11:7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!
12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Paul is tackling the sensitive issue of false leaders, men who were trying to come in a teach Jesus + other things = salvation. These teachers use guilt, fear, and uncertainty to exploit believers for their own gain. It's interesting that the thing Paul identifies to help show he was a sincere worker is that he worked among them and for them without pay. He was not there to make money, he was there to make disciples. Did he have the right to get paid? Of course. This same Paul wrote in another letter that every worker is worth his hire and Paul was paid while in Corinth, just not by the Corinthians. He reminded them of this to show how the work done for them was done for love, his love and the love of those in Macedonia who supported the work financially.
Today in some circles in America, parts of Africa, and other hot spots Christianity has become a get rich enterprise. Millionaire preachers are telling their followers that Jesus wants them to be rich. One preacher in America who is well known, on television a lot, was asked by a reporter how he could justify his mansion, his lavish lifestyle, exorbitant salary etc... His response was that God wants this for everyone and how could he teach this truth if he didn't model it first?
Paul said false teachers would come preaching a different Jesus. Why do you think Christianity morphed into selling forgiveness? Selling something people can't buy anywhere else is very lucrative. How do you think those massive beautiful cathedrals that dot the European landscape were paid for in an era when the vast majority of the people were poor peasants? Promising people freedom from guilt, escape from a manmade place of supposed eternal torture, and access to heaven for a price was a serious cash cow.
Paul reminded them he never sold them anything. He didn't even take a pay cheque from them. Heaven is not for sale and anyone who distorts the simple message of Jesus is an agent of Satan. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.