Paul’s Defense of the Church Requires a Plea for Its Continued Purity in the Content of the Gospel and Its Progress.

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1

A Transparent Plea (verses 11-13)

These are the most personal verses in both of Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church. These believers had not been restrained by the message of the Gospel, but they allowed the religious works-based teaching to persuade them. Paul reminds them that they have been freed from that lifestyle to live as freely as they want in Christ-likeness. Unbelief in the church trapped them in a lack of Gospel growth.

True spiritual success comes exclusively from God’s grace to save and transform people. The credit and glory should always go to Him.

Paul’s plea is based on his love for the Corinthians in Christ. He begs them not to continue being encumbered by the needless burden of mere religious influence. Merely attending and being busy does not ensure Gospel progress.

A Transcendent Plea (verses 14-18)

Apparently the influence of unbelief had begun to affect how the church worshipped in Corinth. Even their affection for true worship was waning, and they thought their experience was now second-rate.

The kind of partnership Paul forbids is not simple association, but a close, intentional, premeditated, meaningful relationship in the context of worship. The fifth question (verse 16) directs our attention to his point: the integrity of corporate worship. The individual Christian, specifically the body, and the church itself are both called the temple of God in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20).

The phrase “the living God” reflects the Old Testament contrast to lifeless idols. Paul had already warned the Corinthians and again reminds them that mere religion without complete dependence on Jesus is idolatry.

Being passionate about what grace is doing among us will lead us to protect the integrity of our worship. The Gospel needs to be protected not just in our personal lives but in worship of the assembled church as well.

Conclusion (7:1)

Paul tells the believers to resist reverting to pagan practices from pagan worship. Keep growing in spiritual maturity. The words “holiness” and “fear of God” underline the worship context.

Application Points

  • Lack of passion for the Gospel and its progress could be a self-inflicted issue. When did you last pray for an unsaved person to know Christ? When is the last time you shared the Gospel with someone? This should be a consistent reality in your life if you are living in God’s grace.
  • Being passionate about what grace is doing among us will lead us to protect the integrity of our worship. Encourage each other by sharing truth of the Gospel and news about Gospel progress.
  • How is your testimony outside the church? If you’re failing more than succeeding, you could be tempted back to a works-based salvation, which demonstrates an unchanged life. Worship has incredible Gospel intention behind it.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 2 Corinthians 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 Timothy 3:15 – “the living God”