1 Being Godís helpers we beg you: let it not be in vain that you received this grace of God. 2 Scrip ture says: At the favorable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favorable time, this is the day of salvation.
The trials of an apostle
3 We are concerned not to give anyone an occasion to stumble or criticize our mission. 4 In stead we prove we are true ministers of God in every way by our endurance in so many trials, in hardships, afflictions, 5 floggings, imprisonment, riots, fa tigue, sleepless nights and days of hunger.
6 People can notice in our upright life, knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, 7 words of truth and power of God. So we fight with the weapons of justice, to attack as well as to defend.
8 Sometimes we are honored, at other times insulted; we receive criticism as well as praise. We are regarded as liars although we speak the truth; 9 as unknown though we are well known; as dead and yet we live. Punishments come upon us but we have not, as yet, been put to death. 10 We appear to be afflicted, yet always joyful; we seem to be poor, but we enrich many; we have nothing, but we possess everything!
11 Corinthians! I have spoken to you frankly and I have uncovered my inner thought. 12 My heart is wide open to you, but you feel uneasy because of your closed heart: 13 repay us with the same measure Ė I speak to you as to my children Ė open wide your hearts also.
Have nothing to do with evil
14 Do not make unsuitable cove nants with those who do not believe: can justice walk with wickedness? Or can light coexist with dark ness, 15 and can there be harmony between Christ and Satan? What union can there be between one who believes and one who does not believe? 16 Godís temple must have no room for idols, and we are the temple of the living God. As Scrip ture says; I will dwell and live in their midst, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore: Come out from their midst and separate from them, says the Lord. Do not touch anything unclean 18 and I will be gracious to you. I will be a father to you, that you may become my sons and daughters, says the all-powerful God.