Paul’s Pastoral Plea
Paul has been under attack from those who sought to undermine his apostolic authority and the sincerity of his love for the Corinthians. He apologetically wrote in defense of the validity of his calling and ministry as an apostle. He now proceeds to write about his love for them, and the concerns that he has for their spiritual condition. With the flaming darts of slander and accusations sticking out of his back, from deep in his heart he calls them “dearly beloved” (2 Corinthians 12:19). To call them beloved is a remarkable evidence of the love of God shed abroad in his heart towards them. He proceeds to tell them that the more he loved them, the less he was loved. How painful it is when the love you pour out to others and into others is despised or rejected. But Paul is driven by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14).
He was accused of ripping the Corinthians off because he did not take any money from them like the false, pseudo teachers were doing. All that he did was for their edification. Because Paul told them things in his letters and previous visits that they did not want to hear, he was accused of being unloving and uncaring. Thus, in advance of a third visit, Paul tells them that he is concerned about their ungodly behavior. He is grieved over the fact that many of them have remained defiant in their sin, and ignored his apostolic admonitions of the need to repent. The sins that Paul lists in 2 Corinthians 12, verses 20 and 21 are sins that grieve The Spirit of God.
Lord Jesus, give us ears to hear and obey Your voice. Selah