We come to a section of 2 Corinthians that contains just six verses. This is a portion of the book where Paul breaks away from what he has been saying to deal with what was evidently a problem in his time, as it is now in ours. It is the very great problem of the separation of Christians from the world. There have been more divisions in the church over the debate of this issue than perhaps any other. Whole denominations are based upon this principle of separation.

The world pays attention if you are well known. The world listens to those who are not dying, but rather are in the peak of health. The world does not listen to those who are beaten or sorrowful, or poor, but rather to those lifted up in spirit, and rich, and those who appear to have everything. You have to be a ten on a scale of one to ten if you are going to succeed in this world.

The second category of things that Paul mentions here in 2 Corinthians has to do with his character. Paul’s list contains purity, understanding, patience, and kindness. Just a few pages further on in the Bible, in the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul gives another list, this one containing the fruit of the Spirit. The Galatians list includes a number of the traits mentioned here in this letter. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul wrote, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." In spite of being an aggressive evangelist, and a bit of a feisty man, Paul was characterized by these great fruits of the Spirit.

The bulk of this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with how Paul conducted himself in the situations into which his ministry brought him. In chapter 6, verse 4, Paul begins to list what he has experienced during his ministry. Paul's list contains thirty-seven items; the last fourteen are in seven pairs. Paul begins by commending himself in the work of ministry. A key term there is endurance.

2 Corinthians 6:1-13 has two parts, one negative and the other positive. The negative portion is shorter. In verse 3 Paul wrote, "We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited." I do not know precisely what Paul had in mind as he wrote that. But I think it is quite possible that Paul, undoubtedly having meditated on the words of our Lord, was thinking of that occasion when Jesus himself spoke about causing someone to stumble. Jesus was thinking of children when he said, "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matt. 18:6).