve. I think I know what Paul is talking about. We live in a world that is giving more and more credence to man's opinions and affections. The idea that truth can be known (Jn. 8:32), that there is one system of faith (Eph. 4:4-6), and that there is a proper way of understanding the universal message of Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20-21) is being challenged on every side.

Those who promote changes in theology, which lead to changes in the church, claim that the view currently held is stifling, traditional, close-minded, and unloving. Paul has a word for those who make such challenges. The restrictions have not come from God or the truth He has transmitted to faithful men. The restrictions come from individual affections. These restrictions have sadly limited the ability for those in error to see what God wants them to see.

We need to put our own affections aside and seek God's face. This is the only way we can please Him, and it is the only way unity will ever be achieved. God's word is the truth which makes us free.

"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." ~ James 1:25

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