61In our work together with God, then, we beg you who have received God's grace not to let it be wasted. 2
Hear what God says:
“When the time came for me to show you favour
I heard you;
when the day arrived for me to save you,
I helped you.”Listen! This is the hour to receive God's favour; today is the day to be saved!
3We do not want anyone to find fault with our work, so we try not to put obstacles in anyone's way. 4Instead, in everything we do we show that we are God's servants by patiently enduring troubles, hardships, and difficulties. 5
We have been beaten, imprisoned, and mobbed; we have been overworked and have gone without sleep or food. 6By our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness we have shown ourselves to be God's servants — by the Holy Spirit, by our true love, 7by our message of truth, and by the power of God. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. 8We are honoured and disgraced; we are insulted and praised. We are treated as liars, yet we speak the truth; 9as unknown, yet we are known by all; as though we were dead, but, as you see, we live on. Although punished, we are not killed; 10although saddened, we are always glad; we seem poor, but we make many people rich; we seem to have nothing, yet we really possess everything.
11Dear friends in Corinth! We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide. 12It is not we who have closed our hearts to you; it is you who have closed your hearts to us. 13I speak now as though you were my children: show us the same feelings that we have for you. Open your hearts wide!
14Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together? 15How can Christ and the Devil agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16
How can God's temple come to terms with pagan idols? For we are the temple of the living God! As God himself has said:
“I will make my home with my people
and live among them;
I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.”17
“You must leave them
and separate yourselves from them.
Have nothing to do with what is unclean,
and I will accept you.
I will be your father,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
71All these promises are made to us, my dear friends. So then, let us purify ourselves from everything that makes body or soul unclean, and let us be completely holy by living in awe of God.
2Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one; we have ruined no one, nor tried to take advantage of anyone. 3I do not say this to condemn you; for, as I have said before, you are so dear to us that we are always together, whether we live or die. 4I am so sure of you; I take such pride in you! In all our troubles I am still full of courage; I am running over with joy.
Even after we arrived in Macedonia, we had no rest. There were troubles everywhere, quarrels with others, fears in our hearts. 6But God, who encourages the downhearted, encouraged us with the coming of Titus. 7It was not only his coming that cheered us, but also his report of how you encouraged him. He told us how much you want to see me, how sorry you are, how ready you are to defend me; and so I am even happier now.
8For even if that letter of mine made you sad, I am not sorry I wrote it. I could have been sorry when I saw that it made you sad for a while. 9But now I am happy — not because I made you sad, but because your sadness made you change your ways. That sadness was used by God, and so we caused you no harm. 10For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation — and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death. 11See what God did with this sadness of yours: how earnest it has made you, how eager to prove your innocence! Such indignation, such alarm, such feelings, such devotion, such readiness to punish wrongdoing! You have shown yourselves to be without fault in the whole matter.
12So, even though I wrote that letter, it was not because of the one who did wrong or the one who was wronged. Instead, I wrote it to make plain to you, in God's sight, how deep your devotion to us really is. 13That is why we were encouraged.
Not only were we encouraged; how happy Titus made us with his happiness over the way in which all of you helped to cheer him up! 14I did boast of you to him, and you have not disappointed me. We have always spoken the truth to you, and in the same way the boast we made to Titus has proved true. 15And so his love for you grows stronger, as he remembers how all of you were ready to obey his instructions, how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16How happy I am that I can depend on you completely!
Our brothers and sisters, we want you to know what God's grace has accomplished in the churches in Macedonia. 2They have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor. 3I can assure you that they gave as much as they could, and even more than they could. Of their own free will 4they begged us and pleaded for the privilege of having a part in helping God's people in Judea. 5It was more than we could have hoped for! First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God's will they gave themselves to us as well. 6So we urged Titus, who began this work, to continue it and help you complete this special service of love. 7You are so rich in all you have: in faith, speech, and knowledge, in your eagerness to help and in your love for us.8.7 your love for us; some manuscripts have our love for you. And so we want you to be generous also in this service of love.
8I am not laying down any rules. But by showing how eager others are to help, I am trying to find out how real your own love is. 9You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; rich as he was, he made himself poor for your sake, in order to make you rich by means of his poverty.
10My opinion is that it is better for you to finish now what you began last year. You were the first, not only to act, but also to be willing to act. 11On with it, then, and finish the job! Be as eager to finish it as you were to plan it, and do it with what you now have. 12If you are eager to give, God will accept your gift on the basis of what you have to give, not on what you haven't.
13-14I am not trying to relieve others by putting a burden on you; but since you have plenty at this time, it is only fair that you should help those who are in need. Then, when you are in need and they have plenty, they will help you. In this way both are treated equally. 15
As the scripture says, “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
16How we thank God for making Titus as eager as we are to help you! 17Not only did he welcome our request; he was so eager to help that of his own free will he decided to go to you. 18With him we are sending the brother who is highly respected in all the churches for his work in preaching the gospel. 19And besides that, he has been chosen and appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this service of love for the sake of the Lord's glory, and in order to show that we want to help.
20We are taking care not to stir up any complaints about the way we handle this generous gift. 21
Our purpose is to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others.
22So we are sending our brother with them; we have tested him many times and found him always very eager to help. And now that he has so much confidence in you, he is all the more eager to help. 23As for Titus, he is my partner and works with me to help you; as for the other brothers who are going with him, they represent the churches and bring glory to Christ. 24Show your love to them, so that all the churches will be sure of it and know that we are right in boasting about you.