What an interesting way to start a letter to Paul’s mission church. As is the case many times in the mission of Paul, Paul’s character was challenged by the Judaizers. They said Paul was a flip/flop guy that was all about the law, then suddenly, he is all about grace. Moreover, the church at Corinth was having their greatest success and most difficult trials and temptations to make this church’s focus about themselves and not about the Lord.
So, Paul meets it head on! First, and foremost, God has a plan and does not waiver from it. Paul tells these Corinthians, (and a few of us here in Texas as well), God does not flip/flop. His original plan to return to the church at Corinth was not necessarily God’s plan! Paul loved the people and wanted to pour into them. The struggles within the church had become known in the world and to Paul; and Paul realized his coming to Corinth would only cause stress to Paul and to all! He would continue to pray and to mentor this church, however, through those he loved and trained, and through the letters that have trained the world.
God’s will and plan are set! We change course at various times and then grow concerned that we somehow have upset God’s applecart! Please, do not be deceived, God has known us since the beginning of time, and He knows our hearts and minds like none other. Our Father is never surprised and can work ALL things together for good! (Romans 8:28)
All God asks is that we trust and follow Him. As we follow, we are bound to stumble, feel lost and alone, and even lose sight of the end of the journey. The great news is that while we may struggle, God simply does not. Like a great mystery writer, God weaves the twists and turns, the trials and temptations, and the victories and defeats together into a beautiful quilt that reflects His grace and glory.
As Paul continues to remind us in Romans 8, there is no condemnation for His chosen. No matter how difficult the struggle the rewards for us are exceedingly greater, His plan is best, and absolutely nothing can separate us from His love and plan!
God Bless You
11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[b] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[c] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.