7:1-4 The promises of God are strong reasons for us to follow after holiness; we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. If we hope in God as our Father, we must seek to be holy as he is holy, and perfect as our Father in heaven. His grace, by the influences of his Spirit, alone can purify, but holiness should be the object of our constant prayers. If the ministers of the gospel are thought contemptible, there is danger lest the gospel itself be despised also; and though ministers must flatter none, yet they must be gentle towards all. Ministers may look for esteem and favour, when they can safely appeal to the people, that they have corrupted no man by false doctrines or flattering speeches; that they have defrauded no man; nor sought to promote their own interests so as to hurt any. It was affection to them made the apostle speak so freely to them, and caused him to glory of them, in all places, and upon all occasions.
2Co 7:1-16. Self-Purification Their Duty Resulting from the Foregoing. His Love to Them, and Joy at the Good Effects on Them of His Former Epistle, as Reported by Titus.
1. cleanse ourselves—This is the conclusion of the exhortation (2Co 6:1, 14; 1Jo 3:3; Re 22:11).
filthiness—"the unclean thing" (2Co 6:17).
of the flesh—for instance, fornication, prevalent at Corinth (1Co 6:15-18).
and spirit—for instance, idolatry, direct or indirect (1Co 6:9; 8:1, 7; 10:7, 21, 22). The spirit (Ps 32:2) receives pollution through the flesh, the instrument of uncleanness.
perfecting holiness—The cleansing away impurity is a positive step towards holiness (2Co 6:17). It is not enough to begin; the end crowns the work (Ga 3:3; 5:7; Php 1:6).
fear of God—often conjoined with the consideration of the most glorious promises (2Co 5:11; Heb 4:1). Privilege and promise go hand in hand.