(Vs. 1.) "Dearly beloved, since we have the great promises of God in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20) (adoption, God is our Father and we are his children; justification, we are righteous, redeemed and sanctified (1 Cor. 1:30); glorification, we shall be like Christ and reign with him for ever (Rom. 8:16-18)) let us cleanse ourselves from everything that would defile body and spirit." By the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10), through the Word of God (Ps. 119:9-11), with the aid of God's Spirit, let us keep ourselves clean, not only from fleshly corruption such as intemperance, drunkenness, profanity, dishonesty, sexual impurity and idolatry, but also from error of spirit such as pride, envy, covetousness, malice, evil thoughts and self-righteousness. "Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord." By holiness is not meant the work of perfect sanctification of the believer before God, for that is wholly the work of Christ, who is our sanctification and righteousness (Heb. 10:14; Rom. 3:19.22; 10:3, 4). But this is holiness of life, walk, conduct and conversation to which we are called and which is the mark and evidence of a true believer (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:21-24). This walk of obedience is motivated not only by God's love for us and our love for him (2 Cor. 5:14, 15) but "in the fear of the Lord" (Prov. 3:7; 16:6). The fear of the Lord for a believer is not slavish fear, or a fear of wrath and hell, but a reverential affection as a child for a father. The fear of the Lord arises from awe, trust, respect and dependence upon him, and a view to his glory and approval (2 Cor. 5:9).
(Vs. 2.) "Open your hearts to us as the ministers of Christ," Paul writes. "Receive us and love us as we love you; for we have not wronged you, we have corrupted no one by our doctrine, and we have not cheated nor taken advantage of you." He is saying that he had done nothing to forfeit their esteem and goodwill (I Cor. 2:1, 2; Acts 20:20, 27, 33). He could not understand their alienation of heart when he had done nothing to deserve it, but rather had given himself for their eternal good (2 Tim. 2:9,10).
(Vs. 3.) Paul did not call attention to their faults and infirmities only to condemn, reproach, or expose them, but because he loved them (Gal. 6:1,2; 2 Tim. 2:24, 25). He said, "You are in my heart and you will remain there; neither death nor life shall change that love nor destroy our fellowship" (John 13: 34, 35).
(Vs. 4.) "Great is my liberty of speech toward you. I open my mouth to you and speak freely even of your faults," for this is the sign of true friendship and love (Prov. 27:6). We are more reserved and on guard with those who are not close to us. "Great is my glorying (or boasting) of you to others, I rejoice in your faith, your love and your liberality. I am filled with comfort especially with the coming of Titus and the report he brought concerning your state. In spite of the persecution and tribulation we endure for preaching the gospel, my heart is comforted and I am overflowing with joy because of the grace of God manifested in you and other believers" (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
(Vs. 5, 6.) The apostle met with trouble and persecution in Macedonia from without (that is, from the Gentiles and religious Jews) and from within the church, being troubled by prophets and unfaithfulness among believers, as well as within his own heart (1 Cor. 2:3-5). The road of faith is not an easy road. The believer is subject to all of the trials brought upon men by Adam's fall (Gen. 3:17-19) and in addition to these he will be hated, oppressed and persecuted for the sake the gospel (2 Tim. 3:11, 12; Matt. 10:34-39). "Nevertheless God, who comforts, refreshes, encourages and gives strength to those who are depressed and troubled, comforted me." Paul is careful to give the glory and praise to God, who is our Comforter. Though the Lord chastens his people, puts them through great trial and suffering for their good and the fulfilment of his purpose, and though he allows the enemy to try them, as in the case of Job, he never leaves them, never forsakes them but gives them grace and strength to sustain and comfort them (Heb. 13:5; 2 Cor. 12:9; I Cor. 10:13). The visit of his brother, Titus, brought Paul great comfort. God is pleased to comfort and strengthen his people in various ways, sometimes by his Word, by his special providence, or by encouragement and fellowship of other believers. But whatever the instrumental cause of joy and comfort, God is the principal cause he comforts and is our comfort?
(Vs. 7.) Paul was glad to see Titus. However, it was not just his visit that rejoiced the heart of Paul, but the news that he brought. Titus had visited the church at Corinth and had been received with respect and kindness. Titus was greatly encouraged by what he found at Corinth in regard to the things Paul sought to correct by his first epistle the divisions, the incestuous affair, going to law before unbelievers, disorders at the Lord's Table and misuse of gifts. Titus told Paul of the earnest desire of the church to do the will of God, of their mourning over the sins among them, of their fervent love for Paul and desire to carry out his instructions. This good news rejoiced the heart of the apostle and abundantly exceeded his troubles and afflictions. Nothing rejoices the heart of a minister or a true disciple of Christ more than a good report from others who name the name of Christ (2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4).