A Divine Jealousy

Jack Roeda

READ : 2 Corinthians 11:1-6

I feel a divine jealousy for you . . . (v. 2)

Paul admits a divine jealousy for the church. He says, “I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that . . . your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (vv. 2-3).

A divine or godly jealousy, what is that? We’re familiar with jealousy as a negative, resentful envy of the success of others. We do a slow burn at the sight or sound of another’s good fortune. Paul elsewhere set this kind of jealousy in the company of anger, quarrels, and factions – all community-busters (Gal. 5:19-21). But divine jealousy is altogether different. It arises out of a deep concern for the other’s good. It’s not jealous of; it’s jealous for. It is eager to have the other flourish, to keep her out of harm’s way.

Paul longs to see the Corinthians in the arms of Christ, but he fears that they may be sweet-talked into the arms of another. His concern is not unlike the concern of parents who promise their child in baptism to Christ. They feel responsible for the fidelity of that child, and work and pray that she open her heart to no other lord but the Lord Jesus Christ.


Help us, dear God, to keep each other wholly for the Bridegroom. Amen.