1:17-2:11 Paul may be referring back to 1 Corinthains 5 here. Sinful behavior in the congregation causes both sadness over the behavior as well as sadness because of any action that needs to be taken by the congregation. Paul has continually urged them to engage in discipline because of the behavior. He has tearfully written, visited once, and refrained from visiting again. But now the purpose has been achieved! The purpose of discipline and correction is always to bring about repentance, restoration, and joy. Paul, encouraged by the report of repentance, lets the church know that he too has forgiven the person. The challenge for the church now is to encourage and restore the repentant person as quickly as possible. Satan wants the separation to linger so that hard feelings will develop and restoration won’t happen.
2:12-17 Paul is thrilled to go wherever God wants him to proclaim the gospel, but there are some traveling companions and co-ministers that help and encourage him, and he misses their support. That’s why he left Troas to go to Macedonia, recognizing that God would continue to use him on his journey to spread the gospel. He and his companions are sent from God, and take their ministries very seriously (they are “persons of sincerity” rather than “hucksters“). Their ministry brings both hope and despair, depending upon how people respond.
It’s beyond sad that what should be a “fragrance from life to life” is also an “odor from death to death.” Hopefully you have experienced the former and are a part of the “triumphal procession in Christ!“