2Co 12:18-21 “I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.”
As Paul concludes this chapter, he again protests his deep love for the church at Corinth. He begins by pointing out that he was the one who encouraged Titus to come to them (although Titus was perfectly willing to do so). He also sent with Titus a brother that was apparently known and esteemed by the saints at Corinth. It was Paul’s intention that Titus’ have someone to bear witness of his conduct among them.
Paul is not actually questioning Titus’ behavior here. He is rather using these questions to point out some very clear facts about Titus’ visit. Titus did not take their goods any more than Paul had. Titus came to them in the same spirit of love and humility that Paul had. They were one in the Spirit of God as they came to minister to the Corinthians.
Throughout Paul’s writing in this letter, it could easily be assumed that he was attempting to make excuses for himself. Paul lays that notion to rest completely here. Paul was not making excuses, but rather bearing witness before God of all that he and others had done in bringing the gospel to the Corinthian brethren. He was assuring them once again that his words and deeds were in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All of Paul’s explaining had one goal; to assure the saints at Corinth that his love for them was genuine and all his actions had been to build them up. Yet, Paul was concerned that things might not be well with them when he came to visit again. He was concerned that he was not going to find them walking according to the gospel of Christ. As a result of that, he was concerned that he was not going to be able to come to them with the joy he would like to.
In spite of Paul’s labor to edify the church at Corinth, he was still concerned that there were divisions and strife among them. He was concerned about gossip and jealousy. These were all things that he knew he would have to address before God if they were still prevalent among the brethren. Still, his love for them was such that he would not shy away from doing whatever was necessary.
Paul told the saints that he was concerned that he would find them in such a state that he was going to be humbled (saddened) before God. Instead of being able to rejoice with them, he was going to find himself in mourning. He was concerned that he was going to find them still wallowing in man of the transgressions he had already warned them about. Instead of a spirit of repentance, he was prepared to find in them a rebellious spirit.
As ministers of the gospel of Christ, we love to rejoice with His saints as they walk in love before Him. Sometimes our affection for them may cause us to wish to shun our responsibility before God of rebuking them according to the truth in Christ. However, if we truly desire to see those we loved edified and the God we serve glorified, then we must remain faithful to Him in all things. Sometimes that requires of us to do things that make our hearts hurt for those we love in Christ.
May we always be mindful to bear the testimony of God for the edifying of His saints without making excuses for ourselves!