When Paul writes this letter, he is particularly vulnerable. He is very frank and open as he shares his experiences and feelings with the Corinthians. The keynote of this section is his reference to the word "hearts." In verse 2 he uses "your hearts," and in verse 3 he uses "our hearts." This section is a repetition of what he wrote in the previous chapter, verse 11: "We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you"; then on that basis in verse 13 he says, "...open wide your hearts also." Here, in chapter 7, he says, "Make room for us in your hearts. ...I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you."

Another reason for a failure of intimacy is what is called "low self-esteem" or "low self-image." Now, if men have a problem particularly in the area of the fear of intimacy, I would venture to say that, while it is true of men also, many women in our day especially suffer with low self-image. Perhaps the culture is partially to blame. Today women are told that they can be everything. Now they probably can be, but they cannot be everything at once.

In this section Paul refers again to what he was discussing in chapters 2 and 6. What distinguishes this section of the book, however, is the exceedingly intimate way he bares his heart to these Christians in the city of Corinth. Intimacy is a very important thing because it is something we all hunger for and yet it is something, unfortunately, we very seldom find.

Biblical separation also occurs in matters of business. The principle of intimacy also enters into our workplaces. Say, for example, you work for an insurance company. I do not know how you could practice separation there in a radical way because you have all kinds of people with whom you must interact. You have Christians, those of other faiths, atheists, all together. If you separate there, you will not be able to work. But suppose you want to enter into a partnership with somebody. You will share a business with your partner. Here is the point at which this principle would enter.

Separation is to be setting apart unto God. This is really what sanctification is all about. Sanctification is consecration. There are many things that, as a Christian, you will not do and lots of trouble you will not get into, not because you are not capable, but because you will be too busy doing the Lord’s work. You will not even think about such things because you will primarily want to please God. Instead of criticizing others, you will hope for and be glad when they also try to please God. And you will rejoice in all of that together.