05/18/T – Sincere and Pure Devotion

Isaiah 3:1-4:6; 2 Corinthians 11:1-6; Psalms 53:6; Proverbs 15:18-19

NT: “I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me! For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband — to present a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:1-4‬ ‭CSB)

One of the challenges that Paul faced with the Corinthian church was that a group of Judaizers had implanted themselves within the congregation and were peddling a false gospel. In order to get the Corinthians to buy their teaching, they were doing everything they could to discredit Paul. If Paul defended himself against the Judaizers, they would say, “Paul makes everything about himself.” If Paul ignored the Judiazers’ charges and said nothing, they would say, “His silence confirms his guilt.” There was no way that Paul could win, so he asked the Corinthian church to bear with him as he engaged in some “foolishness.” However, His foolishness was not foolishness at all. His “foolishness” was his attempt at explaining his justifiable concern.

Paul had spiritually fathered the Corinthian church. He was the one who brought the good news of the gospel to them. He was the one who led them to salvation. He was the one who lived among them for a year and a half and carefully discipled them to maturity in Christ. The members of the Corinthian church were his spiritual children, and he was jealous for them. He wasn’t jealous of them – he was jealous for them, meaning he was passionate about their purity as a father is passionate about the purity of his daughter. As the Church is the Bride of Christ, Paul was passionate about the church that he founded remaining chaste and faithful to her Bridegroom. While Paul was away, “suitors” had come in to try and seduce the church away from Christ and into a false gospel, and he was not going to apologize for doing all that he could to keep the church faithfully committed to the Lord. Though the Judaizers appeared to be good and religious people, the force that was behind their efforts was the devil himself. Just as the serpent deceived Eve into denying God, the enemy of our soul is constantly trying to deceive us away from faith and life in Christ. Paul didn’t want to see the church seduced away from a sincere and pure devotion to its Savior and Lord.

The Greek word translated here as ‘sincere’ means not self seeking, simple, honest and free from pretense and hypocrisy. The phrase translated as ‘pure devotion’ has to do with chastity towards someone. There are no shortages of self-seeking “gospels” that seek to lure us away from the pure and unadulterated gospel of the Kingdom. There are a lot of religious beliefs and opinions that have a “Christ” that caters to our desires and preferences. Ultimately, Satan is behind all of them and intends to use them to seduce us, even if it is ever-so-slightly, away from faithfulness to our Bridgegroom, that we would worship and give our lives to a false god. Are we willing to study the word, will and ways of God and align our lives accordingly, or will we allow ourselves to be lured away from faithfulness to God, unto give ourselves to a religion that caters to our own desires and preferences? By living according to the word and the Spirit, we can maintain a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Prayer: Lord, there are many attractive gospels in the world that will make room for me to seek what I want instead of Your best desires for me. My desire is to remain faithful to You and to not be seduced away by the attractive and accepted beliefs of the day. Help me, as I stand on Your word and am led by Your Spirit, to remain faithful to You until the end. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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