Online Bible Commentary
The Cure for Depression
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. 5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. NKJV
This passage begins with the word “therefore” which refers us back to the preceding passage. The preceding passage instructs Christians to make godly relationships, turning away from ungodly, or sinful, relationships. In so doing, God will manifest Himself even greater in our lives.
He will come even closer to us and will bring new relationships into our lives to take the place of those relationships that we must turn from in order to follow Him. God cannot bless sin, but when we remove ourselves from it, whether it be a personal relationship or even a church that is not being obedient to the teachings of the Bible, God will bless us abundantly, even more than before, with new, and better, relationships.
So, “having these promises”, we Christians are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (v. 1a). We are to make a clean break from anything, or anybody, that would keep us from a relationship with Christ.
In this way, we ae “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (v. 1b). We are coming closer to the goal, we are advancing in holiness because of our reverence of God.
Paul is writing this letter to the first century Christians of the church in Corinth, Greece. He, now, asks them to “open your hearts to us” (v. 2a). In other words, they should accept Paul and his workers as godly relationships, not having “wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one” (v. 2b).
Paul is not writing this “to condemn”, them, or to say that he has formed a negative opinion of them (v. 3a). On the contrary, he has “said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together” (v. 3b). They are in his heart and he lives and dies with his devotion to them.
Paul continues by writing “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf” (v. 4a). He freely boasts of the Corinthian Christians.
He is “filled with comfort (and) exceedingly joyful” (v. 4b). Paul is filled with comfort when boasting of them and continues to be filled with their comfort He is overflowing with joy as he thinks of them, even in the midst of “tribulation” (v. 4c).
The tribulation Paul writes of likely has to do with recent problems. After a very successful two year and three-month ministry in Ephesus, Asia he was driven from the area by riots targeted at his ministry.
Then, he was to meet Titus in Troas to receive news of the goings on in Corinth. The Corinthian believers had been convinced by false teachers that Paul had been deceiving them, and Paul was anxiously awaiting what he hoped was a good report from Titus, who was coming from Corinth. However, Titus did not show up in Troas.
Next, he writes “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (v.5). Paul is writing this letter from Macedonia. He arrived under much pressure, from “outside conflicts” (the riots) and “inside fears”, not knowing the goings on in Corinth.
Paul writes “Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (v. 6). He states that God comforts “the downcast”, the depressed. In this case, in his depression, Paul was comforted by the good news from Titus.
Next Paul writes “and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more” (v. 7). First of all, Paul was comforted by seeing Titus. After not finding him in Troas he was likely worried about his well-being.
Paul was also comforted by the good report he received from Titus. Titus “was comforted” by his visit in Corinth. Paul was comforted by Titus’ comfort, and in the response from the Corinthians of “earnest desire, mourning and zeal” for Paul.
The Corinthians no longer thought that he had deceived them. They now earnestly desired him, were mourning for their lack of trust in him, and had a zeal to see him. All of this caused Paul to rejoice “even more”.
When Paul arrived in Macedonia he was depressed over recent negative events in his life. Now, Paul is rejoicing. God has brought about changes in his life that has lifted Paul out of his depression.
God is the cure for depression. He can lift you out of your depression, just as he lifted Paul.
Paul was aligned with God. He was not aligned with sin. God cannot bless sin. He blesses those who turn their backs on sin.